The Federal Government has been petitioned to rescind the 48 billion dollar pipeline surveillance contract given to former military warlord Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo by agitators operating under the auspices of the Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants Forum.
In the event that their demands are not granted within seven days starting on Sunday, August 28, 2022, they threatened to commence hostilities by assaulting oil installations in the state.
The protesters alleged that the Federal Government had undermined them in regards to pipelines that go through Akwa Ibom State in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari that was also copied to security agencies and made available to journalists.
The group said that young people from the state's oil-producing communities should have been brought along in a petition signed by General Johnson Solomon, the state coordinator, and Comrade Godwin Edohoaqua, the state secretary.
They maintained that oil communities in the state should be factored in the oil pipeline contract because they bore the brunt of environmental degradation over the years as a result of oil exploiration and exploitation.
The Federal Government on Monday last week renewed a N4billion monthly contract for the surveillance of oil pipelines to Tompolo.
The petition also called on the FG and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to revoke the contract with Tompolo to accommodate former Niger Delta agitators from Akwa Ibom.
“In 2015, when President Goodluck Jonathan was about to hand over to President Muhammadu Buhari, ex-militants from Akwa Ibom State in our numbers protested to the National Assembly against similar contract which did not accommodate us.
“Leadership of the National Assembly with Heads of security agencies recieved our protest letter and assured us that Akwa Ibom Ex-Militants will be accommodated in future contracts”
“It is wrong for the Federal Government to shortchange the youths of Akwa Ibom State by awarding such a bogus contract to a sectional former leader of Ex-Militants while Gas and Oil pipelines cris-crosses our land but we are not engaged, we won’t accept such marginalization.
“We are giving the Federal Government a seven day ultimatum to address the situation or we will embark on a marathon protest that will shot down Oil and Gas production in Akwa Ibom State”,
“Our youths have refused to be involved in Oil theft and pipeline vandalism because of our patriotism for Nigeria and the agreement we signed with the Federal Government during Amnesty but that should not be a criteria for us to be marginalized in the award of such a contract”, the release stated.
The group advised the Federal Government to award the contract in sections to accommodate youths of all the oil Producing States in the region to avoid renewed agitation and possible negative actions that will defeat the purpose of Government intentions.
“We are familiar with the terrain and pipeline routes running across the State and only youths from Akwa Ibom State can protect the pipelines better than a visitor, if our youths are engaged in such a project, the rate of unemployment will reduce”, the group averred.