The renewed militancy in the Niger Delta may soon be over, as the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, last night, accepted it would cease hostilities in the region.
The Avengers said it was backing down on its attack on oil facilities because of pleas from Niger Delta monarchs and leaders, who asked them, on Friday, in Warri, Delta State, to stop blowing up oil pipelines.
According to the militant group, the cessation of hostilities was in support of genuine Niger Delta stakeholders conference to engage the Federal Government on the issues affecting the oil-rich region.
It however attached conditions to its offer, stating, “We are going to continue the observation of our unannounced cessation of hostilities in the Niger Delta against all interest of the multinational oil corporations. But we will continuously adopt 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.”
The NDA in a statement by its spokesperson, ‘Brigadier Gen’ Mudoch Agbinibo, said “The struggle has always been a pan-Niger Delta one. We also know the anti-Niger Delta elements are using some disorganised characters from the region to scuttle the efforts to restore the essence of our humanity: Resource control and self-determination.
“But 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 go to the dialogue table with government and the multinational oil corporations whenever the enabling environment prevails.
“We are going to support any collective/negotiation team emerging from Chief (Dr.) Papa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders’ conference to engage the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
The group also said the involvement of representatives from the home countries of the multinational oil corporations operating in the country and neutral international mediators in the conference was a welcome development.
The statement further said: “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 Leedum Mittee headed, Niger Delta Technical Committee report and restructuring to fiscal federalism.
“We have resolved to reject any idea of the peace of our times; we want the peace with honor 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”, he stated.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews
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