A group of former militants in the Niger Delta region, on Thursday, issued a 14-day ultimatum to oil companies operating in Ekpeyeland, Rivers State, to close shops and vacate the area or face a massive vandalism of their assets.
The grouse of the ex-militants, Ekpeye Liberation Group and who claimed to be the mastermind of the attack on Well 5 in Akara Olu, Ahoada West Local Government Area of the state, was the alleged refusal of the oil companies to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ekpeye communities.
The former militants, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, on Thursday, said they were dissatisfied with the alleged nonchallant attitude by the oil firms to the incessant killings and kidnapping in the Ekpeyeland.
The group, in the statement signed by its spokesman, Obodo Obodo, pointed fingers at Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources.
It added that though Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (TEPNG) had signed one MoU with the communities, the agreement had been violated with impunity.
“The Ekpeye Liberation Group, a forum of ex-militants and freedom agitators from the Ekpeye Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State (Part of the Niger Delta), is utterly disappointed with the conduct of the oil multinational companies operating in the area.
“In the light of their nonchallant, including lukewarm attitude to the massive killings and kidnappings of our people in recent times, the Ekpeye Liberation Group has been forced to issue a Notice of Eviction to all oil companies operating in Ekpeye territory and its waters.
“They (oil companies) are required to pack out of Ekpeyeland within 14 days, starting from Thursday, June 16 or face massive vandalisation of the assets. A stitch in time saves nine,” the statement read.
They declared that their attack on oil facilities would further aggravate the nation’s already limping economy and admonished the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, to give the people of Ekpeye their due recognition.
“We also warn Dr Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum, to give the Ekpeye people their due recognition and place in the oil economy of Nigeria, otherwise the pipeline in Ekpeyelan will explode into flames,” the statement added.