- Oshiomhole says Nigeria unity not negotiable
From Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja and Tony John, Port Harcourt
NIGER Delta militants have asked the Federal Government to immediately release corpses of Biafra supporters allegedly killed on Monday or risk more attacks from them beginning on Friday, June 3.
The militants also pledged a revenge against security agents over what they described as “unprovoked massacre of peace-loving Biafra people” in Onitsha, Anambra State.
In an ultimatum issued yesterday, through their online platform, the militants said the decision was taken after an emergency meeting of leaders of the various militant groups in the region.
Representatives of Niger Delta People’s Democratic Front ( NDPDF) and Concerned Militant Leaders (CML), Precious Iyoyo (General Playboy) and General Ben respectively, said the brutality of security agents against the citizens was disheartening.
The Niger Delta militants claimed they witnessed how members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) were killed in unprovoked circumstances.
“So many Niger Delta militants witnessed what happened in Onitsha.
“We are too pained to keep quiet. If the Federal Government fails to release them by Friday, June 3, 2016, they will hear from us from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states,” General Playboy said.
Similarly, General Ben said actions of soldiers and policemen last Monday were clear declaration of war on innocent and helpless Nigerians.
“It is now war between the militants and security men. Since innocent and helpless citizens, especially from South-South and South East, have been marked out for extinction, we will defend our people. We will go after security men in an unprecedented manner both in sea and on land. Federal Government should expect more attacks from us.
“We’ll tell the Federal Government that the Niger Delta region is our terrain and no amount of military troops and their armoury will dampen our spirit.
“The Federal Government should know that the more attacks on Biafra, the more aggressive we become. This is war that involves all of us,” he said.
Scores of Biafra agitators were allegedly killed on Monday, in some states, during the celebration of the 49th anniversary of Biafra proclamation by the late Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.
Meanwhile, Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, said no part of the country can do without each other, declaring that Nigeria’s existence as a united country remains non-negotiable.
This is even as he called on political elites to come together and see how the bombing of oil installations in the Niger Delta by militants under the aegis of Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), would end, warning that the time of ethnic champions are over saying “nobody will benefit from blowing up pipelines.”
He also stressed the need to end the militancy and create a peaceful environment for investors to come in.
The governor, who spoke to State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa shortly after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari, applauded the president’s response to stop the sabotage on oil installations, saying the state should not submit to blackmail.
The NDA has for the past month blown up crude oil facilities of major oil exploration firms in the region, crippling oil exports while the military has responded with massive deployment of arsenal in operations to fish out the culprits.
Oshiomhole argued that the destruction of the oil infrastructure by any group would not be of benefit to anybody but cause more pollution and hardship on the people of the region.
Explaining that the media was not the right channel to send out security solutions, he said the president acted well so far and had succeeded in ‘sending the message out’.
“When you are dealing with security issues the options are not best discussed in the media. What I can say is that this president deserves the support of everyone and there is no part of Nigeria that can be better off without the other. The sooner we accept this reality, the better it is for all of us. The days of ethnic champions and imaginary divides will not help anyone. I believe that the president has shown leadership, he has shown determination to keep the country going and for once we are enjoying respect in world capitals, in different continents.
“Part of the challenge we are facing today is that quite a number of our young people are out of job, even in our budget, the president on his own without prompting, decided to devote as much as half a trillion naira to social investments that is targeted at the poorest among us.
“We don’t need to be security experts to accept the universal truth that wherever there is insecurity there will be no investment because no investor will go to where is unsafe. And where there is no investment, poverty will be endemic because there will be no job for our people.
“I appeal to all of us in the South-South, we need to wake up, it is for our own self interest that we make the region the most investor-friendly that even challenges that we face, the assets being destroyed is not just national assets, it is our own assets. It is what makes the South-South the hub of the Nigerian economy and when we nutralise that through whatever pretenses, there is something Abiola said which I think is apt in this case, that is if a tree falls in the forest chances are it can only kill somebody in that forest not somebody at home.
“So, if somebody for whatever reasons decide to destroy pipelines and thereby compounding the problem of pollution, the cost of cleaning up that area, making it attractive either for fishing, farming or other business is a huge cost. Cost not just in naira and kobo, cost in terms of time and in terms of human lives.” The Sun