Wednesday, May 21, 2008

''We have vowed to sacrifice our lives."

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in Bayelsa State has threatened to destroy oil pipelines in the state and called on construction giant, Daewoo Nigeria limited and other companies operating in the state to leave in their own interest.

The rebel group also accused the Federal Government of enriching some individuals and groups in the name of peace initiatives in the oil and gas region.

The threat by MEND is run election in Bayelsa State, Chief Timpre Sylva, a serious worry.

Sylva told the Amananaowei of Ekeremor, Chief Gbaseimo Agbodo, during a campaign tour of the area with his running mate, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, that peace was a necessary ingredient without which the state cannot move forward.

He enjoined the Amananaowei to prevail on the youths of the local government area to embrace peace and stability, pointing out that without peace no meaningful development can take place to raise the status of the people.

He regretted that due to the problem of insecurity, the contractor handling the construction of the Toru-Ebeni-Ekeremor-Agge road project has abandoned the site and assured that his administration will accord the project priority attention.

In his remarks, Chief Agbodo enjoined Sylva to remain focused and stead- fast in his commitment to develop the state when he assumes the mantle of leadership and expressed the support of the people to the Sylva/Ebebi ticket.

In Sagbama, the first civilian governor of the State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, expressed confidence that the over- whelming support Sylva has recorded was clear demonstration that the local government area will vote for the ruling PDP.

Alamieyeseigha enjoined the people of the area to evolve a blue-print that will attract accelerated development for the local government under the in-coming administration in the state instead of engaging their energies on an election that has already been decided.

Also speaking, Sylva promised that his administration would assiduously tackle the Sagbama-Ekermor-Agge senatorial road so that it could be completed on time to boost the economic life of the people of the zone.

In his speech, the former deputy governor, Mr. Peremobowei Ebebi, who is Sylva's running mate, charged the people of the senatorial zone to vote for the Sylva/Ebebi ticket to enable them continue the people-oriented projects they had started.

Meanwhile, in an online statement entitled, "Blowing of Gas Pipelines Begins in Bayelsa State," and obtained by LEADERSHIP during the weekend, the commander of the group in the state, Joshua Macaiva, stated with emphasis that the only way peace can reign in the region is for the Nigerian state to give "what rightly belongs to the downtrodden people" of the Niger Delta.

Macaiva said, "We want rapid development of our communities as well as human development," adding that militancy must continue in the creeks.

He described the posting of soldiers of the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) to the region as a wasteful venture, explaining that the area is peaceful.

The statement urged Daewoo to discontinue with its pipeline laying project in the southern Ijaw area of the state, saying, "If they do, we shall start hostility in Bayelsa State as the relative peace enjoyed in the state will be broken immediately as we have alerted our boys to be on the watch next week."

The dreaded group accused the Federal Government of conniving with some multinational companies to "illegally" export the nation's abundant oil and gas resources.

"When we have not resolved the oil exploitation matter then they want to ship our gas to overseas countries," Macaiva posited, saying, "We have vowed to sacrifice our lives."

He regretted that the agreement reached between Daewoo and its host communities has not been met, pointing out that the communities are running out of patience.

He lamented that people from other parts of the country have benefited immensely from the oil wealth gotten from the Niger Delta.

The MEND leader added that the exploitation of crude oil and natural gas beneath the farms, fisheries and houses of the Ijaws over the past 50 years has caused serious environmental damage of the people's land and rivers, which he said are the means of livelihood for the people who are mainly farmers and fishermen.

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