07 July 2016, Abuja — AS Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, struck again, yesterday, blowing up Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipeline at Eleme, Rivers State, President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable.
He also warned looters of the nation’s treasury to return their loot for peace to reign, saying government would continue to ask for the funds until they were eventually returned.
But the NDA claimed, yesterday, that the Federal Government was negotiating with fraudsters, distancing itself from recent violent attacks in the South-West. President Buhari, who gave the warning while receiving a cross section of Nigerians, most of whom were Muslims, in his official residence located within the Presidential Villa, Abuja to pay him sallah homage, recalled the famous quote of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on the indivisibility of Nigeria.
According to him, the task of keeping Nigeria as one united entity is a task that must be done.
He said: “We have to concentrate on the militants to try to know how many of them, in terms of groupings, try to get in touch with their leadership to try to persuade them to please give Nigeria a chance.
“I assure them that when we were very junior officers, we were told by our leaders, by the Head of State, who was Gen. Gowon, that to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done…we never thought of oil.
“What we were after is one Nigeria. Please, pass the message to the militants that one Nigeria is not negotiable. And I pray they better accept it. The constitution is very clear as to what they should get and I assure them there would be justice.
“Please persuade those who have plenty of money that do not belong to them to try and negotiate, return it in peace so that both them and us will be in peace, otherwise we will continue to request.”
Hunger in the land
Noting that there was hunger in the land, the President expressed optimism that the country would soon start feeding itself as the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and 13 states were working hard to ensure that Nigeria achieved self- sufficiency in the production of rice.
He said the programme had reinvigorated confidence in many farmers, who had already returned to the field.
Mess of the past administration
In his remarks, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo noted that the last one year of the administration was dedicated to cleaning the “mess of the past administration.”
He, however, expressed hope that Nigeria would be placed on a sound footing in the months ahead, even as he prayed God to give President Buhari the wisdom and strength to continue to work for the country.
Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, who led a delegation of most FCT residents, prayed for good health and God’s guidance on behalf of the President.
Those who attended the sallah homage included Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Primate of the Church of Nigerian (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh; Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar; National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongunu; Acting Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Others included Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), FCT Chapter, Israel Akanji and Dr. Kabir Adam of the National Mosque, Abuja.
Avengers bombs NNPC pipeline in Eleme
Meanwhile, Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, yesterday, shifted its hostilities from Delta to Rivers State, blowing up NNPC pipeline at Eleme leading to the Nigeria Liquefied National Gas, NLNG in the state, saying government was negotiating with fraudsters.
The militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying on its Facebook page, NDavengers: “By 3.00 am, yesterday, strike team 2 carried out a major strike, bombing NNPC pipeline at Eleme, leading to NLNG. You won’t stop us.”
The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, also yesterday, threatened to set seven flow stations ablaze in Bayelsa State.
This is as Egbesu Boys of Niger Delta, a militant group, said the ongoing warfare in the Niger Delta was an Ijaw fight for self-determination and not Niger Delta struggle as generally assumed by many.
Before the Rivers attack, NDA daringly posted at about 8.12 pm on its Facebook page: “Another major pipe about to go up in flames! Brass, LNG, Boom.” The group said any attack by the Nigerian Army might result in human casualties, stressing that it wouldn’t want to take life, hence it was not daring the Army.
“For every life you take, we take two. We have our reason, we play cool, we are ready, and we must cripple the economy. Boom, Share,” the group added.
Govt negotiating with fraudsters
On negotiation, the NDA spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, said: “We, the Niger Delta Avengers, have not negotiated with anyone. If they (Federal Government) have been negotiating with anybody, it clearly shows they had been negotiating with fraudsters.’’
We’re fighting Ijaw, not N-Delta struggle —Militant group
The Reformed Egbesu Boys in a statement by the General Officer Commanding, GOC, Intelligence, self-styled General Tony Alagbakereowei, said: “We wish to state that the current crisis is purely and truly an Ijaw self-determination quest involving grievous issues, which predate the current administration.