Militants Give Army 48 Hours to Vacate Creeks, Threatens To Launch 6 Missiles
A coalition of militant groups, the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) has told the Nigerian military to vacate Niger Delta creeks within 48 hours or be ready for war.
“Nigerian military should as a matter of urgency, leave peacefully the Ijaw communities they are presently occupying under the guise of searching for the Niger Delta Avengers, within the next 48 hours or else we should not be blamed for whatever catastrophe that may befall such officers,” it said in a statement released yesterday.
In a statement issued by General Akotebe Darikoro (Commander, General Duties) General Torunanaowei Latei (Creeks Network Coordinator) General Agbakakuro Owei-Tauro (Pipelines Bleeding Expert) General Pulokiri Ebiladei (Intelligence Bureau), the militant group claimed that its fighter expert team that have returned after training overseas was going to test six missiles in the Niger Delta region from Tuesday June 7.
The statement taunted all Service Chiefs including the Minister of Defence to resign as the Federal Government security apparatus has failed.
Claiming that it has consulted with Ijaw deities, and they have been given the go head to carry out their operations, the group warned against any military aircraft or helicopter in the air as it would be targeted.
The statement read in part: “After extensive and exhaustive deliberation by all Commanders of various groups in Yenagoa, the heart of the Niger Delta struggle met last night and as part of our mission, we are going to test six of our missiles in the region. This is to show the Federal Government of our readiness of the American prediction. There should be NO helicopter flying around in the region as we will not guarantee the safety of such object.”
The group which claimed affiliation to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) accused President Buhari of plotting to disintergrate Nigeria.
“Mr. Buhari should know that we are also prepared and set for his proposal (final break up of the country). The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) which is the highest organ of all the freedom fighting body has finally endorsed the proposals.”
“We may also decide within the week to shut down the Nigerian satellite orbit, so that there will be no communication in the country if need arises,” the statement said.
According to the group, the struggle is not for human blood but against injustice “because our patience is running out on daily basis as Nigerian uniformed men are killing our innocent people continuously.”
But presidential adviser on Amnesty in the Niger Delta, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd) and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai have ruled out negotiations with militants.
Meanwhile, strong indications have emerged that close associates and allies of former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, have been put under surveillance by security agencies, following the spate of bombings of oil pipelines and other facilities by militant groups.
‘’The rate at which this issue of Avengers is going, we are looking beyond the surface of the so-called conditions rolled out by the avengers. Right now, there are feelers that some top officials of the past administration actually instigated the ongoing crisis in the Niger Delta region. I mean those who were trusted allies of the principal of that period.
‘’That is why we are not bothered about the blackmail that we are holding people illegally or refusing to allow suspects access to medicals,” a security source said.
In a related development, suspected militants have reportedly shot dead two soldiers and four civilians during an attack on NNPC Houseboat in Warri, Delta State.
The 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army announced this in a press statement issued by its spokesman, Capt. Jonah Unuakhalu in Benin City yesterday.
Meanwhile Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has appealed to militant groups to sheath their swords and employ civil approach to address issues.
“Pipeline vandalism that is going on is very bad for Delta State, we are suffering from pollution, our communities are affected, we are the greatest losers; our communities are impacted negatively.
“I want to appeal to our brothers who are involved in one way or the other in these vandalism to stop, we cannot destroy ourselves in order to make a point, there are more civil ways of channeling grievances which we should apply than vandalizing pipelines and endangering our people,” he said.
However, the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmuminu Kabir Usman, has described activities of the Niger
Delta Avengers as a plot to destroy northern Nigeria. He urged the Federal Government to take decisive action against the group.
This is even as some former militants and traditional rulers from the Niger Delta region, under the aegis of Concerned Niger Delta Leaders, yesterday, called on Niger Delta Avengers to drop their arms and embrace peace, as no development can be achieved in a crisis-ridden environment.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the leaders drawn from various states in the region, warned that activities of the new militants were threatening the unity of the country and equally called on other leaders to speak up.
A former agitator, Chief Mike Ekayama Loyibo who spoke on behalf of other elders of the region said: “We have watched with utmost dismay the manner with which the Niger Delta Avengers, a group with an aimless agenda has been destroying our common heritage and the economic mainstay of the country through the vandalisation of critical government infrastructures and oil installations. Some of the leaders who are ex-militants, however, called on the Federal Government to explore the dialogue option and downplay the use of military.
“We appeal to the military to take caution in the manner of operations in their efforts in fishing the vandals since the last operation at Gbaramatu Kingdom made innocent people t suffer. Innocent people, including children, old men and women have fled their homes.
“We must also state here that one of the root causes of the current economic woes of the country is brazen corruption, impunity and mismanagement of the country’s resources by previous administrations and it was against this backdrop that the President Buhari-led government is tackling corruption and restructuring the economy.”