Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt
THE Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators on Wednesday announced that it was returning to the creeks over the refusal of international oil companies to relocate to the Niger Delta region.
The coalition also condemned what it described as an unwarranted invasion of the house of elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, adding that the aim was to assassinate Clark for championing the course of the Niger Delta people.
A statement signed by leaders of the militant groups that make up the coalition warned IOCs that failed to relocate their headquarters to the Niger Delta before December 2018 to stop operation or be ready to face the consequences.
Some of the signatories to the statement issued via an electronic mail are John Duku, leader of Niger Delta Watchdogs and the Convener of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers), Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors), Henry Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters) and Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters).
The coalition said it had played its part by holding onto its pledge to cease fire, adding that with the resumption of hostilities, the agitators would force national oil production to 200 barrels per day within one month.
The militants described the refusal by President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill into law as an attempt to forcefully control the Niger Delta resources by proxy.
The statement read, “We view, analyse and also condemn in strongest terms the unwarranted order by the Federal Government and the Inspector-General of Police to invade the Abuja home of Niger Delta leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, with the aim of assassinating him for championing restructuring and the course of the Niger Delta people.
“The recent attempt on the life of Chief E. K. Clark is one of the attempts on the people in the Southern and Middle Belt Forum penciled down for assassination or frame-up by this administration through the office of the Inspector- General of Police, conniving with some top government functionaries from the Niger Delta region, including two former governors who just defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress.
“Our intelligence further revealed that some of the people under the government’s 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, Dr Isuwa Dogo and others for attempting to stand against the killings across the country as well as their stance on restructuring.
“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 region or face the consequences.
“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 the Niger Delta elders and leaders, the oil output during the period have increased tremendously.
“We hereby officially announce that our ceasefire ends today (Wednesday) 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.” (Punch)