Joe Effiong, Uyo
Thirteen militant groups in the Niger Delta have threatened to rescind the ceasefire they earlier signed with the Federal Government’s amnesty programme over what they condemn as massive corruption in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Operating on the platform of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators(CNDA), the groups say the reason for cancelling the ceasefire agreement is due to what they consider to be the continued refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to accede to their earlier demands which include the sack of the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, as well as the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC which, according to them, reeks with massive corruption under Akpabio.
The CNDA accused the President of unwillingness to address the nagging issues of marginalisation of the Niger Delta in terms of appointments in the oil and gas sector, particularly the replacement of the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with somebody from the region.
The CNDA stated their grievance in a press release made available on Wednesday in Uyo,
The release was signed by leaders of the 13 groups namely General John Duku for Niger Delta Watchdogs, General Ekpo Ekpo for Niger Delta Volunteers, General Osarolor Nedam for Niger Delta Warriors and Major-General Henry Okon Etete for Niger Delta People’s Fighters.
Others are Major-General Asukwo Henshaw for Bakassi Freedom Fighters, Major-General Ibinabo Horsfall for Niger Delta Movement for Justice, Major-General Duke Emmanson for Niger Delta Fighters Network, Major-General Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate among others.
The release stated in part:
‘The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators has withdrawn its ceasefire and demanded for the immediate removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as well as the replacement of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC with a qualified indigene of the Niger Delta region.
‘The General Assembly of the Coalition also condemns the laissez-faire attitude of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari towards the continued sufferings and yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta.
‘It is also paradoxical for a government that prides itself as one that gives zero-tolerance to corruption to keep mum over series of allegations of corrupt practices involving APC stalwarts in various MDAs including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Office.
‘What the Buhari government is doing to the region is bringing us back to the period 2005-2009 which witnessed the rise of militancy in the region and which also laid the foundation for the establishment of the Amnesty Programme by the Yar’Adua administration to neutralize hostilities.’
The CNDA said they should not be blamed or held responsible for any unforeseen actions that may result from the President’s refusal to address the issues raised by them.