*Embrace E.K. Clark’s Proposed Negotiating Team
21 August 2016, Warri — Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has formally declared the cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta region.
It, however, declared support for any emerging negotiating team that Chief Edwin Clark’s Niger Delta elders and stakeholders conference held last Friday might put in place to negotiate with the Federal Government and multinational oil companies on modalities for de-escalating conflicts in the region.
NDA, in a release signed by its spokesperson, Murdoch Agbinibo, said it will continue to observe the cessation of hostilities against the interests of oil companies but warned that it will engage in asymmetric warfare during the period should the Federal Government use security agencies to harass or intimidate its suspected members.
“We are going to continue the observation of our unannounced cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta against all interests of the multinational oil corporations, but we will continuously adapt our asymmetric warfare during this period if the Nigerian government and the ruling political APC continues to use security agencies/agents, formations and politicians to arrest, intimidate, invade and harass innocent citizens, suspected NDA members and invade especially Ijaw communities”, it stated.
The militant group maintained that its struggle has always been a Pan-Niger Delta one, stressing that it is aware that anti-Niger Delta elements were using some disorganized characters from the region to scuttle all efforts to restore the essence of their humanity – resource control and self-determination.
Reiterating its support for the outcome of Chief Clark’s conference held last Friday in Warri, the Niger Delta Avengers warned that the emerging negotiating team from the conference must be peopled by those that have genuine love for the development of the region.
It declared “We are going to support any collective negotiation team emerging from the Chief (Dr.) Papa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders conference to engage with the federal government of Nigeria, representatives from the home countries of all multinational Oil Corporations and neutral international mediators that will be focused on achieving the short, medium and long-term frameworks and objectives to de-escalating conflicts in the Niger Delta.
“Most of the frameworks and objectives are clearly stated in various reports, declarations and recommendations of the likes of the Sir.Henry Willinks minority rights reports of pre-independence Nigeria (1957-8), The Kaiama Declaration document, The General Alexander Ogomudia report, The Ledum Mittee-headed Niger Delta Technical Committee report and restructuring to fiscal federalism”, it stated.
The militant group said whenever the Federal Government is ready for dialogue or negotiations with the team, the mandate must be treated with care.
“We want the peace with honour this time around! Our advice to our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders is that whenever this inhuman project called Nigeria and her government is ready for dialogue/negotiations with them, this mandate should be treated with that care as driving a vehicle like that of a truck laden with fire”, it added.
NDA warned that it is prepared to fight more for the Niger Delta should the opportunity for dialogue fail but for now it is giving tacit support for the Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders to go to the dialogue table.
“We promise to fight more for the Niger Delta if this opportunity fails. Therefore, we will give our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders that tacit support to the dialogue table with the government and the multinational oil corporations whenever the enabling environment prevails”, it added.
The militant group also warned those using “rogue” platforms to disorganise the struggle that nemesis will soon catch up with them.
“We also use this medium to warn those using rogue platforms like the defunct so-called MEND, RNDA- Cynthia Whyte, especially Charles Okah who is franchising these internet-based banditry from his prison cell, through Victor Ebikabowei Ben (Boyloaf), Timipre Silva, Selekaye Ebikabowei, Ayirimi Emani, Michael Johnny, Governor Adams Oshiomole to please inform those their paymasters that the days of doom are here.
“That those sold and bought up interests from around the corridors of power cannot arm-twist the NDA with bandits, drug addicts, illegal bunkering, bank robbers and disorganized characters to derail the Niger Delta struggle”, it added.
*Sylvester Idowu – Thisday