A group, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, on Thursday threatened to resume attacks on oil installations in the region.
The group, in an electronic mail, also said northerners and the Yoruba in the Niger Delta should leave the region before October 1, 2017.
The statement was signed by the convener of the NDA, John Duku; Ekpo Ekpo of Niger Delta Volunteers; Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors); Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters); Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters); and Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice).
In the statement titled, ‘Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators to resume attacks on September 10, 2017; Northerners, the Yoruba to leave Niger Delta before October 1, 2017,’ the group stated that it took the decision at a meeting held in Akwa Ibom State.
It added that the meeting deliberated on the Pan-Niger Delta Forum’s meeting with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
The agitators stated, “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 actualisation 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 by inordinate greed of the PANDEF as they did not involve the representatives of the agitating groups and youth leaders.
“We wish to let the Acting President 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 insisted on its demand for100 per cent control of the resources of the region.
It added, “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 blocks/wells should vacate by October 1st, 2017.”
It also said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should relocate its headquarters to any of the Niger Delta states and replace its 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 will include Niger Delta indigenes being paid same salaries with foreigners.
“We demand independence and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta, all the companies and businesses owned by the northerners/Yoruba in Niger Delta should be vacated before October 1, 2017.”
The group congratulated the Yoruba for demanding Oduduwa Republic and wished them success.
It stated, “We hereby call 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 is to ensure zero oil/gas production before October 1, 2017.
“We shall work to interface with more patriotic and zealous Niger Delta people to work out new collective approach that will ensure total freedom and complete control of our resources by any means necessary.”
The coalition said it would fight to liberate the region from the “shackles of neo-colonialism and rule ourselves under a Niger Delta Republic, with diplomatic and economic relations with the peoples of the South-East and Middle Belt.”
The groups told the Federal Government that it no longer recognised PANDEF under the present leadership, alleging that the forum was working against the interest of the Niger Delta people.
The Yoruba group, Afenifere, said it would carry out an investigation to know the people behind the quit notice before it would respond formally.
“We need to know whether some people are being used or whether the notice is real because we have met with Niger Delta groups and such an issue never came up. We would do our research first before responding formally,” the group’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, said.
The northern youth leader, Yerima Shettima, whose group gave a quit notice to the Igbo in the North, declined comment, when contacted by one of our correspondents.
Two northern elder statesmen, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, have urged the Federal Government to act fast and calm the fresh agitations by the Niger Delta groups.
Balarabe, a former governor of old Kaduna State, said, “The Federal Government should be straightforward, hard and just in dealing with this issue. This new development shows that it is almost the whole country which is involved in this subversion. If everyone is asking others to leave the country, then who owns Nigeria?
“We can deal with this case only when we have a strong, fair and just government. But this government is not. It is a failure of the government that is bringing up these agitations. Nigerians expected a lot of changes but we have seen nothing.
“If these people had businesses to do, what time would they have to be agitating? How long can the oil sustain us? From all international indications, the oil may finish in 20 years. These agitators are doing this because some nonentities and faceless northern youths gave the same ultimatum and the government is in a disarray.”
Yakasai, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Elders Council, said, “To the best of my knowledge, there had never been any conflict between the North and the Niger Delta. There is no context to situate this. There are talks between them and the government already.
“The government knows what to do. Nigerians believe the government is competent to handle this matter. But don’t bring the North into it.”