Tony John, Port Harcourt
A new militant group, War Against Niger Delta Exploitation (WANDE), has sprung up and threatened to disrupt the 2019 elections, unless the government showed commitment to the development of the oil-rich region.
WANDE made the threat in a seven-point communique it released in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, signed by its spokesman, General Nomukeme.
Nomukeme stated that the reason for the emergence of the group was the continued act of perpetual enslavement of the people of the region by the Federal government, stressing that the people were being denied the right to have a share in their God-given resources.
He said that WANDE would garner support for President Muhammadu Buhari, if he could prove his administration’s commitment towards the development of the Niger Delta, by implementing its demands as contained in the statement.
“But failure to meet these demands simply translates to our commencement of hostilities. We will frustrate the conduct of the 2019 general elections across the country, if the following demands are handled with kid gloves.
“That the 53 Oil Mining Licences of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), other multinationals and individuals who are non indigenes of the Niger Delta must not be renewed after their expiration in 2019, as we will no longer sit and watch our collective resources (being) stolen by strangers under the watchful eyes of the Federal government.
“That the Niger Deltans must be adequately compensated with the right to also own and operate at least 75 percent of Oil Prospecting Licences (OPL) and Oil Mining Licenses (OML).
“Our people must be given the first right of refusal as to whether they will like to own and operate the facilities or not.”