- Ask FG To Take Threat By Militants Seriously
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has said there was no agreement between it and the federal government over a plethora of issues raised on Niger Delta’s development during a recent visit of its leaders to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Villa, Abuja.
The group also asked the federal government to take seriously the recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to commence bombing of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, noting that urgent steps should be taken to address the myriads of problems in the region.
The leadership of the INC made this clarification following the recent public statement made by President Buhari to the effect that the NDA’s threat to return to trenches in the creeks was “unnecessary” because their demands have been addressed by the federal government during the meeting between the President and the group as contained in a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
It would be recalled that the NDA, an agitator group based in the Niger Delta region had warned the federal government that it was set to mobilize its troops back to the creeks to bomb oil facilities in the region, saying that the federal government has refused to take necessary steps to develop the region.
“It is disheartening that despite being the economic backbone and having resolved to maintain the peaceful environment for the smooth operations of the oil multinationals whose proceeds the country cling unto for economic survival, the Niger Delta and the South-South remain the most underdeveloped, with our needs and interests undermined by the failed Nigerian State.
“The Nigerian government has continued to pay deaf ears to our demands and the rising challenges in the country. We are back with Operation Humble. We shall spare no single oil installation within our range of strategic targets marked for destruction in the coming days”, NDA had warned.
Reacting, the federal government said that the agitators’ threat has become unnecessary. The President said he has addressed the demands of the Niger Delta people during its meeting with the leadership of the Ijaw National Congress, (INC) in the Presidential Villa recently.
Buhari’s spokesman also reproduced part of the President’s speech at the meeting with the INC.
“I particularly note your ten-point demand to the Federal Government in your inaugural speech and assure you that this administration is frontally addressing them,” The New Diplomat had earlier quoted the President as saying in the statement by Adesina.
However, responding to the federal government allusion that an agreement was reached with Niger Delta leaders represented by the INC, the National President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in an interview said that the group went to the President to intimate him with the demands of the people of the Niger Delta and, particularly, for the government to urgently intervene to avert such actions as contemplated by the NDA.
The INC leader reminded the government on the promise made by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio with the MEND leader, Tompolo in Oproza last month, noting that the forensic audit must not be used as a basis for continuous delay of the inauguration of the NDDC board.
He said: “Our position is that, what are the issues, why would Niger Delta Avengers want to bomb oil installations. Is it not the same issue of underdevelopment and the NDDC? There was an agreement at the Oporoza meeting and we believe the federal government should go ahead to fulfill its agreement.
“That is the only way to avert any problem. We did not go there to accept what the federal government told us. We made our demands and he responded. We were not given the opportunity to respond. One of the reasons we went to Abuja was to avert situation like this because we believe by discussing, a lot of issues can be resolved.
“The issue of forensic audit cannot be the reason why the NDDC board cannot be inaugurated. I think the federal government should listen particularly when you made a minister say do this for the region. The Federal Government should take Avengers threat seriously.”