Cri­sis looms in Bayelsa com­mu­ni­ties over location of mil­i­tary house­boat

• ‘Ex­ter­nal forces, FG be­hind mil­i­tants’ threats to re­newed hos­til­i­ties’ • Navy cau­tions Niger Delta Avengers

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Julius Osa­hon (Ye­nagoa) and Ani­etie Ak­pan (Cal­abar)

Ama­jor cri­sis looms in Amatu II Com­mu­nity in Ek­er­e­mor Lo­cal Coun­cil of Bayelsa State, as it has threat­ened a show­down with the Shell Pe­tro­leum De­vel­op­ment Com­pany (SPDC) and the mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties.

The com­mu­nity said it was not happy with the pro­posed plan by SPDC and its con­trac­tor, Saidel Nige­ria Lim­ited, to sta­tion a mil­i­tary house­boat at the bound­ary be­tween the com­mu­nity and Bi­l­abiri 1 & II com­mu­ni­ties to se­cure one of its proj- ects.

In a pe­ti­tion in Ye­nagoa, the com­mu­nity in­sisted that SPDC’S and the mil­i­tary’s ac­tion was ca­pa­ble of caus­ing cri­sis in the area and would fight to re­sist it.

The com­mu­nity also ar­gued that the sheer mag­ni­tude of se­cu­rity pres­ence be­ing con­tem­plated in the area was ca­pa­ble of caus­ing panic and un­rest among the peo­ple.

They stressed that such move will fur­ther heighten the ten­sion in the area, as the Amatu II and Bi­l­abiri 1 and II com­mu­ni­ties had been in­volved in land and supremacy tus­sle in the past.

In the pe­ti­tion signed by Amatu II com­mu­nity leader, Chief Paul Oweipade, and sent to the state gov­ern­ment and se­cu­rity agen­cies, they called on the state gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene and pre­vail on SPDC, Saidel Nige­ria Lim­ited and the peo­ple of Bi­l­abiri to re­lo­cate their se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tuses to the project site in the in­ter­est of peace.

“None of the ben­e­fit­ting com­mu­ni­ties of the on­shore side of the project have a set­tle­ment along the es­tu­ary ap­proach­ing part of the Dodo River, which pri­mary set­tlers are of Iduwini ex­trac­tion namely, Ibeg­bene, Agoliyo-ama, Ngo­dia-ama, Bisang­bene 1, Bisang­bene 2, Ikekaama, Aku-ama, Amatu 1, Amatu 2, Igunug­bene, Pas­anty-ama, La­gos-ama, Abadiyuo, among oth­ers.

“We are, there­fore, call- ing on con­cerned stake­hold­ers in the area to wade in, to avoid plung­ing com­mu­ni­ties along the Dodo River into an­other com­mu­nal cri­sis. “We are con­strained to make th­ese com­plaints be­cause we will not al­low any se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus in the guise of pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity for their com­pa­nies and cronies to sup­press our peo­ple, which we shall re­sist with the last drop of our blood.”

In a re­lated, the im­me­di­ate Pres­i­dent of Ijaw Youth Coun­cil (IYC), Udengs Eradiri, has re­vealed that some ex­ter­nal forces and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment were be­hind the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

Eradiri, who said the FG were aware of all the schemes, faulted the gov­ern­ment’s han­dling of the ag­i­ta­tions of the mil­i­tant group, say­ing that ag­i­ta­tions arose from long years of un­der­de­vel­op­ment, ne­glect, lack of eq­uity and in­sin­cer­ity, among other chal­lenges.

He noted that al­though he did not be­lieve in the ag­i­ta­tions, he was in to­tal sup­port of the Avengers, adding that vi­o­lent ag­i­ta­tions was the only lan­guage the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment un­der­stood.

Pres­i­dent, Nige­rian So­ci­ety of En­gi­neers Otis Anyaeji (left); Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, ACE Events Man­age­ment, UK, Tracey Shaw; Na­tional Chair­man, Nige­rian In­sti­tute of Wa­ter En­gi­neers, Adekola Ogun­dayo and rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Min­is­ter of Wa­ter Re­sources, Abubakar Dal­lah, dur­ing the Wa­ter Africa & West Africa Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Ex­hi­bi­tion in Abuja… yes­ter­day.

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