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TENSION IN NIGER-DELTA AS HOST OIL COMMUNITY BATTLES JTF OVER NPDC/SPDC CONTRACT

…Kusimi Community Threatens War!

The last may not have been heard of the irate attitude of men in khaki uniform operating under the Joint Task Force, (JTF), deployed to the Niger-Delta region, given their unconstitutional moves to forcefully take over contracts meant for indigenous contractors by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company and that given to them by Shell Petroleum Development Company, (SPDC).

Following Friday’s, 07/12/2012 brutal attacks on these local contractors engage in legitimate business by these oil companies while on site on the sea carrying out their legal business, indications are rife a growing unrest in the Niger-Delta region as leaders of Kusimi community in Warri South-West L.G.A of Delta state government has vowed to resist any further attempt by officers and men of the Joint Task Force, (JTF) deployed to the area to intimidate indigenes of the community from doing legitimate business with oil companies operating in the Niger-Delta.

Leader, Kusimi community, Mr. Kusimi Newman, said in a press statement issued penultimate Saturday in Warri, that following Amnesty Programme granted to restive youths in the region, the continued presence of the JTF has brought about untold intimidation of Kusimi indigenes.

“We are aware of ploy by the law enforcement agencies, security personnel and members of the Joint Task Force, (JTF) deployed supposedly to maintain law and order, of their unconstitutional and unlawful desire to take over our businesses with oil companies operating in the OML 42.”

“To achieve their devilish and insidious plan, these officers and men have devised means of intimidation and direct harassment of indigenous contractors from host oil communities who are engaged by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, (NPDC) and other oil companies operating in the area as local contractors”, he alleged.

“The JTF deployed to these areas, rather than live up to their responsibility of maintaining law and order, they have now constituted themselves into instruments of intimidation, molestation and unwanted harassment of local indigenes of Kusimi community.”

“There has been relative peace in our community, but the JTF and other law enforcement agencies operating in the region have lately been harassing our youths and community dwellers who go about doing their legitimate businesses”, he stated.

“We are asking: where in the Nigerian constitution is it allowed for service men like of the JTF to engage in oil deals and business with these oil companies in the region. It is clear that their intimidation of indigenous contractors and indigenes of Kusimi community is aimed solely at taking  over our business and have sole proprietorship transacting with these oil companies”, he alleged.

“As in the past, Kusimi community, and indeed indigenous contractors operating within the OML 42, will stand to resist these uncivilized action by the JTF to forcefully collapse our service and relationship with the oil firms”, he added.

Mr. Kusimi claimed that in recent times, some of their sons and daughters had become victims of death and incapacitation, as a result of this, citing that with the where abouts of two of their children, Ola Youke and Terry Enebraghene are still yet unknown; they were both detained in police custody sometime in April this year, “These have clearly proven to us that these security personnel can go at all length towards achieving their plans.” The statement that was jointly signed by other prominent sons and daughter of the community, Mr. Kusimi called for an immediate investigation into the murder of their sons while in detention at the Warri Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force.

Similarly, the community leaders drew the attention of both the state and federal government to, as a matter of urgency, look into the issue of the JTF intimidation of indigenes, saying any further attempt to intimidate rural dwellers in the area, may result in youths in the community going restive to resist these actions.

While calling on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to call these men of the JTF and other security agencies operating within Kusimi community to order, the Kusimi community leaders threatened that they will not fold their hands for too long and allow their people suffer under such intimidation by the JTF. Mr Kusimi Newman was very unambiguous and clear in his averment over the community’s readiness to resist any move by the JTF and law enforcement agency whatsoever to tamper with their people’s source of livelihood and legitimate business

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