Posted by Kingsley Omonobi, Henry Umoru, Ben Agande, Levinus Nwabughiogu & Joseph Erunke, Abuja | 6 September 2018 | 2,645 times
A coalition of Niger Delta militants said yesterday they were returning to the creeks to disrupt oil production in the Niger Delta, following last Tuesday’s raid on the Abuja house of elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, by policemen over alleged illegal possession of arms and ammunition.
The group also raised an alarm over assassination plots against some Nigerians, especially those canvassing restructuring of the country.
The militants’ declaration came on a day Police authorities paraded the informant, who gave the false information that led to the raid.
Although Force Headquarters said the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, was not aware of the raid, sources in Abuja, yesterday, disclosed that fear of the consequences of the failed raid on the residence of Chief Edwin Clark, in Asokoro, Abuja, as was the case with the invasion of the National Assembly, which led to the sack of former Director-General of Department of State Service, DSS, Lawal Daura, led to the prompt arrest and detention of the officers, who undertook the operation.
‘Sins of those targeted’
The sin of those being targeted, the Militants said, stemmed from their attempts to stand against the killings across the country and their tough stance on restructuring of the country.
Rising from a meeting, the group in a statement signed by major heads of the coalition groups, also announced an end to the ceasefire agreement with the federal government, saying it was returning to the creeks.
The agitators, who also insisted on the restructuring of the country as a condition for peace in the country, issued an ultimatum to all major oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to relocate their headquarters to the zone between now and December 2018.
Those who signed the statement include General John Duku for Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; General Ekpo Ekpo for Niger Delta Volunteers; General Osarolor Nedam for Niger Delta Warriors; Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete for Niger Delta Peoples Fighters; Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw for Bakassi Freedom Fighters; Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall for Niger Delta Movement for Justice and Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson for Niger Delta Fighters Network.
Others are Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate; Major-Gen. Abiye Tariah for Niger Delta Development Network; Major-Gen. Joshua Ebere for Renewed Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta; Major-Gen. Jeremiah Anthony of
Movement for Actualization of Niger Delta Republic; Major Francis Okoroafor
Niger Delta Freedom Redemption Army and Colonel Nelson Okochi Walter for
Niger Delta Liberty Organization.
Our stand — Niger Delta groups
The statement read in full: “At the general assembly meeting of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, we viewed, analyzed and also condemned in strongest terms the unwarranted invasion of the Abuja home of Niger Delta leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.
“This development is one in the series of plots to harass people in the Southern and Middle Belt Forum.
“Our intelligence further revealed that some of the people under the government watch-list that would either be assassinated or framed up are Obong Victor Attah, Dr. Alfred Mulade, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, retd, Senator Bassey Henshaw, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu and Dr. Isuwa Dogo and others for attempting to stand against the killings across the country as well as their stance on restructuring.
“The recent police action and attempt on the life of the Niger Delta leader is a wakeup call for action, we cannot continue to watch this continue.
“We also condemned the statements made by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in respect of the restructuring of the country.
“After extensive deliberation on these issues, we hereby issue an ultimatum that any oil company that fails to relocate its headquarters to the Niger Delta between now and December 2018 should stop operation and vacate the Niger Delta or face the consequences.
“The refusal of the President to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill into law is viewed as an attempt to forcibly control Niger Delta resources by proxy. And we advise Mr. President to have a rethink on this issue.
“According to reports, the President refused to sign the bill for fear that; it would weaken his power as the Minister of Petroleum Resources; his Ministers he consulted over the bill advised him against giving his assent as the Petroleum Regulatory Commission would then have powers to check his excesses, and the fiscal content” of the bill would be subject to litigation.
“The coalition wishes to state here clearly that we had fulfilled our part by maintaining total peace and ceasefire in the Niger Delta since 2017 as advised by Niger Delta elders and leaders, the oil output during the period has increased tremendously.
“However, the federal government has been playing politics with the Niger Delta people. We, hereby, officially announce that our cease-fire ends today and we are returning to the creeks.
“We assure the Presidency that with just one month of our operation, the oil output will return to 200 barrels per day; we shall crush anything that crosses our line of operation. The actions and utterances of the Presidency have taken us by surprise, we cannot help but stand firm and fight with aggression for what rightly belongs to us.
“Finally, we, hereby, call on the International Oil Companies, PENGASSAN, NUPENG as well as other individuals that have businesses with oil companies in Niger Delta, especially in the platforms, rigs, pipelines and terminals, to withdraw their members on or before end of December 2018 as we cannot assure the safety of anyone anymore from now on.
“We want to assure you that our operation shall be second to none and we shall ensure the total liberation of our land and people from the injustices and neo-colonialism of the Nigerian state.”
Still on the matter, one of the militant generals who refused to disclose his identity, in a telephone conversation with Vanguard last night said: “Tell them in Abuja say trouble dey sleep, yanga go wake am.”
•Text (excluding headline) excerpted from a Vanguard report
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