Youths of Ibeno, an oil and gas-rich community in Akwa-Ibom State, have warned ex-militant warlord, Government Ekpemupolo, a.k.a. ‘Tompolo’, and other militants to stay in their territory in the name of protecting pipelines.
Speaking under the aegis of the Ibeno Men-Clue Development Association, the youths expressed dismay over the award of N48 billion pipeline surveillance contracts to Tompolo by the federal government, adding that as an oil-producing local government area that host ExxonMobil, they do not need ex-militants to safeguard oil facilities that pass through their territory. They maintained that the exclusion of Ibeno as a host community to ExxonMobil was a gross violation of the Local Content Act, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), and other relevant oil and gas laws in the country.
In an issued statement on Wednesday, jointly signed by the coordinator of the association, Itam Nathaniel Ikotinye, Chairman, Christopher Enyina Akpan and seven others, the youths faulted the Federal Government’s decision over the award of the contract, saying the youths of the Ibeno community are capable of securing oil facilities in their land.
“We strongly view this action as an incident of marginalization and a conscious attempt by some groups to destabilise the Ibeno oil and gas host community of Akwa-Ibom State who has suffered gas flaring and oil spillages for years now. We are demanding the inclusion of the Ibeno oil and gas community in the protection of oil and gas facilities passing through our communities”.
“We shall resist any attempt by any militant or former militant groups or whatever name they might be called to parade themselves as members of the Ibeno oil and gas community just for the purpose of grabbing the contract of oil and pipeline protection to the detriment of Ibeno people who are suffering environmental degradation”, the statement warned.