A new militant group in Niger Delta, Bayan-Men, on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the destruction of the Agip Oil Company of Nigeria (NAOC) facility at Obosi area of Omoku, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The militant group had reportedly given the oil company a 24-hour ultimatum to engage the people of Omoku directly and pay them a certain amount of money.
But Agip could not meet up with the group’s demands by the time the ultimatum elapsed on Sunday.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by one Gen. Agaba who claimed to be its leader, the group claimed responsibility for the attack on the oil facility, noting that it was protesting the injustice against the Omoku people by the multinational oil companies.
Bayen-Men also threatened to carry out more attacks on Agip facilities if the firm does not retrace its step and engage the communities directly.
The statement read: “The action we carried out is as a result of Agip’s failure to comply with the 24 hours ultimatum we handed to them to engage our people on how to commence dealing directly with individual communities order than through individuals.
“We are not criminals, we are intellectuals. The fact is that when a man is pushed to the wall, he bounces back with double force.
“We are giving Agip another seven days to open windows of negotiation with the 27 communities of Omoku clan.
“This meeting will involve the chiefs of these communities, the CDC (Community Development Committee) chairmen of the Communities, and the Youths Presidents of the 27 communities. That is how we want it.
“We don’t want it in anybody’s parlour, we want it at the Civic Centre where everybody will come.
“The reason we want to soft-pedal now is because of appeals from different quarters and our Nchaka festival that is coming up on Sunday.
“We don’t want anything to affect our festival.
“We are surprised at the level of interference by the military and Department of State Service (DSS) who are in charge of the federal government facility.
“They are supposed to maintain law and order.
“The federal government had advised them (Agip) to deal with the different communities independently. Why are the security men taking side with the company?
“They come, take the money, and subvert justice. What we want is justice. You can’t come to my community and take the land and leave me hungry.
“We have heard that Agip has sent the military to put out the fire, but they have not been able to do that. It is now or never.”