• Niger Delta militants order them to leave before October 1
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA), yesterday, handed an ultimatum to Northerners and Yoruba residing in the region to relocate to their regions before October 1.
The coalition also said it would resume bombing of major oil and gas installations from September 10 as a preparation for the actualisation of Niger Delta Republic.
The coalition made of up eight groups also dissociated itself from the leadership and membership of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and warned the Federal Government to stop dealing with the Coalition of elders and leaders of the regions on their behalf.
PANDEF led by leaders of Niger Delta, including a former federal commissioner for information, Chief Edwin Clarke, met twice with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo recently at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The meeting was principally to articulate lasting solutions to the challenges of the people in the region.
But in a statement signed by the leaders of the groups, the agitators said that they had resolved to declare the Republic of Niger Delta on October 1, and ordered the Federal Government to return all the oil wells given to non-indigenes of the region.
The CNDA commended Yoruba for their intention to declare the Oduduwa Republic, and pledged to work with the South East and Middle Belt to achieve economic and diplomatic developments.
Signatories to the statement included General John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, CNDA); General Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers); General Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors) and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters).
Others were Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw for Bakassi (Freedom Fighters); Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice); Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network) and Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate).
The statement read: “At the general council meeting of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA) involving surveillance department, intelligence department and commanding officers held today to deliberate on the recent development in the Niger Delta and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) meeting with the acting president, after hours of careful deliberations, we unanimously resolved as follows:
“To commence operation zero oil in the Niger Delta from September 10, 2017, as a preparation for the actualization of Niger Delta Republic;
“We totally condemn the recent meeting between PANDEF and the Acting President; we see it as another plot to deceive the Niger Delta people. First and foremost, the meeting was marred with the inordinate greed of the PANDEF, as they did not involve the representatives of the agitating groups and youths leaders. We wish to let the acting president to know that those he met have no capacity and cannot solve the current crisis in the Niger Delta; therefore they cannot represent the militants or speak for the Niger Delta people;
“The Coalition unanimously adopts to stand by the previous demands, which are: 100 per cent percent control of our resources.
“The Federal Government should hand over all oil blocks owned by the Northerners/Yoruba to Niger Delta indigenes.
“All oil companies operating in such oil blocs/wells should vacate by October 1st, 2017.”
The group also ordered the relocation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to any of the Niger Delta states and replacement of the Group Managing Director with an indigene of the region.
“All the multinational oil, gas, servicing and marine companies must relocate their operational base to the Niger Delta, sign a new Memorandum of Understanding with Niger Delta people which would include Niger Delta indigenes being paid same salaries with foreigners.
“We demand independence and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta, all the companies and business owned by the Northerners /Yorubas in Niger Delta should be vacated before 1st October 2017, we accept and congratulate the Yorubas for demanding the Oduduwa Republic and we wish them success.”
CNDA called on all agitating groups to resume attacks/bombings on all oil/gas pipelines, especially the exporting lines across the Niger Delta region from September 10, 2017.
This, it said, is to ensure zero oil/gas production before October 1, 2017.
The statement added: “We shall work to interface with more patriotic and zealous Niger Delta people to work out a new collective approach that will ensure total freedom and complete control of our resources by any means necessary.
“We shall from henceforth, fight to liberate ourselves from the shackles of neo-colonialism and rule ourselves under the Niger Delta Republic, with diplomatic and economic relations with the peoples of the South East and Middle Belt.
“Finally, we want to inform the federal government of Nigeria and the general public that we no longer recognize PANDEF under the present leadership as they are working against the interest of the Niger Delta people.”
The quite order by the Niger Delta group followed an earlier 90-day ultimatum issued by a coalition of Arewa youth group, Coalition of Northern Youths (CNY) to all Igbo to relocate from the 19 northern states by October 1.
Following the ultimatum, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo held series of peace-building meetings with leaders and elders of the North and the South East. (The Sun)