Fresh anxiety on Monday gripped International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta as the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) ordered them to evacuate their staff from all oil platforms and installation in the Niger Delta within the next seven days.
The seven-day ultimatum was in furtherance of the 30-day ultimatum earlier given to the Federal Government on the appointment of substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDD).
The IYC president, Comrade Peter Igbifa, who spoke with newsmen after observing the annual Boro day celebration in Yenagoa, also advised IOCs and other oil companies owned by Nigerians to prepare to evacuate the Niger delta region.
This he said was to further express the decision of total shutdown of all oil exploration activities in the Niger delta region if the NDDC board is not inaugurated after the expiration of the 30days ultimatum with eight days to go.
He advised IOC’s to peacefully move their personnel out to avoid casualties in course of the shutdown.
He said, “We are not going to carry gun and chase anybody as Ijaw youths but we will stand on your right until our demand for substantive board is inaugurated in the NDDC.
“in line with the ultimatum as the days are counting, we should have nine days remaining to go. All IOCs operating in our region should begin a peaceful and gentle evacuation of their personnel. A very gentle and peaceful evacuation because we do not want anybody to take advantage of the shutdown.
“We want them to take responsibility of their personnel, remove them gently. If you have IOCs that operates flow stations, take the remaining days and time and shutdown them down gently by yourself.
“We are not coming to your flow station , shut them by yourself, we want you to shut the flames by yourself and vacate your personnel. Within these seven days remaining in the ultimatum, you can take three to four days to shut down and evacuate so we can have a peaceful shutdown.
“We have said from the beginning, we are taking up arms, we are not shooting and this is why we pray that this thing run gently and we pray that the federal Government do the needful.
“The moment the board is inaugurated we will lift the ultimatum and go IPO discussion on the issues that have to do with the region. We will itemized them and discuss them, issues based.
“We must achieve this task to appease Boro and the spirit of these man who fourth with him during the 12 days revolution, because their spirit cannot rest until the things, they fought for are achieved.”
He however prays that the Federal Government do the needful before the end of the ultimatum to avoid the breakdown of law and order as they may not be able to guarantee the safety of personnel working with IOCs.
“We will try to see that law and order are not broken down and that’s why we are advising them to handle it by the self; we believe that a word is enough for the wise.”