26 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Itsekiri leaders in Warri, Delta State has warned the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, the militant group that had claimed responsibility for the series of bombings on oil installations in the state to stay off Itsekiri land in their agitation.
Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILoT), an umbrella body of the Itsekiri ethnic group, gave the warning in a statement signed by the secretary, Mr. Edward Ekpoko and two other.
“We watched with surprise and anger the re-emergence and/or increase in the insurgency in Warri area, in particular, the Niger Delta in general by a group, which calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers.
“Its goal as claimed, among others, is to cripple the Nigerian economy if their selfish demands are not met. True to its promise between February and now major oil and gas pipelines have been vandalised bringing down our oil production to 1.65 million b/d as against the 2.2million b/d estimated in the 2016 budget, the lowest in 22 years”, they said.
Following these unpleasant developments, the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought said it met and resolved that they were not part of the renewed insurgency in the state and the region.
The Itsekiri ethnic nationality condemned the criminal activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and dissociated itself from the demands of the group.
“We can say that no Itsekiri person is a member of this nefarious group and we call on all our sons and daughters to assist the military and other law-enforcement agencies in arresting these criminal activities,” the leaders asserted.
According to them: “Niger Delta Region is not the home to Ijaw ethnic nationality alone; several others including the Itsekiri, Urhobo, Bini, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Anang, Efik etc. are occupying it”.
They observed that most of the vandalised oil and gas facilities so far were on Itsekiri land and warned those behind the heinous crime to stay off Itsekiri land.
The Itsekiri leaders stressed that the agenda of the group was selfish and self-serving noting that it does not have the support of the well-meaning people of the Niger Delta.