Paul Osuyi, Asaba
A militant group in the Niger Delta, Urhobo Liberation Force (ULF), has threatened to blow up oil and gas facilities in Urhobo land if the Federal Government fails to make adequate budgetary provisions for the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE) in Effurun, Delta State within 14 days.
ULF vowed to return Nigeria to zero oil and gas production and force it into another recession if adequate provisions are not made within the 14-day ultimatum.
The group alleged that the budgetary provision for financial implementation of FUPRE, which is located in Urhobo land, was deliberately left out in the 2018 Appropriation Bill sent by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly.
The threat was contained in a statement jointly signed by Orubu Ekpe, who is in charge of operations and Mike Agbalele, in charge of defence for the group.
It frowned at the provision N45 billion in the 2018 budget for North East Development Commission (NEDC), insisting that NEDC Act was accented to a week after the FUPRE bill was signed into law by the President.
While appreciating the Federal Government for signing the FUPRE bill and the smooth take-off of academic activities of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the group urged the Buhari administration to direct the National Assembly committees on appropriation “to adequately allocate from the excess crude funds realized in the increase of the oil benchmark as it rose from $45 per barrel to the current benchmark $72 per barrel – yielding an excess of about N152 billion derived from Urhobo nation in the Niger Delta region in the 2018 Appropriation Bill.”
It group went to call on other militant groups with genuine intent towards the development of the region to join forces with ULF to correct what it termed as “wicked and devilish agenda of this administration aimed at under developing the oil rich Niger Delta,” and also called on the leadership of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) to wade into this issue as a voice of the Niger Delta people.
“If we strike, we will not listen to their call for peace. This should not be taken as a threat but all necessary machinery to carry out this operations has been put in place. All oil and gas facilities in the upland will been blown off. We advise all oil and gas companies operating in the upland to take note because this operation shall be bloody,” the militants threatened.
The group claimed that the Urhobo nation is the 5th largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria, with rich oil and gas resources, but has been marginalized by the Buhari administration, saying that the government has not appointed an Urhobo person in any ministerial role, or representative position in oil and gas related agencies.