Our focus is on the 11-point demand of the Niger Delta Militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta communities of Nigeria.
Their latest demand received a boost following #EndSars protest and call for good governance, and an end to impunity by the political class.
Niger Delta comprises of nine states. The militants in that region vowed to disrupt oil operations in their region if the Federal Government remains deaf to their demands.
Oil brings in the largest chunk of revenue to the Federal Government, largest past of the monies are spent on Federal lawmakers and retinue of FG’s officials thereby leaving the communities that produce the oil impoverished.
Some analysts say oil has been a curse to Nigeria unlike Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing countries who have used monies from oil to develop their economy and their people.
Why The Agitation By The Niger Delta Militants?
In Nigeria, oil companies in the Niger Delta states were brought to their knees before the 2007 election which produced Late Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua as the country’s president.
Yar’Adua’s government negotiated with militants in the region. They ceased fire. And the Niger Delta ministry was birthed to complement the already existing functions of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to rapidly develop the oil-producing communities.
Almost two decades after the ministry, nothing has changed, some politicians within the region continue to under-develop their own people by embezzling the monies meant for the generality of the communities whose means of livelihood no longer possible because of mining operations.
The recent auditing of the accounts of NDDC board opened a cankerworm of heartless corruption and shameless embezzlement by officials who were assumed to be holy when they were sworn in.
Is Violence The Best Way For The Niger Delta Militants?
In a country where dialogue is being used to achieve results, there wouldn’t have been room for parties to communicate with the sound of the gun.
Unfortunately, Nigerian authorities yield to yearnings of violent groups than those who embrace dialogue. Militia groups in the North like bandits is a case study.
Even in dialogue, labour unions embark on strike or would have to paralyse the economy before any result could be achieved.
In the Niger Delta, it seems militants have moved from needless aggression to a more focused, sensible and result-oriented 11-Point Demand to liberate host communities from politicians who are mostly parasitic to the region than developing it.
What Are The Niger Delta Militants 11-Point Demand To FG?
The Niger Delta Militants 11-point to the Federal Government are:
- Release of N98 billion gas flare penalty fund
- Inauguration of substantive NNDC board
- Total control of resources in the Niger Delta
- Construction of motorable roads in Niger delta
- Provisions in the 2021 budget
- Emergency review of the Revenue Allocation Act
- Pipeline security surveillance job
- Four-point agreement with the Host Communities
- Townhall Meeting With Host Communities
- Re-opening of the Burutu Seaport
- Release of the 10 licenses for modular refineries in Niger Delta
Do the militant deserve all of these?
Yes! They deserve more. Some of their leaders in the past used the militancy to enrich themselves. Some of them are now chiefs and owners of multi-national companies within and outside Nigeria.
This time, leader of the militants under the auspices of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) Johnmark Ezonebi, a self-styled “Major General” said enough is enough.
He said oil-producing communities must largely benefit from their wealth, saying, “We have vowed to take the destiny of our region into our hands and kick-start the occupation of all the major oil wells and the oil platforms, we will also bring down all major crude oil production pipelines to zero.”
Release Of N98 Billion Gas Flare Penalty Fund
The group is calling on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency release the N98 billion gas flare penalty fund to the host communities of the Niger Delta.
What this demand means is that the RNDA wants adequate compensation of the oil-producing communities, saying the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari must implement the ceasefire agreement on 21st of August 2016.
Inauguration Of Substantive NDDC Board
The Niger Delta militants in another demand want Buhari to put on hold forthwith the proposed 2021 budget until a substantive board of the NDDC is inaugurated and sworn in by the president.
The group says appropriated billions of naira to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, should be withdrawn and put on hold, saying the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs should not be allowed to defend the proposed budget until NDDC board is inaugurated.
Resource control which the region described their “God-given resources” top the list of the Niger Delta Militants 11-point demand. It has always been whenever the issue of restructuring comes up.
Reformed Niger Delta Avengers frowns at a situation whereby some Northern states are allowed to operate and engage in what they described as “illegal mining and sale of gold”
As such, it’s calling on the APC-led government to allow people of the Niger Delta region, especially the Ijaw ethnic nationality equal opportunity to go engage in local refining of crude oil in the creeks without any form of intimidation and harassment from the Nigerian government.
Construction Of Motorable Roads In Niger Delta
Most of the riverine areas in Niger Delta can only be accessed via local canoe. This time, the militants say the FG construct motorable roads to connect communities to the cities with roads and bridges.
Provisions In The 2021 Budget
Related to the construction of roads is another demand which says there should be a provision for such a project in the 2021 budget.
For instance, they want a road project that will connect Warri to Ogulagha, Burutu local government area, which is a host to Forcardos Terminal, producing over one million barrels of crude oil that contribute trillions of dollars to the federal government on daily basis.
Emergency Review Of The Revenue Allocation Act
The Niger Delta militants also want a clear and understandable interpretation of the 13 per cent derivation funds
RNDA militant group alleged that the Niger Delta governors and the corrupt political class in the region has been beneficiaries of the derivation revenue, we want “derivation funds that will not be deposited in the hands of the so-called inhuman wicked corrupt minded Niger Delta governors that have been pocketing the billions of naira on monthly basis from the federation allocation account without getting to the oil-producing communities in the creeks of Niger Delta.”
Four-Point Agreement With The Host Communities Of Nigeria
A few years ago, Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSTCOM) submitted a four-point agreement to the Federal Government by the national chairman of HOSTCOM, Prince Mike Emuh. According to them, the FG has not done anything about the agreement.
One of the provisions of the agreement is 10,000 pipeline surveillance jobs to the oil producing communities through the leadership of HOSTCOM .
The accused Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC of awarding pipeline surveillance contract to Ocean Marine Solutions Company, owned by Chief Captain Hosa Wells Okunbor.
The militants claimed that pipeline surveillance security contract in the region worth over 18. 6 million dollars annually just for OML30.
“Not to talk of the Trans Escravos Warri Kaduna pipeline amounting to over 20. 5 million dollars annually and that of the Bonny Nembe Creek trunk pipeline surveillance job that worth over 2.7 million dollars contract in the creek of Niger Delta.”
They claimed that the contract isn’t benefiting any of the RNDA militants or the host communities, “will not be accepted any more in the creek as far as the pipeline surveillance security contract job is concern.”
Pipeline Security Surveillance Job
Another source of revenue in the region is the award of pipeline security. They say private individual has been the only beneficiary of the project, saying they have over 5,000 militants in the creeks who can provide such services.
“We will no longer allow this to happen any more in the creek or else we will bring down all the pipelines in our creek within the stipulated time of ultimatum.”
Townhall Meeting With Host Communities
One of the demands of the Niger Delta Militants is a town hall meeting with the Minister of Niger Delta region Chief Godswill Akpabio, two-time governor of Akwa Ibom state and a former lawmaker at the National Assembly.
They want him in a town hall meeting with the traditional rulers, stakeholders and leadership of RNDA militant group in the creek “in order to show a genuine intention that the budget proposal will not witness embezzlement and diversion of billions to Akpabio and his cronies’ pockets”
A few months ago, when Akpabio appeared before a Niger Committee at the National Assembly, he accused some federal lawmakers of being beneficiaries of contracts worth billions of naira which they never implemented after pocketing monies.
The Niger Delta militants, this time, are demanding accountability and responsive governance.
Re-opening of the Burutu Seaport
Apapa seaport in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, has been Nigeria’s main seaport for decades, this time, they are asking the Federal Government to open up other sea ports across the country most especially the re-opening of the Burutu Seaport, which they says, “should be included in the 2021 budget.”
Release of the 10 licenses for modular refineries in Niger Delta
The final Niger Delta Militant 11-point demand is the release of the 10 licenses for modular refineries in Niger Delta.
They want the federal government to approve the 10 licenses for modular refineries in Niger Delta.
“The Federal Executive Council is approving billions and trillions every week in the presidency through the sales of our crude oil on 1.86 million dollars to 2.2 million dollars barrels on daily basis without any tangible.”
To analysts, the recent #EndSars is beyond police reform. There are unemployment, poverty, the reason for the anger against the government.
Niger Delta militants 11-point demand to the FG is one the results of scions of the #EndSars movement in Nigeria.
How could a senator be earning close to N30 million monthly in a country where most graduates and agile youth are unemployed or underemployed?
The oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region deserve better. Nigerians deserve more.