Former militants, now organized under the banner of the Coalition of Ex-Agitators of Niger Delta (CEND), have issued a stern warning of potential unrest in the Niger Delta region if the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPCL) fails to include local companies from the region in its recent pipeline maintenance contract awards.
The ex-militants expressed deep concern over NNPCL’s decision to grant pipeline maintenance contracts exclusively to four companies from the northern regions. They characterized this move as insensitive, provocative, and a violation of local content provisions.
CEND, represented by its Coordinator, Gen. Gershom Gbobo; Spokesperson, Chief Dr. David Tonye Banigo; National Secretary Gen. Johnson Akpobari; and National Director of Mobilization, Gen. Goodluck Warikere, released a statement over the weekend, emphasizing their stance.
They argued that it was crucial, for the sake of peace, to assign pipeline maintenance contracts in the Niger Delta region to local companies while allowing northern firms to handle similar contracts in their respective regions.
The statement read, “We will not tolerate such injustice and marginalization in the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who stands for justice, equity, and fairness. NNPCL must understand that its actions will determine the level of peace in the oil-bearing communities of the Niger Delta.”
The ex-militant leaders firmly insisted that no northern-based company should be permitted to conduct routine pipeline maintenance within their territory. They called for the engagement of companies from the Niger Delta to create job opportunities for local youths and engage all stakeholders.
They added, “We warn that unrest and crisis will ensue if NNPCL does not rectify this gross injustice.”
CEND leaders emphasized their readiness to resist this development, even if it required sacrificing their lives to combat such injustice. They called upon the international community to recognize their struggle for their rights.
The coalition urged the intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Security Adviser, Secretary to the Federation, and the Chief of Staff to address this issue promptly, as it undermines the region’s interests and the livelihoods of those who have returned from the creeks.
In summary, the ex-agitators have issued a stern ultimatum, demanding that local companies from the Niger Delta be included in pipeline maintenance contracts to prevent potential unrest and protests in the region.