Posted by By Sola Adebayo, Warri on
Hopes that the Warri and Kaduna refineries may resume operations soon have been dashed as Ijaw militants in Delta State
Hopes that the Warri and Kaduna refineries may resume operations soon have been dashed as Ijaw militants in Delta State have given fresh conditions for allowing the repairs of the pipeline conveying crude oil to them.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that the recent meeting between the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the representatives of the militants from Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South-West local government area of the state ended in a stalemate.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the militants demanded the provision of 1,000 housing units by the NNPC at their den in Okerenkoko.
They also sought the actualisation of the promises made by President Olusegun Obasanjo during a recent stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on the Niger Delta crisis.
Our correspondent gathered that the militants warned the management of the NNPC not to go to the site until the two demands were met.
A source told our correspondent that the militants contacted the American oil servicing company hired by the NNPC for the repairs, Wilbros Nigeria Limited, not to deploy personnel and equipment until it secured their consent.
It will be recalled that the two oil refining plants were shut in February due to lack of crude oil for operation.
Suspected Ijaw militants vandalised the pipeline, which conveys crude oil to them in Chanomi creeks in Gbaramatu kingdom.
The flow line, identified as System 2C, conveys crude oil from the Chevron Nigeria Limited’s terminal in Escravos to the two refining plants.
The source told our correspondent on Sunday that the militants prevented Wilbros from assessing the extent of damage on the pipeline.
The source said, "The Ijaw militants are asking the NNPC to provide 1,000 housing units in Okerenkoko and that Mr. President should fulfill all the promises he made during the stakeholders’ meeting on Niger Delta.
"They insisted that the NNPC should not contemplate the repair of the Chanomi creeks pipeline until those conditions are met.
"The discussion on the matter is stalemated because the militants were not ready to shift ground."
The General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, urged the militants to change their hard stance in the interest of the country.
Ajuonuma in a telephone interview with our correspondent said the NNPC would ensure that the matter was resolved peacefully.
"The NNPC is in dilemma because it is not its duty to provide houses and we are not in a position to compel Mr. President to actualise his promises.
"We were not consulted by Mr. President before he made the promises and we cannot determine when the promises will come into fruition."
One of the representatives of the militants, Dr. Bello Oboko, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday, confirmed the position of his kinsmen.
He urged the Federal Government and its agencies to quickly meet the conditions to ensure early resolution of the matter.
Oboko, who is the President of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities, a group that facilitated the release of expatriate hostages in Delta State in February, said the peace package presented by the militants should be implemented.
He added that the government should prioritise them.
"The conditions are not new; they are terms of settlement and they (the militants) expect the government to prioritise them and swiftly implement those that required immediate attention," he said.