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Ijaw Youths Threaten British Oil Firms

Posted by By Mike Oduniyi with agency report on 2005/09/17 | Views: 381 |

Ijaw Youths Threaten British Oil Firms

Ijaw youths yesterday warned of a possible reprisal attack on personnel and oil facilities of British interests if the embattled Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State was not released immediately by the London Authorities.

Ijaw youths yesterday warned of a possible reprisal attack on personnel and oil facilities of British interests if the embattled Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State was not released immediately by the London Authorities.

Alamieyeseigha was on Thursday arrested in London on allegations of money laundering. He was picked up by men of the London Metropolitan Police mid day, at the Heathrow Airport on his way from Germany where he had gone for medical check up.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) said the arrest has created tension in Ijawland, warning that British interests remained at a security risk should any harm come to the governor.

"We advise the British authorities and their collaborators in the federal government of Nigeria to immediately release our number one citizen, otherwise we cannot continue to guarantee the safety of their investment and citizens in our territories," the IYC said.

Shell, Nigeria’s biggest oil and gas producer is a key British oil concern in the Niger Delta, with about 14 billion barrels of crude reserves and producing about one million barrels of oil per day (bpd) from more than 1,000 oil wells, 87 flowstations, eight gas plants and well over 6,000 kilometers of pipelines and flowlines.

There is also the $6 billion Bonny LNG Plant in Bonny, Rivers State where Shell holds 25.6 percent equity interest, as well as a handful of other oil service companies that are of British concerns.

Speaking on phone yesterday to THISDAY, the Coordinator, Ijaw Monitoring Group, Comrade Joseph Evah, confirmed the position of the Ijaw youths, adding that the Council would hold an emergency meeting today in Bayelsa State to determine the course of action.

Evah said that the fact that the British Home Government had not made a categorical statement on the arrest and detention of Alamieyeseigha, informed the position of the youths.

He added that the Governor’s prevailing health condition was also a matter of concern to the youths, hence the resolve to embark on reprisals “should anything happen to the governor.”

“The declaration by the Council is acceptable to all Ijaw youths, because the information we are getting is that the governor’s life is in danger since he was not allowed to take his drugs and knowing that he is hypertensive,” said Evah.

“We are not saying that the law should not take its course if he is found to have breached any law, but Ijaw youths are just not comfortable with the fact that the British Home Office did and has not published his offence before now.

Evah said the council had dispatched one time president of the IYC, Mr. Felix Tudolor to London, to check establish the truth about the money laundering issue and Alamiyieseigha’s health condition. The Council’s next line action would be based on Tudolor’s report, he added.

Disruptions to Shell or any oil company’s production in Nigeria will certainly trigger a major upswing in crude oil prices, which are still reeling from the effect of the Hurricane Katrina that ripped through the US Gulf Coast two weeks ago.

When rampaging youths in Rivers State shut three Shell flowstations last month, oil prices soared. Also, the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has been forced to be producing at just about one-third of its LNG production capacity following damage and fire to one of its gas supply lines. The company has declared force majuere on its gas delivery to customers in Europe.

Alamieyeseigha’s arrest was linked to an earlier interrogation of a lady whi was said to have tried to transfer a huge sum of money believed to be between E10 million and E20 million from an account with HSBC, a prominent bank in London. The lady was said to have squealed that she was managing the account in the bank on behalf of Alamieyeseigha.

Oil industry operators however, said yesterday that the latest ordeal of the Bayelsa State chief executive only further confirmed their position that corrupt activities of government officials, were responsible for the underdevelopment of the oil producing areas rather than the claims of neglect by the producing companies.

“The oil firms pay series of taxes to governments at all levels, in addition to their own yearly huge spending on community development projects all in the bid to improve the socio-economic situation in the Niger Delta. But the activities of government continue to undermine these efforts,” said one official.

Despite the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nigeria is currently losing some 200,000 bpd of oil production to the closure of facilities by communities demanding better amenities and jobs from oil companies.


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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.