Ex-militants in Akwa Ibom give oil firm 14-day ultimatum over demands

The Niger Delta Volunteers, made up of former militants, have given the management of Universal Energy Limited in Akwa Ibom State a 14-day ultimatum to meet the five-point demand of the host-communities or face co-ordinated attacks on its facilities.

In a statement after meeting with the Coalition of Niger Delta Militants and signed by Ekpo Ekpo and Okon Edemekong on behalf of six others in Uyo, the state capital, yesterday, the group threatened to attack and destroy all flow- stations and major pipelines belonging to the company if it fails to meet the demands within the stipulated period of seven days.

The demands, which they claimed were agreed upon in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), include at least 500 post-secondary scholarships, 60 post-graduate scholarships in any Nigerian institution of higher learning to indigenes of the host-communities and Akwa Ibom State, provision of infrastructural development as well as micro credit schemes, and at least 60 per cent of the total workforce in the firm be drawn from the host-communities and the state.

Others include appointment of an indigene of Unyenge communities to the position of a director in the company and that 60 per cent of the total contracts/supplies be given to the community contractors/suppliers and the provision of functional health facilities and institutions of learning in the communities as a matter of urgency.

“Failure to commence the implementation of these demands within 14 days, we shall be left with no other option than to commence a well-co-ordinated attack that will aim at destroying all flow-stations, the company’s major pipeline (23 kilometres) that runs through to Ibeno terminal, as well as other company facilities and offices. We are back to full surveillance and can no longer guarantee your safety and that of your beloved families,” the statement said.

The group, therefore, urged the Federal Government to hold them responsible should they allow their poor community relations sabotage the current peace efforts initiated and sustained by the Federal Government since 2009.

Meanwhile, efforts to speak with the Managing Director of the company, Bassey Umoh, on the demands proved abortive, as his phone lines were not going through as at the time of filing this report.

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