6th September, 2012
Ex-militants in Akwa Ibom who accepted the Federal Government’s amnesty programme have protested against their exclusion from the NNPC surveillance contract awards.
The group, under the aegis of Ex-Militants Forum of Akwa Ibom State, in a petition to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, questioned the rationale behind their exclusion and wondered why the state should be excluded from surveillance contracts.
The petition was entitled: “Letter of Stern Complaint: Exclusion of Akwa Ibom state From NNPC Pipeline Surveillance Contract” and signed by Mr Ubong Utin and Mr Kingsley Umoh.
“It has come to our notice that NNPC is implementing a pipeline surveillance contract which offers reasonable employment opportunities to oil and gas producing states.
“Under the programme, Bayelsa State is offered 3,000; Rivers State 4,000; and Delta 5,000 slots respectively, while Akwa Ibom with the highest oil production quantum is deliberately left out.
“We make bold to state here that the effect of this lopsided decision and deliberate neglect of our people will result in anarchy and revolt,” the group stated.
The forum said it had adopted some measures to douse rising tension from the ex-militants who were agitating for employment under the NNPC scheme, and called on the corporation to address the alleged marginalisation.
The group maintained that their knowledge of the state waterways, estuaries and deep water territories should be of immense advantage to the surveillance contract, arguing that their inclusion would discourage a return to criminality.
The forum expressed its readiness to support oil and gas production and exploration activities in the state.
It added that the services of its members would complement the efforts of security agencies in protecting oil installations in the Niger Delta, and hoped that the concerns would be addressed within two weeks.
A recent report said some of the Niger Delta militants have been given mouth-watering million dollar sums to safeguard the country’s oil installations. Tompolo is the highest paid with $22million yearly. Asari Dokubo pockets $9million, while Ateke Toms and Boy Loaf collect $3.5million each.