Posted by News Express | 25 February 2021 | 421 times
The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has appealed to militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters (SELF), not to toe the path of violence in their fight against the alleged marginalisation of the Niger Delta.
Also, social media commentators decried SELF’s threat to destroy public infrastructure in Lagos and Abuja in protest against Federal Government’s failure to deliver on its amnesty programme.
SELF had in a viral video posted on Tuesday by Africa Independent Television (AIT), complained that “no meaningful progress has been made” with the Ogboni clean-up project “because the Nigerian government has decided to place politics against the meaningful development of our people.”
A masked member of the group, who spoke in the video, added: “After accepting the amnesty pact, to date, there are no schools, no potable water, no light, no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy.
“We are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos. As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people, we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time, we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy.”
The group, however, nominated ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to mediate between it and the Federal Government.
But PANDEF, a group led by a former Federal Information Commissioner, Chief Edwin Clark, and erstwhile President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said even though it is in support of the issues raised by SELF, it abhors violence.
Its Publicity Secretary, Ken Robinson stated this in a telephone interview with The Nation.
According to PANDEF, the issues raised by SELF are ”true” and in line with its calls for attention to be given to the youths of the Niger Delta.
It said: “We had said the youth will run out of patience and that things cannot continue the way they have been going on. How can we explain that the region that produces the revenue for the country …is one of the highest in the unemployment rate in the country? And you know of the population in the Niger Delta, about 50 percent of the people are under 30.
“As it were, we are sitting on a time bomb. These young men are unemployed, there are no jobs. Oil companies have refused to relocate their oil companies to the Niger Delta. Rather what we saw recently, is the Federal Government relocating the corporate headquarters of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), from Lagos to Abuja; it flies in the place of common sense.
“The region is degraded economically. What we have today is a story of the struggle for survival because there are no jobs, livelihoods have decimated, our communities, our waterways and our environment have been degraded. And then, you see resources from the land making billionaires every day out of an industry that operates in our backyard.
“While the military have become forces of intimidation and oppression in the Niger Delta, intimidating our young people, carelessly and unnecessarily destroying our communities on flimsy excuses, no community in the North-East or Northwest that the bandits and terrorists are marauding and ravaging have been destroyed by the military.
“Sheikh (Ahmad) Gumi told the nation that the military is aware of the location of these bandits in the forests, but no forest has been decimated. But communities in the Niger Delta are being decimated. So these inconsistencies will not go on forever. The youth are running out of patience.
“But as a responsible organisation, PANDEF would denounce any act of violence because the adverse effect will be more on our people. We will continue to assuage our youths. They have every right to be angry in the face of these inconsistencies.”
Some Nigerians took also took to social media to decry SELF’s threat, saying it was coming at a time the country is grappling with banditry, kidnapping, killer herders, and terrorism.
Rotimi Olugade said, “This is the new profitable business in Nigeria now. Terrorism and banditry…. Soon, going to school will be outdated. God will have to step in and help us. It is well with Nigeria”
Emeka (@Real_Mekz) on Twitter said, “Their anger majorly is the poor implementation of the amnesty… The same amnesty Gumi is demanding that must be extended to all terrorists in the country even those from neighboring African countries rearing cows around”
Betty @bettybuzo said, “Niger-Delta Militants don’t warn before they attack. All I see is a group that wants to cash out just like the bandits. The moment bandits were paid ransom, I knew other groups will rise. FG didn’t know what they just started. Episode cash-out season.”
@AfomaAL said, “We already have soo much going on as a country, there’s only so much more insecurity and instability we can handle.”
@thiskwam “Niger delta militants threatening to destroy Lagos and Abuja is basically because they see the way this current administration is handling issues with bandits and terrorists.”
•Text (excluding headline): The Nation.
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