Niger Delta militants threaten to shut down oil production if north disrupts Osinbajo restructuring plans

NIGER Delta militants have threatened to blow up oil pipelines and disrupt the flow of crude to northern Nigeria if the elite from the region derail plans by acting president Professor Yemi Osinbajo to restructure the country.


Over recent months, calls for the restructuring of the federation have grown louder in response to increasing ethnic tension that has fuelled secession calls. Across southeast Nigeria there have been calls for the recreation of the republic of Biafra that briefly existed between July 1967 and January 1970.


In response to the calls for secession, a group of Arewa youth associations called on all Igbos living in northern Nigeria to leave the area by October 1. faced with an explosive situation on his hands, Professor Osinbajo has begun consulting with the numerous ethnic groups in a bid to find a peaceful solution to the crisis and a way out of the impasse.


One suggestion that has been mooted is a restructuring and a return to the 1958 formula which was agreed by the nation's founding fathers at pre-independence talks in London. At a summit held at Lancaster House, it was agreed that Nigeria's federating units would control 50% of the revenue that accrues within their territory and the nation would be run using a fiscal federalism formula.


Between 1960 and 1966, Nigeria was run along these lines but in 1966, this approach was abandoned with the promulgation of Decree 34 by the then military head of state Major General Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi. Without the outset of the civil war, this unitary arrangement was consolidated and Nigeria has been run along those lines ever since.


With signs that Professor Osinbajo may seek to change things to address many concerns, there are fears that the elite across northern Nigeria will oppose any change. In response to this threat, militant group the Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC), warned that it would resist with the last drop of its members’ blood, further oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta if the north executes its alleged agenda of sabotaging Professor Osinbajo's plans.


NDRC spokesperson Woi Izon-Ebi, said: “For those with this sinister motive because they feel President Muhammadu Buhari is debilitated, we advise them to keep the money to fund their junta government because NDRC will resist with their last blood the use of the oil from the Niger Delta to fund their greed and perfidy. We call on all oil workers in the Niger Delta to vacate all oil facilities for their own safety.


"We also call on the operators of the Bonga Oil Field, LNG, NNPC, Port Harcourt Refinery and Warri Refinery to stop all forms of operation because our strike and defence team will be coming to hoist our flag of freedom as a people in all our critical infrastructures and assets of the Niger Deltans. We reiterate in strong terms the need for the restructuring of the country and enthronement of fiscal federalism before October 1, 2017."

He added that the NDRC and other agitators are aware of the plan by a section of the country to carry out a coup to truncate the leadership of Professor Osinbajo. However, Mr Izon-Ebi warned that there will be no exploration or exploitation in the Niger Delta if a coup occurs before the October 1, 2017 date.


“NDRC and the amalgamation of all freedom fighters with the 21st century youths of the Niger Delta from the south-south region of the country stand in solidarity with the people of the southeast. We will no longer accept the born to rule mentality of an ethnic group, which exploits others for the benefits of a few and reiterate that fiscal federalism with power devolved to the regions as the only panacea for peace in the country.


“The NDRC and the people of the Niger Delta can no longer tolerate vituperations of people like Ango Abdullahi and Junaid Mohammed, who are beating the drums of hatred and war. Our advice to the government and so-called owners of Nigeria is that there is no slave/master relationship in the Nigerian federation and there is no recorded Nigerian history whereby Usman Dan Fodio conquered the people of the Niger Delta and as such made the Niger Delta become inferior to the people of the caliphate," Mr Izon-Ebi added.

He called on all Ijaws and Niger Deltans scattered across Nigeria and West Africa to immediately come back to their fatherland.  According to Mr Izon-Ebi, it has been made known openly by one Alhaji Usman Bagagi of the Northern Elders and Leaders Forum that the north owns the oil and the Niger Delta region because of their landmass and population.