The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, which halted attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta region, last year, following the appeal of the Niger Delta elders and leaders, renounced the ceasefire, yesterday.
Strangely, the group in a statement by the spokesperson, self-styled “Maj-General Murdoch Agbinibo, disowned the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, led by the former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA.
It said its suspended Operation Red Economy would resume in the next few days, warning, “our next line of operation will not be like the 2016 campaign, which we operated successfully without any casualties.
This outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody, as we shall crush everything we meet on our path to completely put off the fires that burn to flair gas in our communities and cut every pipe that moves crude away from our region.”
Contacted on the termination of ceasefire and giving up on PANDEF, yesterday, the national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, said he was just hearing the information from Saturday Vanguard and would, therefore, require sometime to appraise the statement before making comments. Another PANDEF leader, HRH Anabs Sara-Igbe, who volunteered comments, said, “PANDEF does not stand for violence, we stand for peace and dialogue and appeal to youths of the region to allow peace reign.”
He said the federal government should hold the rival group, which had shown penchant for violence for any disturbance in the region.
A source informed Saturday Vanguard that militant leaders held a meeting on Friday night,
to deliberate and narrow their areas of disagreement, but as it seems, they failed to harmonize their positions.
We warned PANDEF
NDA stated: “To the elders of the Niger Delta, PANDEF, we warned you against the antics of the Nigerian government, yet you requested a chance to broker a new vision for our people.
We told you and the rest of the world that the Nigerian government is only interested in our oil wells and not our well being, yet you told us the signs are different this time around.”
“Instead of allowing us to continue our quest to bring the Nigerian economy to our targeted zero -daily production, which recorded huge success; you threatened us with Tompolo to stop the struggle. Out of respect for elders and not to the threat of Tompolo, we adhered to the call and halted our strike actions hoping that you (PANDEF) would keep your own side of the bargain.
“The question to Tompolo and the PANDEF is to tell us what progress they achieved since we heeded your retrogressive call, to whose benefit is the move by Tompolo and the Niger Delta elders to impede a mission sanctioned by our ancestors and the Almighty?” the militant group asked.
It added, “Tompolo, we want you to know that we never started this struggle with the intent of living forever but with our lives already offered for a sacrifice for a better Niger Delta.
We invite you to come after us with your total force as we are no longer ready to heed uninspiring advice from you or anyone else in the Niger Delta region.”
NDA asserted: “We have since lost faith in you, Tompolo and PANDEF and have vowed never to heed any such retrogressive call or advice from you in the future.”
“The recent disruption of the PANDEF’s fourth general assembly by the Nigerian government is the final evidence we needed to conclude that the Federal Government of Nigeria reserves not even an iota of respect for you (Tompolo) and the Niger Delta elders.
“As the position of the Nigerian government is emphatically made known to the Niger Delta people that its only interest remains the flow of oil from our region to the Central Bank of Nigeria, we want to make it known to the PANDEF and the Nigeria government that our call for halt on “Operation Red Economy” is officially over,” the group said.
NDA further said, “Some of us can still remember those good old days in Camp 5 when you (Tompolo) were the general of generals. You told us (the young combatants) then, that ‘we are the future of the total emancipation of the Niger Delta, and that we should also know we are not fighting for ourselves, rather we are fighting for the next generation.’ “
“Sometimes we wonder where that charismatic general of generals has gone to? We bet, only you can answer that question. We still believe in you, but we are sorry, as you said 10 years ago ‘we are the future of the total emancipation of our people’; and we have since chosen this path and will never back out until the total emancipation of our people is achieved.
“We have just concluded head count of our operatives across the country; we are pleased to announce that all our operatives are intact and focused; ready to implement instructions from the high command of the NDA in the next few days,” the group said..
Tompolo disowned NDA last year
Former militant leader, Tompolo, at the height of the attacks, last year, by NDA, denied any link with the militant group, saying that despite his travails, he had renounced violence and would not want to be associated with it anymore.
RNDA are fraudsters
On the new militant group, RNDA, which threatened to resume hostilities if the federal government continued discussion with PANDEF, the spokesperson said, “The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers wishes to bring to the notice of the International Community and the general public that there is no such militant group with the nomenclature, Reformed Niger Delta Avengers.”
“It is not operated by any of our operatives, but money making tool in the hands of certain disgruntled Niger- Delta political jobbers in connivance with top government functionaries of the Nigerian government.
“The intelligence unit of the NDA has gathered from our sources in the Nigerian government that the operatives of the said Reformed Niger Delta Avengers are some fraudsters from the Niger Delta region working with government functionaries…,” the group pointed out.
NDA alleged that the fraudsters (names withheld) had vowed, “To stop at nothing until they help the Nigerian government to jeopardize the sincere efforts of the Niger Delta people at economic, social and political freedom.”
Alert to Nigerian government
It warned, “We are aware of Egina FPSO built in South Korea by Samsung to be operated by Total Nigeria has started its voyage to the oil fields of the Niger Delta to further exploit us while our concerns are left unattended. We are presently tracking and monitoring its movement; and it shall not operate successfully amidst the return of the fury of the Niger Delta Avengers.”
Message to the oil companies
“Our next line of operation will not be like the 2016 campaign which we operated successfully without any casualties. This outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody, as we shall crush everything we meet on our path to completely put off the fires that burn to flare gas in our communities and cut every pipe that moves crude away from our region.
“We assure you that every oil installation in our region will feel the wrath of the Niger Delta Avengers,” the militant group asserted.
Evah urges NDA to rescind plan
Coordinator of the Ijaw Monitoring Group, IMG, Mr. Joseph Evah, who blamed the Federal Government for the decision of the dreaded militant group to resume hostilities, however, asked the militants to uphold their ceasefire and listen to the advice of PANDEF leader, Chief Clark.
He said: “The International Community and IOCs should hold the Federal Government responsible if there is any restart of hostilities by NDA because the government refused to implement the 16-point demand made by PANDEF.
“The Avengers listened to Niger Delta elders, who asked them to halt attacks on oil installations to enable the leaders discuss their grievances with government. Government held meetings with PANDEF, but since then, has failed to implement decisions reached with the group.
“We are begging the Avengers not to go ahead with their threat to resume hostilities, as that will not help the region. It will result to the same federal government using soldiers to disrupt the life of the people.
“What some people in the presidency have done was to raise discordant voices in the region, and that we have seen with the so many groups scrambling for relevance to cause confusion and introduce divide and rule in the region.
“They know that once there is crisis, they will hide under it to say that they cannot develop the region, and that is what they want to achieve. So, I appeal to the Avengers to sheathe their sword and listen to Chief Clark and other leaders of the region,” he said.