Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, weekend, avowed that it owed no authority, tribe or political group any apology for their legitimate agitations for true federalism, saying it was the responsibility of the central government to manage them, rather than overheating the system with fierce responses (read military action).
The militant group in a statement by its spokesperson, self-styled Brig General Mudoch Agbinibo, said: “It is disgusting for President Muhammadu Buhari and his tribesmen to equate the revenue priorities of the Niger Delta region with regional comparisons of development in Nigeria.” “For crying out loud, since 1914 our resources have been the essence of this union called Nigeria before crude oil was discovered. The amalgamation of southern and northern Nigeria was for administrative convenience because the north was not viable economically.
The idea of bundling through bills like North East/West Development Commission is fraud, hypocrisy and bigotry by President Muhammadu Buhari,” it said. Avengers stated: “President Muhammadu Buhari should think like a leader with the advantage of his age to see the genuine and legitimate agitation with the right attitude to pacify our people. We have been raped for too long, General Muhammadu Buhari should face the reality of the Niger Delta question.” “ He can stop listening to ideas and advice of the agitation as political system support structure that his tribal warlords and conflict merchants have hypnotized him to believe as the face of the Niger Delta struggle. “Niger Delta is part of Nigeria federation that he governs, since he is the president, he will always need the cooperation of our people to share or allocate our resources to other component units,” the group said.
It noted: “The daylight robbery and allocation of proceeds of our natural resources must stop. When he was the chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), as General Sani Abacha henchman, he exhibited this bigotry by focusing attention to his region, which he never pretended about by emphasizing 97 per cent versus 5 per cent development and appointment structure that he has exhibited again in his fifth coming in national affairs.” “He never pretended to be ethnic and religious bigot; the only things he pretends about are his roles in the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta and Nigeria in the over three decades he has being in government – 1976, 1978, 1983/4, 1993/98 and now. “He also pretends over the deliberate politicization of the Niger Delta struggle by those tribesmen and conflict merchants he has abdicated the responsibilities of governing Nigeria to since May 2015.
He has forgotten that on his assumption of office, peace has been sustained in the region not through political party and structure support approach but the involvement of genuine stakeholders and the people of the region,” the group stated. It added: “If Mr. President will come down from that his ethnic iron-horse to engage in discussion with our people on October or any date he likes, the issues are not new. We want to control our resources and pay appropriate taxation to the central government that is fiscal federalism in practice and in principles.” “ The government, representatives of the multinational oil corporations, neutral international observers and elders as well as stakeholders should guide themselves with the following documents: the Sir Henry Willinks Commission Report of 1958, The Ogoni Bill of Rights, The Kaiama Declaration document of the Ijaw Youth Council, The General Alexander Ogomudia Committee Report, The Niger Delta Technical Committee Report which contains the Pre- amnesty issues and agreement with the government of Nigeria in 2009.
“Then, the framework can be drawn for achieving the short, medium and long term objectives toward the restoration of our land and reparation for the people that have been raped and colonized since 1914,” the Avengers asserted. They declared: “No amount of military action and surge will stop us from halting the flow of the oil from our land to sustain Nigeria.
This is our land that we are the masters of its battlefields.” “We have warned earlier that we want the “peace with honour, no more peace of our time”. Any meeting with this government should be seen as driving a combustible vehicle laden with fire to safety; it must be driven with carefulness,” they said.