The Amalgamated Arewa Youth Groups (AAYG) and the Supreme Egbesu Order (SEO) yesterday differed on the over N4 billion monthly contract awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to a former Niger Delta agitator,, Government Ekpemupolo for the protection of oil pipelines.
While AAYG held a protest against the contract in Abuja, SEO warned the northern group to desist from making further hateful actions against Tompolo.
The Arewa youth groups had during the protest at the NNPC limited headquarters in Abuja, called on the government to either cancel the contract or shut down the Amnesty Programme office in the Niger Delta.
It argued that it was unfair that the contract would be funded from the public treasury at a time the North was not getting significant support from the Federal Government to tackle the activities of terrorists.
“We are not here to officially protest against the awarded contract. We have issued a seven days ultimatum to the government to terminate the contract or better still shut down the Amnesty office.
“Niger Delta youths alone, can’t have the two. We are all stakeholders in the Nigeria project too,” said a spokesman for the group, Victor Duniya.
Duniya stated that the group would return to the NNPC towers if its demand were not met
His words: “Our youths are more than willing to die for the sake of the country are not allowed to personally acquire light arms to defend their communities, not to even talk of getting significant support from the Federal Government.
“Till date, supposed ex-agitators are being sponsored to world-class universities, others are being trained to acquire skills, while those with established businesses are constantly being empowered. As a matter of fact, we officially have the Amnesty office that is being funded from our annual budget, yet, the restiveness in the Niger Delta seems to be increasing with increased funding of the Amnesty Programme.”
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, and the Group Executive Director, Upstream of the NNPC Ltd, Adokiye Tombomelye, for promoting ethnic and regional interests.
Duniya also wants the NNPC Limited Group Managing Director, Mele Kolo Kyari, for rewarding ‘criminality instead of patriotism.’
But the SEO described the protest by AAYG as “unfortunate, unacceptable and disdainful.”
It wondered why the group would raise objections against a contract that had attracted encomiums from leaders and stakeholders in the Niger Delta.
SEO’s Chief Superintending Officer, Bodmas Kemepadei, said: “We consider the protest against High Chief Government by Arewa youths as malicious and disdainful. Their unsavoury statement against our leader is unacceptable and tantamount to inciting Niger Delta youths.
“We, therefore, caution Arewa youths and their sponsors to be civil and channel their energy towards securing the northern region of Nigeria which today; suffers a huge level of terrorism, and kidnapping and contributes severely to insecurity in Nigeria.
“As a people, we condemn the protest against High Chief Government Ekpemupolo in its entirety and consider it as an avenue to spur Niger Delta Youths to react violently, but we shall trade with caution, respect, and honour to ensure peace and stability; thereby, supporting our leader in the fight against oil theft and illegal bunkering in the region.
“We are fully prepared to resist all groups, individuals, and persons sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government, NNPC Limited, and High. Chief Government Ekpemupolo in ending oil theft and illegal bunkering which poses a major environmental threat in our region.”