Niger Delta militant groups give northerners and Yorubas until Sept 11 to leave the region or attacks will resume

NORTHERNERS and Yorubas living in the Niger Delta have been given an ultimatum of September 10 to leave the region by a coalition of militant groups in response to a similar threat given to Igbos living in northern Nigeria by a coalition of Arewa youth groups.


Earlier this year, several northern youth associations told all Igbos living in the region to pack up and leave by independence day, in a move that has attracted widespread condemnation. Despite the fact that talks are ongoing to resolve the matter, the temperature appears to have turned up again after the Niger Delta youths issued a counter ultimatum.


In a statement signed by the convener of the Niger Delta Agitators  John Duku, Ekpo Ekpo of the Niger Delta Volunteers, Osarolor Nedam of the Niger Delta Warriors, Henry Okon Etete of the Niger Delta Peoples Fighters, Asukwo Henshaw of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters and Ibinabo Horsfall of the Niger Delta Movement for Justice, the groups said that they took the decision after a meeting held in Akwa Ibom State. In the statement titled, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators to resume attacks on September 10, 2017 Northerners, the Yoruba to leave Niger Delta before October 1, 2017, they said they also deliberated on the Pan Niger Delta Forum’s (Pandef) meeting with the acting president Professor Yemi Osinbajo.


 “After hours of careful deliberations, we unanimously resolved as follows. To commence operation zero oil in the Niger Delta from September 10, 2017 as a preparation for the actualisation of Niger Delta Republic. We also totally condemn the recent meeting between Pandef and the acting president, as we see it as another plot to deceive the Niger Delta people.


"First and foremost, the meeting was marred by inordinate greed of the Pandef leaders as they did not involve the representatives of the agitating groups and youth leaders. We wish to let the acting president know that those he met have no capacity and cannot solve the current crisis in the Niger Delta, therefore they cannot represent the militants or speak for the Niger Delta people,” their communique read.


In addition, the coalition insisted on its demand for100% control of the resources of the region. It added that the federal government should hand over all oil blocks owned by the northerners and Yorubas to Niger Delta indigenes.


It also said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should relocate its headquarters to any of the Niger Delta states and replace its group managing director with an indigene of the region. Furthermore, the group congratulated some Yorubas for demanding an Oduduwa Republic and wished them success.


 “We hereby call on all agitating groups to resume attacks/bombings on all oil/gas pipelines, especially the exporting lines across the Niger Delta region from September 10, 2017. This is to ensure zero oil/gas production before October 1, 2017," the communique added.


In addition, the coalition said it would fight to liberate the region from the shackles of neo-colonialism and rule ourselves under a Niger Delta Republic, with diplomatic and economic relations with the peoples of the South-East and Middle Belt. It also told the federal government that it no longer recognised Pandef under the present leadership, alleging that the forum was working against the interest of the Niger Delta people.


Pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, said it would carry out an investigation to know the people behind the quit notice before it would respond formally. Two northern elder statesmen, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, have urged the federal government to act fast and calm the fresh agitations by the Niger Delta groups.