New militant group rejects planned cessation of hostilities

…Vows more violence against oil and gas infrastructure

*Niger Delta Militants.

*Niger Delta Militants.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi
23 August 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A militant group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), said on Monday that it was not part of the cessation of hostilities against oil infrastructure as announced by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

The group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Aldo Agbalaja, maintained that it will continue to carry out more deadly attacks until the right thing is done.

As proof of their continued stand-off with the authorities, NDGJM reportedly attacked a major delivery line operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) in Udu Local Council of Delta State on Monday. The group also warned that no repair should be carried out on the damaged pipeline.

In a statement obtained by our correspondent, the Niger Delta Greenland and Justice Mandate said: “The formidable strike team in charge of ‘Operation Zero’ brought down another major trunk/delivery line operated by NPDC in Udu Local Council area (Urhobo) of Delta State. We would also like to warn that no repair should take place on that pipeline pending when signals come from us.

“Peace cannot be realised in an unjust environment. Like we said from the onset, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate is not just about causing calamity and delighting in chaos, rather a child of circumstance, born to correct an injustice that has lived with us, from the time of our fathers.”

“We are in this struggle, not to create any acrimony with our friends and brothers in the riverine axis, who are equal citizens of this over-sapped region, but to call the attention of the world to our peculiar experience; that we, as people of diverse tongues and orientation, have kept faith with both the Nigerian government and oil multinationals over the years, by being peaceful, patient and law-abiding all through the years, but have in turn been abused and abandoned by these same supposed partners.

“They have all along taken our quietness and disposition for peace and choice for orderliness for granted. We have watched and seen that they only encourage lawlessness and violence.”
The group also berated Chief Edwin Clark as part of the rot plaguing the Niger Delta region, describing last Friday’s stakeholders’ meeting organised by him as a charade.

NDGJM, which is also an emerging destructive group, said it is still carrying on with its campaign against Nigeria’s oil and gas interests until the federal government does the right thing for the people of the region.

On last Friday’s stakeholders’ meeting convened by Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, the militant group maintained that he never had the mandate to hold the meeting or speak on behalf of the region but only for his ethnic group.

“He does not have the mandate to convene a meeting or speak on behalf of the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate is not in support of that so-called stakeholders’ meeting which, by the way, was populated by the same politicians who in the six to seven years of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, ruled with him.

“We see that meeting in Warri on Friday last week as an attempt by this same group, led by Clark, to creep back into national relevance”, it added.

The militant group said further: “We are neither moved by the stage-playing in name of the call for ceasefire by the Warri gang last Friday, nor by the acting up that followed in the supposed ceasefire declaration by the Niger Delta Avengers.

“As a matter of fact, the people who called for truce were the same set of people who put the Avengers together in the first place, therefore the hypocrisy of these people is becoming glaring to the world by the day.

“We also know that the charade called ceasefire is in the bid to collect more money from both the federal government and oil companies, to be shared between the founders and the boys of the Avengers.

“We hereby serve a notice that the so-called truce called by E.K Clark and co is not recognised by the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate as we do not see Clark as the leader of all Niger Delta, but of only the Ijaw nation”.

Meanwhile, more militant groups in the Niger Delta have reportedly announced a ceasefire, on a condition that security agencies should stop forthwith harassment and intimidation of their suspected members.

Following the Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark-led peace initiative in the region, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) had, at the weekend, resolved to end all forms of hostilities, including jettisoning its avowed plan to declare a republic.

The group’s spokesman, Mudoch Aginigbo, announced on Saturday that it was ending hostilities and would support the peace initiative.

Also following the Pan Niger Delta Coastal States Consultative Meeting convened by Clark, the Reformed Egbesu Fraternities comprising Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Red Water Lions and Egbesu Mightier Fraternity announced yesterday a 60-day ceasefire.

They commended the convener and all the traditional rulers who participated in the meeting which the militant groups said reviewed the bombing campaigns against critical oil infrastructure and realised they were hurting not only Nigeria but Niger Deltans as well.

The Spokesmen of the Reformed Egbesu Fraternities, General Tony Alagbakeriowei and Commander Ebi Abakoromor, however underscored the big place of the neglected region in the country’s political economy.

“We are conscious of the fact that the Niger Delta alone accounts for 70 per cent of the annual national budget, 67 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and 80 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange, yet the Niger Delta has nothing to show and remains plagued by serious environmental degradation and social dislocation of our traditional and customary rights,” the group stated.

It added that, “Between 1957 and 2016, over two trillion barrels of the finest quality and grade as well as 1.2 trillion SCF of gas have been exploited and exported from the Niger Delta, yet we remain the poorest in all ramifications among all the oil- and gas-producing regions the world over.

“Angered by the above basic facts and worsened by the realisation that over 90 per cent of the Oil Mining Leases (OML) are owned by Northerners and the South West indigenes, we commenced our symbolic protests in the creeks with a view to unilaterally declaring a sovereign state of the Niger Delta on August 1, 2016.

“Aware that our collective strength and efforts no doubt have had a very negative impact on the economy of the country, coupled with our commitment and determination to continue with our bombing of oil and gas infrastructure and the declaration of the Niger Delta Peoples Republic, we have been pressured and appealed to by the Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders Consultative Meeting convened by Chief Dr E. K. Clark and most importantly, the Niger Delta Dialogue Contact Group led by His Royal Majesty, King Alfred Diette Spiff.

“Nigerians from all shades of opinion pleaded that we come to the negotiation table. In view of the persistent pleas and appeals, we the Consultative Council of the Reformed Egbesu Fraternities unilaterally declare cessation of hostilities for a period of 60 days to enable the Niger Delta stakeholders to commence an all-embracing dialogue with the Federal Government.

“However, under this 60-day period, we call on all relevant security agencies to stop forthwith all military harassment and intimidation of suspected members of these and other organisations.

“We caution against the preconceived notion of the service chiefs of the armed forces who had persistently stated recourse to military option if dialogue fails. This, to the best of our knowledge, is an act of intimidation and a ploy to truncate the negotiation process if at all there is sincerity and commitment on the part of the Federal Government,” the group said.

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