Omo-Agege to Niger Delta agitators: don’t attack oil facilities
October 29, 2020 Sanni Onogu, Abuja DEPUTY Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, yesterday urged members of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) to stop their planned attacks on oil facilities in the region. He said carrying out the threat would create an economic setback for the country. Omo-Agege’s appeal followed threats by a coalition of nine militant groups to resume hostilities if the Federal Government did not meet the demands of #EndSARS protesters. Speaking when he hosted a delegation of Oil and Gas Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSCON) in Abuja, led by Chief Wellington Okrika, the Delta Central lawmaker urged the agitators to sheathe their sword and allow peace to reign. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga, the Deputy Senate President assured his visitors that their demands would be tabled before the Presidency. Omo-Agege said: “Whatever it is, we must maintain peace in the Niger Delta. I say this in view of the new agitations by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers. “We are just coming out of the #EndSARS protest which, of course, we all witnessed how a peaceful protest was hijacked by those with sinister agenda. “We are all witnesses to what happened afterwards even when we must acknowledge that in a democracy, protest is a right provided it is done peacefully without abridging the rights of others.” He urged the HOSCON members to “go back to our people in the Creeks and tell them we are here for them.” “We are here to champion their request. We don’t want the peace of the Niger Delta to be disturbed or disrupted. We are here to protect the interest of our people.
Yes, I may be the Deputy President of the Senate today but, I am, first of all, a Senator representing my people. I am here and I am your own. I am your eye. We shall not disappoint you. “Take this commendation to our brothers in the Creeks that they have done well in keeping the peace and we will table their request before the authorities as they have channelled that request through me. We shall ensure the right things are done.” On the Petroleum Industry Bill, Omo-Agege argued that the annual contribution of 2.5 per cent actual operating expenditure by oil companies to the Host Community Development Trust Fund would be increased to, at least, five per cent. He reiterated his call at the Second Reading of the Bill for gas flaring penalties to be paid to the host communities and not the Federation Account. He pointed out that the funds would be used to ameliorate the living conditions in Niger Delta communities, as they remain the ones that bear the burden of environmental degradation from the oil industry. Chief Okrika urged Omo-Agege to intervene in the issues brought before the Federal Government on the PIB, gas flaring, 13 per cent derivation payment to the states instead of the oil-bearing communities, the N98billion gas flare fund and the controversy surrounding the Pipeline Surveillance Contract.