Over 24 hours after the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) declared it was resuming hostilities and would compromise oil facilities in the region, a group claims that all the militant groups in the region have met and decided to cripple oil installations there.
They spoke as the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) has also given a tacit support to the NDA and heaped the blame for the new development on the Federal Government.
The statement by the so-called coalition of militant groups reads: “All the militants groups in the Niger Delta met today (Saturday) and we have issued a directive that we should go back to our different states, to do everything possible to cripple all the (oil) installations.
“We are going to resume attacks and this time around, it is not going to be business as usual. We have already agreed that when we move in, it will be ‘Operation No Mercy’. Anything we find on our way, there would be no option but to crush it.
“It is not only the installations; we are also going to shut down the offices of each of the oil companies. It is high time the Niger Delta people worked together and declared a Niger Delta Republic. We will be on our own and manage our resources.
“We had already embraced peace. We had already announced ceasefire before the Operation Crocodile Smile came. The exercise (Operation Crocodile Smile) was done in collaboration with top oil firm directors.
“The Operation Crocodile Smile was unnecessary because, there was no crisis in the Niger Delta. But because we insisted the oil companies should relocate their headquarters to Niger Delta before October, the oil companies connived with the cabal in government and they brought the Nigerian Army to the Niger Delta to intimidate us.
“The directive on the relocation of oil companies’ headquarters came from the Vice-President, but they (oil companies) refused to relocate. Government should have used the money spent on Operation Crocodile Smile for the development of Niger Delta.”
The grouse of the groups, which declaration is sending shivers across government agencies and residents of the region, stems from what it says is government’s lack of commitment to the agreement it reached with the Chief E. Clark PANDEF committee of Niger Delta leaders.
Business analysts are already lamenting that if government did not find a way round the latest threats, the economy, which has been struggling to bounce back might slump and worsen the plight of the average Nigerian.
The President of the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Mr. Pereotubo Oweilaemi, in statement on Saturday blamed government for the brewing crisis.
“The Government took the ample opportunities it had for granted thereby making the Niger Delta people to believe that Buhari like his predecessors, is only interested in tapping the oil, using one fake peace initiative to deceive the people.
“Even if I the IYC President said the youths should exercise patient, I cannot control the anger of the entire Ijaw Youths not to talk of the whole Niger Delta region with different ethnic groups.
“I don’t know what the Nigerian state considered the threat but to us in the Niger Delta, it is a response to the high handedness of the present Government. At heat of the crisis last year, the elders of the region under PANDEF intervened by appealing to the militants to sheave their swords.
“Their intervention resulted in a period of lull which was accompanied with by several promises by the Federal Government. As we speak, none of the promises has been implemented.
“The Government promised to order the oil companies to relocate their head offices to the region but the House of Representatives through the South West and the Northern majorities voted against it.
“The Maritime University at Okerenkoko which is very dear to us, was promised to commence academic session in October last month but nothing has happened up till date. What the Government does is to scrap the already existing Maritime College of Science and Technology at Okoloba in Bomadi Local Government Area.
“Again, the Government also promised to engage the artesanal refinery operators through the establishment of modular refineries but what we hear was that the Government has given 50 operational licenses to people outside the region to operate the refineries.
“Is this Government really care for the people? Instead of the Federal Government to commence the process of development in the region, it sent battalion of the Nigerian armed forces to carry out provocative military drills which have inflicted pains on our communities.
“Several Ijaw communities, especially in Edo and Ondo States were reduced to rubble, while innocent people lost their lives to the invasions by the military. The whole thing looks like the region is under military siege which may lead to genocide.
“Nobody is happy with the way the Government is treating the people since the militants have declared a unilateral seize fire in September last year. IYC has already alerted the world that the atrocities the Buhari led-military is committing in the creeks at a time the region is peaceful is an invitation to anarchy. We are not surprised if militants threatened to resume bombing of oil facilities.
“The last straw that seems to have broken the camel’s back is the humiliation the elders are facing in the hands of the present Government. Buhari allowed miscreants to infiltrate his Government who are using the institutions of the Government to frustrate the efforts of the elders under PANDEF in bringing peace to the region.
“The recent invasion of PANDEF’s meeting in Port Harcourt by some overbearing Nigeria Police force ought to have been promptly queried by the President but he kept mute because he perhaps, have endorsed their actions.
“Considering the recovery of the economy from its comatose state, I appeal to the Federal Government to implement all its promises to the region in order to avert the looming economic Holocaust. The militants’ threat should not be taken lightly.
“However, I advice that the Government should not think of using force on the militants. That will be the greatest undoing of President Buhari. The only way to halt the impending hostilities in the region is for the Government to address issues headlong.”