The Coalition of Ex-agitators of Niger Delta says it is preparing for a showdown with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited ( NNPCL) for allegedly excluding Niger Deltans from the recent award of pipeline maintenance contracts.
The ex-militant leaders said it was insensitive and provocative for the NNPCL to award pipeline maintenance contracts to only northern companies.
The coalition stated this in a statement on Sunday signed by its Coordinator, Gershom Gbobo; spokesperson, Chief David Tonye Banigo; National Secretary, Johnson Akpobari, and National Director, Mobilisation, Goodluck Warikere.
“We will never allow such cheating, marginalisation, injustice and insensitivity to occur in this new administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose mantra remains justice, equity and fairness.
“The NNPCL should know that its actions and conducts would determine the level of peace in the oil-bearing communities of the Niger Delta. We will not allow this provocative action of awarding pipeline maintenance contracts only to companies owned by northern cabals.
“What happens to all the Niger Delta indigenous companies? No northern company would be allowed to carry out routine maintenance on pipelines located in our territory,” the coalition said in the statement.
It said it was important for the NNPCL to engage Niger Delta firms “to create jobs for the youths and keep all stakeholders busy.”
“We warn that there will be unrest and crisis if NNPCL fails to review this gross injustice. We are sure that international communities will understand that we are fighting for our rights.
“We must be involved in this. This is one contract that can be used to discourage pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta. Why will they give such contracts to people who are not from the region?
“Have they awarded any contract in the North to those of us from the Niger Delta? Is it feasible for us to go to the North and agitate for contracts? We call on Mr President, the National Security Adviser, Secretary to the Federation and the Chief of Staff to intervene in this and stop this disrespect to our region.
“We are not saying that they should not award contracts to some of those northern companies. What we are saying is that they should award contracts to them in their domains and award contracts to us in our own domains.
“You cannot be taking everything from our environment through pipelines and still deny us the opportunity to maintain those pipelines,” the ex-agitators said.