Leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has described continued attack on oil and gas installations in the region as a criminal act and their perpetrators as enemies of the region.
Clark, who spoke yesterday at a press briefing held in his Warri home, also said the PANDEF would meet soon to take a decision on ways to deal with the situation.
He appealed to the Federal Government not to be deterred by the ugly development, urging it to go on with its decision to consider the requests presented to it recently.
The Ijaw national leader, who spoke to journalists in the company of some other stakeholders of the region, noted that a number of factors were responsible for the pattern manifested in the destruction of critical oil and gas assets in the region, pointing out political and pecuniary reasons.
He, however, noted that the continued militant activities in the region, especially the destruction of oil facilities, had gone beyond matters of expression of grievances to a calculated attempt to derail the budding peace process in the region.
Noting the likely adverse effect of the recent destructive actions of militants on both the innocent members of the communities in the region and the environment, Clark warned that PANDEF would not condone the activities of the adamant insurgent groups any longer.
He said: “Our boys were still boasting in the social media that they were going to attack, they would do this or do that.
“I was in my house when they sent to me that FG has sent troops to the creeks in a houseboat opposite Oporoza and that some boys had been arrested. We intervened and those boys were released.
“So the question is, what do we want, particularly these boys? What are they looking for? They are enemies of the people. They are criminals.
“If something is being done so that we all can benefit, the fight you are fighting did not start today. You have not even waited for the dialogue to take place, then you are not an aggrieved person. You have other ulterior motives.
“So we will soon have a meeting of PANDEF to discuss this thing and take a position. Let me also warn that there are some politicians who are also members of the Niger Delta that are fighting themselves and it is not unlikely that some of these people are involved in these bombings to discredit each other.
“The recent blowing up of Trans-Forcados Pipeline operated by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) is no longer a matter arising from grievances, but an act design to sabotage the present peace process.
“I want to emphasise that no government sits by and watch its national assets being destroyed. It is the innocent members of the communities that would bear the brunt of possible reprisal attacks by the military.
“We appeal to FG to go on acting on the requests we made to Mr. President on the 1st of November. We will deal with this situation. We won’t sit down at home with arms folded and allow some few individuals to destroy our destiny.
“A larger meeting will be called to review the situation and take a position”, he said. (The Nation)