They added that such calls were simply because Akpabio is an indigene of Akwa Ibom State and not necessarily that he has committed any offense.
In a statement issued by the leader of the ex-militants Comrade Imoh Stephen Okoko and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Thursday, the group noted that it was not the first time, some faceless individuals within the region would be asking for Senator Akpabio’s removal.
According to them, “After a careful analysis of the various reasons advanced by the protesting individuals and groups, we wish to state that these calls are all laden with ethnic sentiments and therefore leave much to be desired.
“And those making the call are parochial minded and selfish individuals whose interest is above the general well-being of the region, a major reason why the Niger Delta has remained very backward and largely underdeveloped despite the large chunk of funds sunk into it.
“We, therefore, wish to say that the call for Akpabio’s removal is simply because he is an Akwa Ibom State indigene and not necessarily that he has committed any offense.
“On our part, we totally reject the call for the Minister’s removal, but rather commend the President for making the best choice for the Ministry of the Niger Delta.”
They regretted that most appointees from Akwa Ibom State Origin have allegedly been treated badly and opposed when appointed to sensitive positions at the federal level and on issues relating to the development of the region.
Buttressing their claims, the group recalled that on the creation of the Niger
They said his successor at the Ministry, Mr. Godday Orubebe, who was Obong Ekaette’s Minister of State at the time, was however hailed despite his ‘seeming poor performance because he is an Ijaw man.’
They further said the pioneer NDDC’s Executive Director, Projects, late Engr. Udo Mboso was protested against, likewise Mr. Nsima Ekere, the immediate-past NDDC Managing Director.
“We, therefore, wish to warn all those behind the call for the head of Senator Akpabio for a crime he did not commit to desist forthwith from such act as any further attack on the Minister shall be met with stiff resistance and could resort to unpleasant consequences.
“Similarly we also advise President Muhammadu Buhari not to yield to pressure from any individual or group calling for the Minister’s removal as we shall no longer fold our arms.