The new militant group believed to be operating from the Ohaji Egbema axis of Imo State has threatened to destroy all government assets in the state built with ‘oil money’ from their community. Citing neglect and gross marginalisation of their oil bearing communities, the group, Niger Delta Red Squad, listed the Imo Government House, Imo State Secretariat, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) buildings among others as assets they have marked for destruction.
Niger Delta Red Squad: We’ll Destroy Imo Govt House, Ground Oil Companies
The statement read in part: “Oil companies started operations in our community since 1957 but till date, we have nothing to show as benefit and for the Imo State Government, we will make sure you make no further gains from Ohaji Egbema.” Continuing, he said: “Since God’s creation, neither Imo State Government nor oil companies have remembered us, we have been neglected and abandoned. No electricity, no tarred roads, no drinking water, no hospital, no youth employment or empowerment. We shall destroy everything in Imo State that was built with our oil money.”
The group alleged that Imo State Government and the oil companies are marginalising and denying their community of the derivable benefits from their land. Following recent upsurge in militant activities in some of the oil producing communities in Imo State, social and economic activities have been drastically affected. In the Awarra area, homes and villages have had to be abandoned for safety. Presently, schools, markets, small businesses, farms, churches and social activities have effectively been shut down in the area as lawlessness and anarchy looms.
There is also the potent danger of famine and hunger in the next season as the farming season was largely spent on the run by indigenous farmers, which make up the bulk of the Awarra and Assa communities. In an earlier post on their Facebook page, the group, which had claimed responsibility for blowing up two Shell pipelines, promised to inflict ‘maximum damage’ if Ohaji Egbema communities are not given their due benefits from their oil resource. The group, in a post, further warned Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited of their imminent attack.
In its words, “Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited should get ready to observe our witch play. We will let them know that the security they claim to have is insufficient so they should go and hire more because we are coming to ‘launch’ them any moment from now.” The group, however, asked the Federal Government to immediately redress the situation and not make the mistake of taking them for granted. “If Imo State Government and Nigeria think we are joking, to God, we will ‘shock’ them well,” the post read.