From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Activist and Igba of Warri Rita-Lori Ogbebor has decried the lukewarm attitude of the federal government over the proliferation of ammunition across the country, especially in the Niger Delta region.
She spoke at a press briefing in Abuja on Monday, lamenting the spate of anarchy in the Niger Delta region, just as she insisted that the withdrawal of the pipeline contract awarded to the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo, Tompolo, will restore peace in the region.
The entrepreneur also warned that should the federal government continue to watch insecurity caused by kidnapping, terrorism, banditry and other crimes deteriorate to an unimaginable level, the situation will be a child’s play when Niger Delta militants pick up arms again.
“There is anarchy in the Niger Delta and I feel that the world should know about it. I have earlier said that the insecurity Nigerians should worry about is not the type going on in the northern part of the country, but that of the Niger Delta,” she stated.
“Interestingly, they didn’t see it the way I saw it. I am from the place and I know what I am talking about. What we have today will be a child’s play if the insecurity in the region fully manifests itself. If it has not, it will soon do so in another few months.
“I want to draw the attention of the world to what is happening in the Niger Delta. There is anarchy, there is the drum of war, and there is confusion in the Niger Delta. The open display and proliferation of arms and ammunition of the highest grades are happening without fear and shame. Curiously, the federal government is not doing anything about it rather they aid and abate the problem of bloodshed,” she warned.
On Tompolo’s pipeline contract, she said: “A week ago, Tombolo was given the contract to look after the pipelines in the Niger Delta and I have told the federal government that it cannot hand over its responsibilities to an individual. It is the duty of the federal government to take absolute control of the Niger Delta.
“It is more troubling when it involves oil, the only basic product it has in the country, which earns the government foreign exchange. The oil is our only product and I wonder why the government cannot take control of its management to avoid the stealing and problems going on there.
“But, despite the warning, they went ahead to award the contract to Tombolo. This has resulted in disagreement over who should look after the region. There has been a parade of guns in the region in a show of force.
“The region may be enveloped by war any moment from now. For peace to reign, that contract must be revoked. Ordinarily, the NDDC will take charge of the resources from and region and be accountable to the governors. But today, when they are talking about Niger Delta, you will think that it is a wall or country.
“Niger Delta is just a figment of the imagination of politicians that use the name to cart away the booty of the country. People, including the governors, have since discarded the NDDC Act.
“It is now a matter of which governor is the fittest and strongest. They put their own people, brothers, and relatives on the board. A forensic audit was set up but we don’t know what has become of the report. All politicians have eyes on the NDDC because that is where there is money,” she lamented.
On how Petroleum Industry Act will cause trouble in the country, she said: “it will because the most important aspect of it that concerns the people now means that they will no longer deal with government but with the NNPC Ltd who will give us money because we don’t have anything to do with the oil companies.
“The Act says that they can only give the communities money if there is no harm to the pipelines and I there are no hazards to the pipelines. Are they now reducing us to watchdogs to the oil industry,” she queried.
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