By Ovie Okpare
A militant group, Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC), has threatened to resume hostility over the three per cent for host communities in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the National Assembly.
It said its commanders have returned to the creeks of the Niger Delta region waiting to strike.
The militants in a statement on Friday by its spokesperson, W.O. 1 Izon-Ebi, condemned the three per cent as well as the 30% for exploration of frontier basins in the passed bill.
The statement titled, “We Will Defend Our God Given Resources”, the militant group said it will fight until obnoxious sections in the PIB are reviewed by the National Assembly.
According to it, “The Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC) met over the Obnoxious Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and resolved as follows: It is highly unacceptable and provocative for a section of the country to determine for the region what it should get from its own God given natural resources.
The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is another instrument of expropriation, oppression, subjugation and marginalization by the Nigerian State to further weaken the socio-economic lives of people and the region.
“After 56 years of continuous mindless exploitation of our natural resources, it is heartless and insensitive for Nigerian government to treat the people of the region with disdain and as beggars of their own resources.
For 56 years, the region has suffered desecration of its sacred places like worship centres, lands, streams, lakes and the severe environmental degradation without remediation.”
The group described the PIB as a coup against the people of the oil-rich Niger Delta by the Nigerian State.
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While the government and people of Zamfara state are allowed to control 100% of their gold resource (fiscal Federalism applying in Zamfara state), what the people of the Niger Delta region could get from their own natural resource is a paltry 3% for host communities and in contrast, a whopping 30% for exploration of frontier basins.
“This is an economic coup against the people of the region; it is an insult, a daylight robbery and betrayal by the Nigerian government.
“The region embraced peace because it was the most civilized thing to do in order to give way for proper dialogue, genuine government commitment and re-idealogical construct about the Niger Delta region.
“Unfortunately, about 11 years of giving peace a chance in the region, the Nigerian government has rather become ruthless to the region through obnoxious statutes. This are our genuine concern and our grievances.
“Therefore, we have directed our commanders in the region to go back to the creeks and wait for further directive on the next line of action. We will defend our resources and protect our region from further mindless pillage of our God given resources” the statement further added.
Leaders and stakeholders in the region, including governors and elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark, have rejected the three per cent allocation for host communities in the Bill.
They have also warned of imminent crisis in the region if identified and controversial clauses in the Bill were not reviewed by federal lawmakers.