A new militant group, War Against Niger Delta Exploitation -WANDE has threatened to blow up the headquarters of the Central Bank Nigeria in Abuja, the Eagle Square as well as major oil installations around the country if the federal government of Nigeria goes ahead to renew oil licenses to Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, other multinationals and individuals who are not from the Niger Delta.
The group in a seven (7) point communique signed by its spokesman, General Nomukeme, warned that it would resume hostilities and frustrate the conduct of the 2019 general elections in the country and also hold foreign and local workers of oil multinationals hostage without any option of ransom, if the federal government goes ahead with the renewal of 53 oil licenses to IOCs and others which are due to expire in this 2019.
However, WANDE said it will galvanise the support of all former and current agitators for President Muhammadu Buhari if he can prove his administration’s commitment towards the development of the Niger Delta, by implementing her demands.
According to General Nomukeme, the seven (7) point demands are:
- “That the 53 Oil Mining Licenses of Shell Petroleum Development Company – SPDC, other multi nationals and individuals who are non indigenes of the Niger Delta must not be renewed after their expiration in 2019; as we will no longer sit and watch our collective resources stolen away by strangers under the watchful eyes of the federal government”.
- “That the Niger Deltans must be adequately compensated with the right to also own and operate at least 75 percent of Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPL) and Oil Mining Licenses (OML)”.
“Our people must be given the first right of refusal as to whether they will like to own and operate the facilities or not”.
“There are many well trained and seasoned professional oil and gas experts in the Niger Delta who have the capacities to own and man those facilities”.
“As you all know, more than 95 percent of the oil blocs in the Niger Delta have been owned and operated by IOCs, and people who are not indigenes of the Niger Delta region since after the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in the present day Bayelsa state in 1959”.
- “That from 2019, the federal government must increase oil derivation of the oil proceeds to the Niger Delta states from 13 percent to at least 55 percent”.
“It is criminal that a region that produces about 80 percent of the nation’s wealth, should be made to receive a paltry sum of 13 percent derivation of the oil proceeds. Such must be corrected and not be allowed to continue”.
“The Supreme Court judgment delivered by Justice John Inyang Okoro mandating the Federal Government to embark on an upward adjustment of the shares of revenues accruing to three oil producing states of Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom whenever the price of crude oil exceeds $20 per barrel is a welcome development and must be effected”.
- “That we commend the anti corruption fight by the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, and we therefore urge him to as part of his anti corruption crusade, demonstrate the political will and sincerity to the people of the Niger Delta, to quickly implement the presidential directive that all oil producing companies move their headquarters to their producing areas in the Niger Delta”.
“This litmus test if done is the way to ascertain if President Buhari truly cares about the development of the Niger Delta region and will stand him out from past presidents, and thus, get our maximum support on his re-election bid”.
- “That the presidential candidates of the various political parties especially that of the main opposition, Alhaji Atiku Abubarka of the Peoples Democratic Party – PDP, must convincingly show the Niger Deltans a workable blueprint for the development of the region, because at the moment, no policy document of any of the candidates clearly shows a concrete plan for the development of the Niger Delta before any of them can get our support”.
- “That the federal government must carry out cleanup of all oil impacted areas in the Niger Delta and not just in Ogoni land”.
- “That these issues highlighted must not be treated with levity or handled with kid gloves, as failure to carry them out will mark the commencement of our hostilities”.
WANDE in the statement however commended other agitators and militia groups like the Niger Delta Avengers, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta – MEND and others for their efforts so far in sustaining the struggle for a better Niger Delta.