The resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta region escalated on Thursday, June 16, following a 14-day ultimatum given by militants to oil companies operating in Rivers state to vacate the state or face massive vandalisation of their assets.
According to Daily Post, the ultimatum was issued by a group of former Niger Delta militants known as the Ekpeye Liberation Group which stated that the warning became necessary because of the refusal of the oil companies to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ekpeye communities.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Obodo Obodo, the group which claimed responsibility for attacks on Well 5 in Akara Olu, Ahoada west local government area of rivers state, said its warning was directed at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Shell Petroleum Development Company, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas and Niger Delta Petroleum Resources.
The statement reads: “The Ekpeye Liberation Group, a forum of ex-militants and freedom agitators from the Ekpeye Ethnic Nationality in Rivers State (Part of the Niger Delta), is utterly disappointed with the conduct of the oil multinational companies operating in the area.
“In the light of their nonchalant, including lukewarm attitude to the massive killings and kidnappings of our people in recent times, the Ekpeye Liberation Group has been forced to issue a notice of eviction to all oil companies operating in Ekpeye territory and its waters.
“They (oil companies) are required to pack out of Ekpeyeland within 14 days, from Thursday 16th of June or face massive vandalisation of their assets. A stitch in time saves nine.”
In a related development, tension has engulfed Delta state following a threat from a new militant group, the Utorogun Liberation Movement (ULM) to destroy the Utorogun gas plant in Ughelli which supplies gas to Egbin Power Station, Lagos, and other facilities under Oil Mining Lease, OML 34 in Ughelli south local government area of the state.
Vanguard reports that the leader of the group Gen K Omoudu in an address to the host community in a statement on Thursday, June 16, said the ULM was working in collaboration with another group, the Outgas Force.
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