- Niger Delta youths have threatened to destabilise the fragile peace in the region if oil refineries are concessioned to the exclusion of Niger delta people
- The youths are angry that the federal government is tactically planning to exclude indigenes of the region from the concessioning process
- They argue that the region has capable hands to handle the process, warning that no external multinational oil firm should be brought in
The fragile peace in the Niger Delta may soon give way to violence as hundreds of angry youths from the nine states have threatened to destroy the peace deal entered with the federal government over allegation of insincerity on the issue of concessioning of oil refineries.
NAIJ.com reports that the angry youths, under the aegis of Pan Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum (PANDLEAF), warned that any attempt to exclude indigenes of the region from the concessioning process will lead to chaos and renewed hostilities with a plan to cripple the rising oil production in the volatile region.
The youths argued that though they have shown seriousness and capability with provision of $1.2billion required as third party financier demanded by the federal government for the re-building of the refineries, the double speak by the minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, and the hidden attempt to exclude indigenes of the region and bring in oil multinationals will provoke a total shut down of oil production.
The youths, in a position paper read by its president, Famous Daunemigha, the Rivers state coordinator, Richard Akinaka, Secretary, Michael Ekpo and Organising Secretary, Dr. Selekaye Ben, during a media briefing in Warri, Delta state, warned that the people of the region are prepared and capable of managing and running refineries optimally and as such no external back-up, investor or financier is required or necessary.
According to Daunemigha: "It is unfortunate that the leaders of our nation speak from both sides of their mouth. A few days back, we submitted a memorandum to the adhoc committee on the concessioning of refineries.
“The other day, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachukwu, came out to say they are not planning to concession the refineries but that they are looking for third party financier to finance the rebuilding of refineries to the tune of 1.2 billion US dollars.
"We, however, wish to say as a people, our rights to socio-economic and cultural development as enshrined in the United Nation and African Union charters in Article 22 of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights provided that the people shall have the right to their economic, social and cultural development with due regards to their freedom and identity and in equal enjoyment of the common heritage of mankind."
Daunemigha noted that though the series of events after the peace deal reached with the people of the region after the tour of the region by the Acting President Yemi Osinbanjo have shown the insincerity on the part of the federal government, "this double speak and attempted economic exclusion will determine the destiny of the region.
"We wish to state that we shall resist any attempt at bringing any company (Oando or Agip inclusive) in the name of concessioning or as third party financier in the business of rebuilding the Port Harcourt Refinery without the inclusion of companies owned by people from the Niger Delta region.
"That we have gotten together a consortium of indigenous investors, financiers and corporations with the necessary resources, capital, technical know-how, man-power and have created a special purpose vehicle the purpose of putting together the 1.2 billion US dollars as stated by Dr. Kachikwu and we are willing to present all relevant details if requested.
“We dare say that at this moment, we are of the firm view that in the pursuit of peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta, these refineries should be given to our people to finance and run."
Also speaking, the organizing secretary of the group, Dr. Selekaye Ben, said the people of the region are ready to resist any attempt by the federal government to enslave the people within the ambit of the law.
He said: “We shall mobilize the people of oil bearing communities, pipeline hosting communities to occupy the refinery and other oil platforms until justice is done. It is an injustice, before man and God, for the federal government to severally alienate our people.
"Recently, there have been several agitations in the Nigerian state. Some people from the North say they want to go to heaven. Some from the South east say they want a new country.
“But we from the Niger Delta have declared that we want to remain in the Nigerian state but our problem is exclusion."
It would be recalled that the minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had, last week while speaking at a press conference at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation towers in the nation’s capital, stated that government will not sell or concession Nigeria’s oil refineries to private firms contrary to public speculation.
The minister also said the federal government would partner with third-party financiers to engage the original builders of the nation’s three refineries to fully restore the moribund facilities with original parts.
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