30 August 2016, Warri – The Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, has rebuffed President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to give Niger Delta militants the Boko Haram treatment, saying that he could win the battle with military operations, but would never win the oil war.
Spokesperson of the militant group, self-styled Brig Gen Mudoch Agbinibo, in a statement, also advised President Buhari to shed the garb of a stooge to the imperialists when he speaks outside the country, adding that with its unannounced cessation of hostilities, what was expected of the federal government was to put in place a legitimate dialogue to reform Nigeria.
Its words: “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to put away the garb of a stooge to the imperialists whenever he speaks outside Nigeria. We have listened carefully and halted hostilities in the Niger Delta; we expect a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria.”
“Dear president, what makes those countries (Japan, Germany, France, USA, Britain etc.) great is the ability of their governments to accommodate internal protestations and conflicts for the greater good of their nations over the years. Please stop presenting your government as pawn to the web of military industrialists’ complex, whenever you leave the shores of Nigeria,” it said.
NDA asserted: “Nigeria is not a one-man personal property; we must have these talks every time if this union must continue to work as one. The people of the Niger -Delta have been living here from time immemorial, so we have the secret of the terrain and survival of amphibious operations.”
“No amount of troop surge and simulation exercises will make you win the oil war, you can only win battles. You cannot apply the might of the state to restore the people’s confidence in your leadership when you cannot differentiate between genuine demands and being mismanaged by disorganized characters and tribal lords around you in your government that are playing the court jesters role, as well as counting the days that is left in your four years term.
“You can deceive the whole world, but we cannot be deceived by the so glamorized ongoing military operations in the creeks of Ijaw communities in the Delta coded “Operation Crocodile Smiles,” it stated.
The militant group went on: “The world should know that with your pronouncement in Kenya and your attitude to the military buildup in the Niger Delta, it is crystal clear that the military has nothing less than a pre-determined genocide in Niger-Delta and burn more already scared national resources to the pockets of those that have failed to locate the missing Chibok School girls.”
“Conclusively, dear President Muhammadu Buhari, please also tell those foreign nations that you are always at ease talking to, while refusing to listen to Nigerians that your troops are about to carry out extra judicial killings in the Niger-Delta in violation of article four of the Geneva Convention with “Operation Crocodile Smiles.”
“All sane minds know the meaning of crocodile tears, so by code-naming your military operation Crocodile Smiles’ only betrays your motives and attitude to the whole world about the Niger Delta question. The whole world will surely applaud you in The Hague when you leave office! This is not the Nigeria and the world of the 1980s and 1990s under General Sani Abacha and your watch,” the group added.
Meanwhile, the People Development Initiative, IPDI, has cautioned the President Buhari not to bomb Ijaw communities, arguing that they were not militant camps. Secretary of the group, Comrade Peter Luke, in a statement, Tuesday, said: “Again, our attention has been drawn to the heavy deployment of troops and military hardware in Ijaw communities in some parts of Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states.”
“Our public outcry becomes imperative as the Ijaw appears to be the main target of the deployment of military hardware and troops in Niger Delta region under the guise of fighting militants and other pipeline vandals in the region,” the group said.
“However, President Buhari and his trigger-happy military men are cautioned not to bombard Ijaw communities as often done in previous administrations. Ijaw communities are not Niger Delta Avengers camps, neither Avengers’ hideouts.
“Ijaw communities are neither a military bus stop, military park, garage nor military barracks to be visited on daily basis and that the continues harassment and arrests of innocent persons in such communities over inconsequential trumped up allegations is unlawful. The increased presence of military in Gbaramatu, Egbema and Burutu communities are giving us sleepless nights,” IPDI asserted.
It stated: “Besides, transporters and travelers have been harassed and intimidated on daily basis on the waterways in Burutu/Warri waterways and Gbaramatu communities; over 20 gunboats with dreaded soldiers are stationed on Burutu waterways, while random shooting is being perpetrated in Gbaramatu communities.”
“Similar raids are ongoing in Egbema and rivers and Bayelsa communities. We deserve military protection as it is done to communities in Boko Haram ravaged North-East and not to be intimidated and harassed unlawfully. Movement of local residents has been restricted on the waterways. Our people suffer untold hardship; life becomes unbearable with the military ongoing operations in Ijaw communities,” the group said.
Its words: “It is unfair to turn Ijaw communities to battle ground for Niger Delta regional struggle. Ijaw has no personal scores to settle with the federal government and does not deserve this demanding treatment. It is a surprise that Ijaw becomes a major target for a regional agitation of the Niger Delta region. Our people are trumped up and been arrested every day. The struggle is not Ijaw struggle.”
“It has to do with Niger Delta people asking for a right of monies produced by their solid minerals and natural resources in the country. Since the deployment and formation of operation crocodile smile, the military are apparently seen in only Ijaw communities, increasing the fear of locals of been possibly bombarded.
“The increased presence of the military with heavy equipment has made indigenes of such communities relocating to hinterlands. Ijaw communities have suffered heavily on both attacks of militants and military in the region.
“We are victims of recent militants’ attacks; we need to be sympathized with, as it is done to communities in Boko Haram strong holds. The military presence in the Ijaw communities has prevented the locals from going about their normal fishing and farming activities for fear of been humiliated and trumped up arrests,”
it said. IPDI urged the military “not to bomb Ijaw communities as they are not militants camps,” adding: “The deployment is needless as talks are already going betwen federal government and agitators as claimed by President Buhari in Turkey.”
It added: “Militarization of Ijaw communities will not provide the needed solution to the ongoing agitation of people of Niger Delta region. Previous governments have resorted to it, where many communities were bombarded and agitators killed, but it has not stopped the struggle.”
“The government often times threat to bombard the region and threat like using the Boko Haram treatment on militants will only escalate the situation and such will not any way address the current agitation in the region,” IPDI asserted