- Threaten to declare independence on October 1
A coalition of militants in the Niger Delta on Friday called on the federal government to return all oil blocs owned and controlled by northerners to the people of the region. The agitators explained that their action was based on the ultimatum given by some northern youth groups to the Igbo to vacate the North within three months.
A statement by leaders of eight militant groups who made the demand said that the Niger Delta region shall declare its independence on October 1, 2017 and free itself from enslavement by the North.
The coalition comprises Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers, Niger Delta Peoples Fighters, Niger Delta Warriors, Bakassi Freedom Fighters, Niger Delta Movement for Justice, Niger Delta Fighters Network and Niger Delta Freedom Mandate.
The militant leaders are General John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs and Convener: Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators), General Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers) General Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors) and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters).
Others are Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters), Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice), Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network), and Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate).
In their statement, which was said to have been issued shortly after their meeting in Port Harcourt, the militant leaders warned all companies operating such oil blocs to vacate within three months.
“A coalition of the Niger Delta militants met today (Friday) in Port Harcourt to review the recent call by the Arewa Youth groups that the Ndigbo should vacate all the Northern states within three months.
“We see the declaration by Arewa Youths as well coordinated. The northern elders, leaders, political elite, security heads from the North and governors were fully aware of it.
“We demand 100 percent control of our resources. We demand that the Federal Government should hand over all oil blocks owned by the northerners to Niger Delta indigenes. All the companies operating in such oil blocks/wells should vacate within three months.
“The Federal Government should immediately relocate NNPC and all the offices that have to do with oil/gas sector back to Niger Delta states and an immediately replace the Group Managing Director with an indigene of Niger Delta.
“All northern indigenes working in NNPC and any other Board that has anything to do with oil/gas should be sacked with immediate effect.
“We demand an independent and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta. We are tired of living with the North under Nigeria. We are tired of the President’s sentiments to the Niger Delta people.
“The President can have time to receive the Chibok girls, but could not have time to meet with the Representatives of the Niger Delta agitators. Our money has been used to fund Boko Haram, a problem created by the Northerners in order to use it as conduit pipe to siphon the resources of Niger Delta.
“On October 1, 2017 we shall declare our independence come rain, come shine. We shall take our destiny in our hands and free ourselves from the slavery of the North as they are tired of one Nigeria.”
They maintained that all the companies and businesses owned by the northerners in Niger Delta should be vacated within three months, saying, “From 1st October 2017, we don’t want to see any northerner close to Niger Delta; any attempt to penetrate shall meet fierce resistance. This time, we are not going to play defend, but attack.”
They also called on all agitating groups to resume attacks/bombings on all oil/gas pipelines, especially the exporting lines across the Niger Delta region with immediate effect, adding that the measure was aimed at ensuring zero oil/gas production before October 1, 2017.
They said, “We also demand the Federal Government should immediately replace the Inspector General of Police with an indigene of the South West, the Director General of DSS with an indigene of South East, and the National Security Adviser with an indigene of South- South. The Speaker, House of Representatives should voluntarily resign and hand over to an indigene of the South-South.”