A group of armed young men who called themselves former militants, yesterday, stormed the Akwa Ibom State Government House demanding payment of the alleged suspended allowances.
The former militants numbering about 40 who arrived in three mini-buses engaged security agents in gun fight while trying to gain access into Government House, but they were repelled by the reinforced and heavily armed security operatives.
They accused the state government of not responding to their plight by negotiating the payment of their alliances with the Federal Government.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Murtala Mani, who confirmed the clash, said he was not sure if there had been any arrest as he was with the new Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 6, in Calabar.
Mani said he would give details of the event when fully briefed.
Apparently worried by the activities of militants, especially the incessant bombing of oil installations across the Niger-Delta region, prominent elders and leaders of thoughts from the zone have summoned the six core states to a stakeholders’ forum on August 19 at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Conference Centre, Effurun near Warri at 11.00am.
Foremost Ijaw national leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, who made this disclosure in Warri yesterday, noted that the meeting had become imperative to address issues that led to the renewed insurgency in the region.
The states are Delta, Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross River. The meeting will attract traditional rulers, former and serving governors, politicians, youth organisations and other notable stakeholders.
According to Clark, who is also the leader of the South-South Peoples Assembly (SSPA), “there is urgent need to dialogue. The present problem is not Ijaw problem alone. It is pertinent for the six Niger-Delta states to dialogue and chart a way forward with the Federal Government on how to end the crisis. Vandalism and bombing of pipelines are worrisome situations. Crisis does not solve crisis, dialogue is the answer. We are part of Nigeria and we believe in the unity, development and peace of this great nation.”
He disclosed that invitation to the meeting had been sent out to all stakeholders from the six core states, including serving and former legislators (federal and states), youths and other interests who are key in finding solution to the issue that led to the current crisis.
Appealing to the aggrieved youths, especially members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign while solution was being sought, Clark, urged the Federal Government to be transparent and sincere in its proposed dialogue with militants in the region.
“We called this meeting to inform you (journalists) that we, leaders of the Niger Delta region, are consulting to end this prevailing situation of renewed militancy.
On timing, Chief Clark said the reason they were calling the meeting at a very short notice was to demonstrate the seriousness attached to the resolving the problem of renewed violence in the region, adding that they could not afford to allow the crisis escalate.
Meanwhile, with its resolve to eliminate all forms of economic sabotage and criminal activities in the maritime areas, the Navy has continued its crackdown on illegal crude oil thieves and pipeline vandals.
The Nigerian Navy Ship NWAMBA on August 13 arrested Marine Vessel (MV) STAR SHRIMPER.
The vessel was alleged to have tried to evade interrogation when intercepted by the Nigerian Navy Vessel. The vessel and its crew are being investigated.
Earlier, on August 10, a patrol team deployed by NNS JUBILEE raided an illegal refinery site at Ikoh Imoh community in Akwa Ibom State and destroyed a Cotonou boat laden with suspected stolen crude oil, 103 drums of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and two motorcycles.
Similarly, on August 12, a patrol team deployed by NNS DELTA raided several illegal refinery sites along Jones Creek in Delta State and destroyed unquantifiable amount of stolen crude oil and illegally refined AGO.