•We will honour peace initiative – Spokesperson
•New group threatens to blow up five terminals
•‘Why we attacked NPDC pipeline in Delta’
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Festus Ahon, Akpokona Omafuaire, Perez Berez and Ochuko Akuopha
Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, last night, in deference to Niger Delta monarchs and leaders, who asked them, on Friday, in Warri, Delta State, to stop blowing up oil pipelines, said it would cease hostilities in the region.
The cessation of hostilities, it said, was in support of “genuine Niger Delta stakeholders conference to engage the Federal Government” on the issues affecting the oil-rich region.
Spokesperson for the group, self-styled Brigadier Gen Mudoch Agbinibo, in an exclusive electronic mail to Sunday Vanguard inquiry, said: “The struggle has always been a pan-Niger Delta one. We also know the anti-Niger Delta elements are using some disorganised characters from the region to scuttle the efforts to restore the essence of our humanity: Resource control and self-determination.
“But we promise to fight more for the Niger Delta, if this opportunity fails. Therefore, we will give our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders that tacit support to go to the dialogue table with government and the multinational oil corporations whenever the enabling environment prevails.
“We are going to support any collective/negotiation team emerging from Chief (Dr.) Papa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders’ conference to engage the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The group welcomed the involvement of representatives from the home countries of the multinational oil corporations operating in the country and neutral international mediators in the conference “that will be focused on achieving the short, medium and long-term frameworks and objectives to de-escalating conflicts in the Niger Delta.”
The Avengers went on: “Most of the frameworks and objectives are clearly stated in various reports, declarations and recommendations of the likes of the Sir Henry Willinks minority rights reports of pre-independence Nigeria (1957-8), The Kaiama Declaration document, The General Alexander Ogomudia report, The Leedum Mittee headed, Niger Delta Technical Committee report and restructuring to fiscal federalism.
“We have resolved to reject any idea of the peace of our times; we want the peace with honor this time around! Our advice to our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders is that, whenever this inhuman project called Nigeria and her government is ready for dialogue/negotiations with them, this mandate should be treated with that care as driving a vehicle like that of a truck laden with fire.
“We are going to continue the observation of our unannounced cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta against all interest of the multinational oil corporations. But we will continuously adopt our asymmetric warfare during this period if the Nigerian government and the ruling political APC continues to use security agencies/agents, formations and politicians to arrest, intimidate, invade and harass innocent citizens, suspected NDA members and invade especially Ijaw communities.”
The group warned those using what it described as rogue platforms to inform their “paymasters that the days of doom are here.”
It said: “Those who sold and bought up interests from around the corridors of power cannot arm-twist the NDA with bandits, drug addicts, illegal bunkerers, bank robbers and disorganised characters to derail the Niger Delta struggle.”
Meanwhile, another group, which calls itself the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, warned that if President Muhammadu Buhari defied the monarchs and elders of the region, who have joined forces under one platform to end the crisis, they would blow up the remaining five export terminals in the country.
Spokesperson for the NDRC, W O I Izon-Ebi, in a statement, yesterday, said the group, in solidarity with NDA had resolved to “adhere to the genuine negotiation of the Niger Delta elders, otherwise it will lead the attack for the total destruction of the remaining five Export Terminals.”
Another group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, NDGJM, claimed to have blown up the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, pipeline in Delta State, 24 hours before the leaders of the region, for the first time, in one voice, asked militants to stop attacking pipelines, citing injustice as the reason for its action.
Monarchs, elders and leaders from the region had formed a pan-Niger Delta platform, on Friday, to take up the issues affecting the Niger Delta with the Federal Government. The membership is unknown at the time of this report.
A former Federal Commissioner for Information and Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, had convened the meeting.
The NDRC said: “It is so pathetic and provocative that the region that is sustaining 170 million Nigerians is so poor, while there are six exporting terminals in the country all located in the Niger Delta. Shell owns two while Mobil, Chevron, Texaco and Agip own one each. Shell also owns the Forcados Terminal, which is capable of storing 13 million barrels (2,100,300 m3) of crude oil in conjunction with the nearby Bonny Terminal.
“Mobil operates out of Qua Iboe Terminal in Akwa Ibom State, while Chevron owns the Escravos Terminal in Delta State and has a storage capacity of 3.6 million barrels (570,000 m3). Agip operates the Brass Terminal in Brass, 213 kilometers southwest Port Harcourt, and has a storage capacity of three million, five hundred and eighty thousand (565,700 m3). Texaco operates Pennington Terminal.
“Natural gas reserves are well over one hundred and eighty-seven trillion (2,800 m3 ). The gas is three times substantial as crude oil reserve. The biggest natural gas initiative is the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company, which is still in the Niger Delta.”
The group said the region was not supposed to be suffering with all these resources, adding, “ The big question about insincerity, justice and equity is how the N91 trillion gotten from the sale of crude oil since the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantity in Oloibiri of Bayelsa State and N51 trillion Goodluck Jonathan’s administration was stolen.
“How much did the northern elite steal? How much did our elite steal to acquire choice property all over the world? How much did they stash in Swiss banks and other safe havens all over the world? How much did they use to develop Abuja? How much did they use to develop Lagos? How much did they allocate to discover oil in the lake Chad Basin in the North?
“How much did they allocate to the Niger Delta region? How much went to the South-East? How come that the Niger Delta region that has been sustaining 170 million Nigerians is very poor, underdeveloped, impoverished and frustrated?”
The militant group said Buhari cried before Nigerians and the world to be given a chance to lead Nigeria to greater heights and prosperity and restore justice and equity.
“We believe that Nigerians and the world accepted him based on his antecedents as a former military general that was disciplined and honest, but he was sworn-in, he made Nigerians and the world to believe that he is for everyone and for nobody,”the group said.
“The Buhari we all know and Nigerians trusted is not the Buhari we are seeing today. He has surrounded himself with his brothers, his immediate family, the people of his faith as a Muslim, the people of the North as a northerner, as if there is no other region, faith, or competent people in Nigeria as a nation.
“He has not only promoted sectionalism but has also promoted tribalism and nepotism. The Niger Delta is at high risk because of oil exploration and exportation, pollution and degradation and contamination of the soil has cut short the lives of the Inhabitants of the region.
“Hunger is everywhere in the Niger Delta, poverty is 90 percent in the face of Niger Deltans, diseases everywhere, no good drinking water, with abundance of gas there is no light, but Nigeria is interested in generating power for other nations”.
‘Child of circumstance’
In a related development, another group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), which said it blew up Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, pipeline in Delta State, on Thursday, warned against repair work on the damaged pipeline pending when it gives permission to the company to do so.
Spokesperson, self-styled “Gen.” Aldo Agbalaja, in a statement, said: “The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) is not just about causing calamity and delighting in chaos. It is rather a child of circumstance, born to correct an injustice that has lived with us, from the time of our fathers.”
Giving details of the attack, it said: “At about 0200hrs of Friday, 19th 2016, the formidable strike team in charge of ‘Operation Zero’ brought down another major trunk/delivery line by NPDC in Udu Local Government Area (Urhobo) of Delta State”.