Niger Delta youths, Nigerian military may clash over new Petroleum law

August 22, 2021
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Youths in the Niger Delta are threatening fresh uprising in the region which may spillover to a probable clash with the Nigerian military over the Petroleum Industry Act signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

A group of Niger Delta Youths, the Anioma Youth Forum Worldwide, cautioned that the signing of the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law the president could precipitated renewed unrest in the Niger Delta. The group protested that the new PIA is an aberration to the oil-rich host communities.

The Defence Headquarters, sensing the temptation for mass protest over the controversial PIA, had declared that the military are prepared to prevent breakdown of law and order in the Niger Delta.

The National President of the Anioma Youth Forum Worldwide, Nnamdi Ofonye, had cautioned that the Federal Government’s negligence of the protests over the 3% allocation to oil host communities, may trigger fresh agitation in the region. He maintained that while the signing of the bill was long awaited, the 3 per cent allocation to oil host communities is far below the expected compensation.

“We will collectively take a stand in our meeting today (Sunday). In as much as the eventual signing of the bill into law is one that all of Niger Delta has been craving, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be what we expected.

“The three per cent is still a far cry from what we thought, and this goes to show that our representatives do not take our plight to heart because if the bill that was just signed was presented for the general well-being of the people, it wouldn’t have generated controversy.

“If the generality of the Niger Delta is against the bill, I see no reason why our lawmakers did not stop it at the National Assembly.

“This is what we always got because when we ask for the constituency briefing, they don’t see it as anything but a waste of time.

“We have cried to them about what we want but most of them went to support the bill against the wishes of the people. They have failed us.

“The Niger Delta will renew its agitation. In fact, there have been some threats in some quarters. But we, the youth of the Niger Delta, are networking and speaking among ourselves to know what next to do.

“I do not want to per-empt any group now, but currently, we are all planning to meet to review the so-called law.

“So far so good, the law has not gone down well with the youth of the Niger Delta. We will make our position known soon,” Ofonye declared.

The Director of Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr, had earlier declared that the military have the capacity to contain any violent uprising in the Niger Delta.

According to Major General Sawyerr: “The military is ready at all times to address the issue of security concerns. We have all it takes to ensure that the peace and stability enjoyed in the Niger Delta remains and keep everyone secured.

“I believe they will resolve whatever their grievances are, and it won’t degenerate into any crisis.

“However, we are always prepared to ensure there is peace in every nook and cranny of the country.”

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