19 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, has stated that he and his group were not intimidated by fresh threats by militants in the region.
Clark, who was reacting to last month’s warning by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, that they would resume hostilities should the Federal Government recognise PANDEF forum as the mouthpiece of the Niger Delta people, advised Nigerians to dismiss the threat because the group doesn’t exist.
He said, “Those are laptop militants; they don’t exist. Four of them will sit down in their houses and be issuing threats. These threats have existed since November 2016 when we met with Mr. President at the Villa. Some of these faceless boys issued the same threat and since then, they have been issuing threats.”
The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers in coalition with nine other militant groups, last month vowed to plunge Nigeria into another economic recession if urgent steps were not taken to address issues facing the region.
The militants said they would resume attacks that will further deepen the nation’s woes if the Nigerian government continued to explore oil from their region without developing it.
RNDA in a statement by its convener and self-acclaimed “Major General” John Mark Ezonbi, also announced the lifting of the suspension placed on former Federal Commissioner for Information and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark.
Ezonbi said, “Nigerians should not celebrate the Federal Government’s claim that the nation had come out recession because it is too early as RNDA in coalition with other militant groups is ready to resume fresh attacks on oil installations across the region in a well-coordinated attack that will further deepen the nation’s economic woes judging from the fact that one of the indices used in measuring Nigeria’s outage from recession was crude oil.
“RNDA in coalition with nine other militant groups, led by Major General John Mark Ezonbi at a crucial meeting held at the creeks of Benin River expressed its readiness to carry out its threat to bring down crude oil productions to zero level, which accompanied its ultimatum to the Federal Government.
“RNDA has withdrawn the one- week ultimatum given to the leader of the disbanded PANDEF leader, Chief E K Clark and one Alfred Mulade, self- styled Coordinating Secretary of PANDEF, following pleas from well- respected stakeholders since they failed to come out to state categorically the militants that gave them the mandate to dialogue on behalf of the region.”
Clark also spoke on the heavy presence of security agents at the venue of PANDEF recent meeting.
According to him, “The Federal Government was responsible for the unfortunate incident. I say this because I contacted the Director of Operations, Department of State Services in Abuja, who confirmed that they received an order from above.
“They (DSS) did not give any reason. So, we are asking them to give us reasons because we are not enemies of the government, we are friends of the government and we are doing our best to ensure peace in the Niger Delta.
“We had the last meeting with the Acting President, then on the 3rd of August, which lasted for about three hours – from 7 pm to 10 pm. About 10 of our members attended a council meeting in Akure; that meeting was organised by the Ministry of Niger Delta.
“So, we don’t know why they should block our assembly. We want them to give us the reason why they did so. We are not a political body. Even a political body has the freedom to move, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. We were not doing anything against anybody.
“They should have come to ask us if they considered our action as a threat to the government. If they don’t give us an answer, then we will re-examine the situation.”