Ben Dunno, Warri

Itsekiri and Ijaw indigenes from Ugborodo and Gbaramatu extractions both in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state, have viewed total shut down of oil exploration activities in their domain over alleged federal government’s continued reluctance to develop the areas.

Issuing the fresh threat at a joint Press Conference in Warri yesterday, the traditional Chiefs, Elders, Youths and Women of both ethnic groups, warned that the consequences of their actions should government continue to turn deaf ears to their demands would be more devastating than any crisis ever witnessed in Niger Delta region.

The ethnic nationalies made their stand known in a communique signed by Chief Gods power Gbenekama for Gbaramatu traditional council where ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo alias “Tompolo” hails from and Chief Mike Odeli for the Movement for Itsekiri Oil/Gas Producing Communities.

Part of the demands, according to them, are that the Federal Government should order immediate resumption of work at the multi-billion dollar Gas Revolution Industrial Park Project (GRIP) and the Deep-Sea Port in Warrior South West Local Government area of the state.

They called on the Federal Government to immediately halt the current process of bids for the 57 Marginal Fields by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to create opportunities for indigenes of the oil producing communities.

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The Ijaws and Itsekiris further demanded for the facilitation of the abandoned age-long Omadino-Escravos road and Koko-Ogbeye road projects which they said had become a mere campaign by successive administrations.

They also demanded for an urgent and immediate relocation of the Floating Dock/Ship building yard, abandoned at Navy yard in Lagos to Gbaramatu kingdom to enhance capacity building for students of Maritime University, Okerenkoko as envisaged.

The angry Ijaws and Itsekiris wondered why the Federal Government embarked on the 614km long Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) natural gas pipeline to convey gas to the north, Morocco and United Kingdom at the expense of Gas Revolution Industrial Park project that will benefit the country.

“This is what we termed sheer insensitivity by a government that displays ill-attitude towards developing other regions, especially the ones that lay the golden eggs like ours. It beats our imagination as to how a government that claimed to practice and encourage local production suddenly deviates from its agenda rather than encourage local industrialisation through project such as GRIP, instead opted to sustain the continued exportation of our natural gas without adding value to them” they said.

They recalled that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo visited the oil and gas producing communities about four years ago and made some promises that will develop the area but wondered what happened that no single project has been executed in the area.

Therefore, they threatened to cripple all oil operations in their communities, cripple the economy should the Federal Government fails to heed their demands adding ” enough is enough. We are tired of fail promises”.