The Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs and the Movement for the Development of Itsekiri Oil & Gas Producing Communities, MDOGP in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, on Sunday threatened to disrupt the piping of the 614 km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas from Niger Delta estimated at $2.8billion if the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government fails to heed recommence works at the $16billion Export Processing Zone,EPZ(Gas Revolution Industrial Park,GRIP) in Delta State.
The people who reiterated their threats to shut down all oil installations belonging to the multinational oil companies operating in their land handed down the threat at a joint press conference held in Uvwie Local Government Area.
The joint communiqué which was signed by Chief Godspower Gbenekama, the Fiyewei(Spokesman) of Gbaramatu Traditional Council of Chiefs and Chief Mike Odeli, the Olorogun of Warri Kingdom as well as Chairman of Board of Trustee, Movement for the Development of Itsekiri Oil & Gas Communities accused the Federal Government of abandoning the EPZ in the Southern part of the country while piping gas from the same source and location to the Northern part apart from marginalizing and neglecting them who suffer untold environmental hazards from the exploration activities of the multinational oil companies over the years.
“We will stop the Government. NGC should light up our communities in Itsekiri and Gbaramatu Kingdom. We cannot be living in darkness. If we cannot have light in our communities, nobody should enjoy light in this country. You cannot take gas from EPZ to AKK.”
The Ijaw and Itsekiri people warned that the Federal Government should not take t their threats lightly, stressing that they meant all they said.
The Ijaw and Itsekiri people, however, demanded that,”The Federal Government should order immediate resumption of work at the Multi-Billion Dollar Gas Revolution Industrial Park Project, GRIP, and the Deep-Sea Port in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to immediately halt the current process of bids for the 57 Marginal Fields whereby the doctrine of necessity should be invoked and applied to incorporate the interest of competent companies owned by Gbaramatu indigenes as well as Itsekiri Sons and Daughters from oil and gas producing communities given “right of first refusal” on marginal fields in our homelands, before being thrown open to outsiders.
“If competent companies owned by indigenes of Itsekiri oil/gas communities and Gbaramatu people are not considered by DPR for the 57 Marginal Fields with immediate effect, we will be constrained to shut-down operations of the Multi-National Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs) operating in our homelands.
“The Federal Government should direct the relevant MDAs/IOCs to embark on large scale shore protection/sand-filling projects in Itsekiri Oil/Gas producing communities and the Gbaramatu kingdom
“The Federal Government should institute process for the facilitation of the abandoned age-long Omadino – Escravos Road and the Koko/Ogheye Road Projects, which have remained a mere campaign tool for successive administrations, despite their strategic importance to the socio-economic development of Delta state and the South-Western part of Nigeria.
“The urgent and immediate relocation of the Floating Dock/Ship Building Yard to enhance capacity building for students at the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko as was earlier envisaged.
“We demand immediate and comprehensive investigation into what led to millions of dead and rotten fishes that surfaced on the waterways and fish-traps in Gbaramatu Kingdom and coastal Itsekiri communities, with a view to carry out the necessary remediation, so that the needful can be done for those who have suffered loss or damage.
“We strongly demand that the President Buhari led federal government should direct the IOCs working in our land to revoke and apply the LOCAL CONTENT ACT in their employment regime.
“The Federal Government should instruct Nigerian Port Authority through the Ministry of Transportation to dredge the Escravos Bar-Mouth in order to enhance the optimum usage of the Warri, Koko, Burutu and Sapele ports in Delta State.
“We demand immediate constitution of a substantive NDDC board instead of the present interim committee who lavishly wasted our derivation money on COVID-19 without recourse to the communities that should have the lager chunk of the accrued money to the commission, and whose interests are capitally inimical to the development of the Itsekiri Oil/Gas producing communities and the Gbaramatu kingdom.
“We eagerly await speedy action on this as the clock ticks closer to our joint ultimatum, to avert fresh crisis in the Oil and Gas Industry.”