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‘Niger Delta Republic’: Inside story of how June 1 proclamation was scuttled •The alarm at Presidential Villa

By Emma Amaize on 16/06/2019

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•Niger Delta militants
•Niger Delta militants

There was conspicuous alarm at the nation’s seat of power, Presidential Villa, in Abuja when a gang of militants, operating under the streamer of Network for Niger Delta Republic Fighters, NNDRF, threatened to declare a sovereign Niger Delta Republic on June 1.

The threat, coming in the thick of the preparations for the May 29 inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for second term and the implication of its actualisation, coupled with the Boko Haram menace, was not lost on the Presidency.

Buhari, according to sources, immediately summoned his service chiefs to a meeting where they extensively discussed the threat.

The President, it was learnt, issued a stern directive to the service chiefs to not only prevent the militants or whatever they called themselves from making such a declaration, but also track them down.

Though there was a suggestion that the militants who issued the threat were not in the position to actualise it, a top government official said, “Government did not rule out the possibility and the directive was that service chiefs should take all necessary precautions”.

The group of militants had, in a statement by its ‘Director of Information’, Maxwell Dan, stated that the killings, kidnappings and banditry all over the country were a clear sign that the Muhammadu Buhari administration had failed the nation and incapable of protecting Nigerians.

It (group) accused Buhari and the Presidency of selective maltreatment of leaders from the region, alleging that the Federal Government had not inaugurated a single project in the Niger Delta in the last four years, despite the region providing the revenue the nation depends on.

“It is quite unfortunate that the story has not changed till today, and we are standing on that declaration; we are standing on the declaration of the sovereign state of Niger Delta and we will declare the Niger Delta Republic on June 1, 2019,” the statement said.

“It is a common fact that Nigeria has completely derailed from the path of peace, justice and progress as proclaimed by its founding fathers.

“They removed a Niger Delta son, Mr Mathew Seiyeifa, the most qualified Director of DSS without due process. Not satisfied with their cruel and selective onslaught against the Niger Delta people, they plotted again and removed our son, Justice Walter Onnoghen, from office on frivolous allegations without due process, neither was he given an opportunity of fair hearing.

“It is also unfortunate that after four years of this administration, there is no single viable project executed by the Federal Government in the Niger Delta despite the billions of naira accruing to the government from the resources of the Niger Delta as a result of the ceasefire in the region.

“The spilling of the blood of innocent citizens is becoming alarming and it is clear that the government cannot protect the citizens.

“Instead, they continue to make unguarded statements without recourse to the safety of the people. “It is a common fact the country is under siege and we cannot allow it to consume us”.

The statement also linked the militants’ anger to the invasion of the residence of elder statesman and Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark, by the police last year.

•Excerpted from a Sunday Vanguard report.

Source News Express

Posted 16/06/2019 10:33:21 AM





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