*State conditions for peace
*Say it’s too early to celebrate, lift suspension on Clark
*Insist PANDEF is disbanded, FG should discuss with PNDPC
By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
WARRI- THE Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, in coalition with nine other militant groups, last night, said it was too early for Nigerians to celebrate the Federal Government’s claim that the nation had come out of recession, as militants would resume attacks that will further deepen the nation’s woes if urgent steps were not taken.
The militants, who restated their two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to open talks with the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress, PNDPC, led by the former National Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil, Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, His Majesty Charles Ayemi-Botu, gave conditions to sustain the ceasefire while talks are ongoing.
They also announced the lifting of the suspension placed on former Federal Commissioner for Information and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, “following pleas and persuasion from well-respected traditional rulers and stakeholders of the region.”
“Nigerians should not celebrate the Federal Government’s claim that the nation had come out recession because it is too early as RNDA in coalition with other militant groups is ready to resume fresh attacks on oil installations across the region in a well-coordinated attack that will further deepen the nation’s economic woes judging from the fact that one of the indices used in measuring Nigeria’s outage from recession was crude oil,” Leader of RNDA and Convener of the coalition of militants, self –styled “Major General” John Mark Ezonbi, said in a statement.
The militants also warned: “The Federal Government should not take the two week ultimatum that is still counting, which we earlier issued to convey a fresh talk with the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress, PNDPC, headed by the paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, HM Pere Charles Ayemi Botu for granted and should blame itself for any harm done to oil facilities in the Niger Delta at the expiration of the ultimatum.”
Ezonbi asserted: “RNDA in coalition with nine other militant groups, led by Major General John Mark Ezonbi at a crucial meeting held at the creeks of Benin River expressed its readiness to carry out its threat to bring down crude oil productions to zero level, which accompanied its ultimatum to the Federal Government.”
Their words: “RNDA has withdrawn the one- week ultimatum given to the leader of the disbanded PANDEF leader, Chief E K Clark and one Alfred Mulade, self- styled Coordinating Secretary of PANDEF, following pleas from well- respected stakeholders since they failed to come out to state categorically the militants that gave them the mandate to dialogue on behalf of the region.”
“Nobody apologized to Clark as insinuated by Mulade in a national daily, rather it is Clark that has called different people and begging them to support his disbanded leadership of PANDEF,” the militants said.
“We wish to emphasize that Obong Victor Attah, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State has lost touch with reality in the region, and he is supposed to be hiding his face in shame for mismanaging the resources of the state under his eight years miserable rule, despite the huge federal allocations.
“It was Senator Godswill Akpabio who turned Akwa state around in terms of development; somebody like Attah should not have the temerity to dialogue for the region under any guise when he had the instrument of government to turn Akwa Ibom to paradise, but he did not.
“It is only a matter of time they will all pay for their sins against the Niger Delta region, Attah and those old brigade in PANDEF misused resources earmarked for the development of the region when they occupied the offices since the early 70s that would have added value to the face of the long neglected region more so PANDEF is no longer the authentic voice to speak for the region but PNDPC,” they said.
RNDA and others stated: “PNDPC has been given the mandate to discuss and dialogue on behalf of the Niger Delta region with the Federal Government because of the credible persons drawn from all parts of the region, no other group such as PANDEF is recognized to meet with the Federal Government.
Caution Kachikwu, Uguru
“RNDA also wish to remind the Ministers of Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and Niger Delta, Usani Uguru, that militants are watching their activities because it was obvious that they were taking the ceasefire agreement for dialogue for granted, they cannot continue to fool the people by playing politics with the destiny of the region, how can they hold what they called Niger Delta Council meeting in Ondo State
“We do not want to see meetings and conferences, but practical development projects funded with our oil money, enough of all their ‘fairly tales’ conferences without implementation.
“Kachikwu would soon explain the proceeds gotten from crude oil sales which increased to 2.2 million barrels daily, following the ceasefire agreement reached. It is shocking that Kachikwu and Uguru cannot pinpoint development attracted to the region. Is the change mantra of the Buhari administration for just for some sections of the country? If they continue with their selfish attitude, both of them will be declared as enemies of the Niger Delta and would be treated as such,” the statement said.
The militants noted “that the federal government has put deliberate policies to kill the economy of the Niger Delta as nothing meaningful is happening , while they continue to use our oil wealth to develop other areas, particularly the north,” warning, “we cannot continue to sit down and watch, we must act and the time to act is now.”
They, therefore, demanded that the federal government should as a matter of urgency act quickly and address the following issues.
*The federal government should kick start the academic take off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko this year
*The Federal government should issue the 10 licenses for the takeoff of the Modular Refineries to HOSTCOM without further delay.
*The federal government should immediately mobilize the contractor handling the East West Road, which links the entire south- south region to other parts of the country which is presently in a very deplorable condition.
*The federal government should immediately award the pipeline surveillance contract directly to HOSTCOM as it would provide employment for the teeming youths of the region.
*The federal government should immediately release the gas flaring penalty funds to oil producing communities in the region through HOSTCOM.
*The federal government should urgently address the recent appointment of senior management staff of NNPC as clearly outlined in the Federal Character Commission
*The federal government should urgently upgrade the Sea Ports in Burutu,Calaba Koko and Look as they have been abandoned for many years to frustrate the economic growth of the region.
*The federal government should commence work on the EPZ project in Ogidigben and the Gbatamantu Deep Sea Port and immediately carry out repair works on the very bad Ekpoma Auchi Lokoja Express Road, the condition of the road has made the movement of goods and services very difficult for the people.