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New militant group emerges in Niger Delta •Ex-militants issue quit notice to oil firms

By News Express on 17/06/2016

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Another militant group, Utorogu Liberation Movement (ULM), yesterday announced its birth, threatening to attack West Africa’s biggest gas plant, Otorogu Gas Plant in Udu and Ughelli South council Areas of Delta State.

ULM also threatened to blow up oil facilities along the Oil Mining Lease 34 and other oil facilities in the upland parts of the Niger Delta.

The group in a banner message issued by Gen. K. Omovudu and others which was erected near the Motor Park in Out-Jeremi, headquarters of Ughelli South council, also declared support for the Niger Delta Avengers.

Utorogu Gas Plant is Nigeria’s biggest plant which fields the Egbin Power Station, Lagos and others in the country.

A community source who drew the attention of our correspondent to the emergence of the group said the people of the area were already living in confusion and fear.

But the group in their banner mission statement said: “My good people of Utorogun community, Otu-Jeremi, Otor-Udu, Iwkrekan, Ekakpamre and all oil and pipeline communities within this region, this is the voice of ULM in collaboration with outgas force.

“It is a secessionist move. The awareness of things happening in our environment is a means to outline our course of action. The awareness is an agitation for economic balance. We have a common enemy, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC and ND Western who hate your progress and wish you die in poverty.”

A military source confirmed knowledge of the group to our correspondent. The source added that residents brought the development to their attention on yesterday morning.

Also yesterday, a group of former militants in the Niger Delta region 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.

•Pieced together from reports by Nigerian Pilot and Nigerian Tribune. Photo shows Niger Delta militants.

Source News Express

Posted 17/06/2016 2:10:06 PM

 

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