A coalition of renegade militant groups from the Niger Delta region yesterday declared their support for the ongoing protest against police brutality and poor condition of living in the country, declaring that they are ready to resume hostilities and engage the military if the demand of the protesters are not met by the Federal Government.
The militant groups under the aegis of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) also announced that they are ready to withdraw from the ceasefire pact with the Federal Government, engage the troops attached to the proposed Operation Crocodile Smile and resume attacks on some identified oil facilities in the region if issues of poor welfare, armed oppression and inequality in the standard of living between the citizens and political elites are not addressed.
In a statement signed by its leader, Johnmark Ezon Ebi the RNDA in addition “urgently demand for the release of the N98 billion gas flare penalty fund to the host communities(hostcom) through the leadership of the national chairman of hostcom, Dr. Mike Emuh and we also demand for the urgent release and implementation of the 10 thousand pipeline surveillance security contract job should be awarded to the hostcom and the 4 point demands of the hostcom.”
Ezon Ebi argued that the decision by the militant groups to support the protesting youths was based “on the open inequality in the distribution of wealth and development in the country. We, the agitating militant groups in the creeks, are lending our voice to the demands of our great resilience Nigerian youths based on the fact that Nigeria is a blessed nation full of abundance of so much untapped natural resources, wherefore we demand for a better Nigeria that the welfare of the citizens should be seriously taken into account.”
Going further, Ezon Ebi stated that “every region and its citizenry should first of all get 10 per cent in every revenue derived to the country sourced either from oil and other sources just to cater for the welfare of the citizens of this country before the revenue will be shared to the three tiers of government by the central government.
“While the oil producing communities will get 5 per cent frontline charge from the oil revenue and will be directly paid to the host communities and not to the governors of the Niger Delta states.”
The militant groups also pointed out that though they are engaged in correspondence with the Federal Government over the contentious issues raised by the nationwide protest march by agitated youths, “we want to put it on record that President Muhammadu Buhari is not to be blamed entirely for what is happening, but we blame some ministers handling sensitive areas of the economy and the National Assembly members.
“While the citizens are making sacrifices in the areas of adjusting to harsh economic policies of government, the aides of President Buhari and members of the National Assembly(NASS) are living large in opulence.
“Even the members of the RNDA made sacrifices to agree to a ceasefire in 2016 in order to allow the President Muhammadu Buhari led APC federal government to consolidate on its renewed policy of trust for his anti- corruption fight, economic growth, job creation and transformational policies of massive infrastructural developmental strides within the Niger Delta region and the country at large.
“But the National Assembly members and the political class are pushing the people to the wall and we are ready to fight back.”
The group warned that it’s leadership has directed its striking force units commanders to be on standby and maintain visibility on identified locations with study and locations striking methods.
“We may resume bombing and heavy destruction of major crude oil pipelines and their platforms including the major gas distribution pipelines from escravos linking Warri to Kaduna and Lagos.
“Also to be targeted are major target pipelines including the Chevron Valve platform located at Abiteye under Warri-South Local Government Area of Delta State and this is one of Chevron’s most significant platforms and it serves as a connecting point where all other Chevron Niger Delta platforms link up. And Shell underwater Forcardos 48-inch export pipeline which connect from Clough Creek through River Ramos Creek delivery line to the Forcardos terminal which is one of Nigeria’s highest crude delivery pipeline will be brought down.”