Ex-militants in Akwa Ibom plead for inclusion in pipeline surveillance contract
Members of the Akwa Ibom State Ex-Militants Forum on Thursday called for their inclusion in the Oil and Gas Pipeline and Waterways Surveillance (OGPWS) contract awarded by the Federal Government to former militants.
The ex-militants made the call in a letter jointly signed by the Chairman of the forum, Mr Kingsley Umoh, the Secretary, Mr Edohouqua Godwin, and others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the forum besieged the National Assembly Complex in Abuja to present their request to its leadership.
The forum expressed its displeasure in the way it was schemed out of the surveillance contract.
“As beneficiaries of the Federal Government Amnesty Programme and law abiding citizens of Nigeria, we wish to draw the attention of the entire world on this subject matter.
“This issue is causing tension and frayed nerves among ex-militants and youths in Akwa Ibom State.’’
The militants stated that they were making their submission “after a wider consultation with our colleagues in the State”.
They said they were shocked at their exclusion from the recent renewal and award of oil and gas pipeline and waterways protection surveillance contract again to Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Lagos and Ogun states, excluding Akwa Ibom State.
The forum recalled that in 2011/2012, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in conjunction with the Presidency, awarded OGPWS to oil and gas producing states in Nigeria, excluding Akwa Ibom.
“In that contract, Bayelsa State offered employment quota for 4, 000 people; Rivers 5, 000 people and Delta State 3, 000.
“Akwa Ibom was unrepresented in that programme without considering the plight of the people.’’
The forum also demanded that the OGPWS be reviewed to accommodate ex-militants and youths of the state, adding that doing this would engage at least 3, 000 youths from the state.
Speaking with the News agency of Nigeria (NAN), the spokesperson of the protesters, Mr Edohouqua Godwin, said the forum had on Aug. 3, 2012, written to President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Security Adviser (NSA), demanding their inclusion in the contract.
Mr Vincent Idike, a representative of the Sergeant at Arms in the National Assembly, who received the representative of the militants in his office, said that their request would be forwarded to the appropriate quarters.