Ex-militants and youths, numbering over 5,000, on Saturday in Eket, Akwa Ibom, protested their non-inclusion in the renewed pipeline and water ways surveillance contract of the Federal Government.
The protesting youths bore placards with inscriptions like “Akwa Ibom is part of the Niger Delta, give us our right; Give us surveillance contract on oil & gas pipeline; Oil & gas pipeline goes through Akwa Ibom State; Mr. President, give us our right; We say no to marginalisation, and Enough is enough, NNPC”, among others.
A letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, and signed by Chairman, Ex-militants Forum, Akwa Ibom State chapter, General Kingsley Bassey, aka 007; President, Forum of Youth, Godwin Ebenge, among others, threatened full-scale action against oil facilities in the state if their demands were not met.
“We have been neglected and abandoned by the Federal Government in community engagement programmes of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation over the years.
“On August 3, 2012, we petitioned the Presidency through the National Security Adviser, advising that the pipeline and water ways surveillance contract be extended to Akwa Ibom State for reasons not unconnected with justice, equity and youth empowerment, unfortunately our request did not see the light of day even with the effort of our Governor, Dr. Godswill Akpabio”, the letter read.
The protesters also decried marginalization of Akwa Ibom State by NNPC for contract awards, warning that they would mobilise all the other young persons in the state for demonstration against the corporation’s negligence on March 21.
“Today’s peaceful protest is a prelude that will spread to the entire state on Friday March 21, 2015.
“In as much as we are aware of the fact that the general election is within the corner, we have no other option but to agitate and draw your attention to the glaring injustice meted out to the youths of Akwa Ibom State by the NNPC and the Presidency”, the statement said.
The angry youths and ex-militants, therefore, called on President Jonathan to prevail on the NNPC to review the Oil & Gas Pipeline Surveillance contract to accommodate Akwa Ibom indigenes.