Barely two days after the mainstream Ijaw militant group, the Niger-Delta Avengers (NDA), announced its pull out from the proposed dialogue between the Federal Government and some prominent politicians and traditional rulers in the Niger- Delta region, other militant groups in the upland Delta region have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel the parley, and warned multi-national oil companies operating in the region not to attempt to re-open the Trans-Forcados pipeline (TFP).
The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, the group, which in recent times, has claimed responsibility for most of the bombing of oil and gas installations in the upland areas of the Niger- Delta, urged President Buhari to disregard the dialogue template of October 29, in the interest of peace, describing those constituting the channel of discourse as “doubtful and conduit of corruption.”
The Trans-Forcados trunk was the major delivery line that was bombed in the wake of the resumed hostility in the Niger Delta region by the militants, operating from Urhobo ethnic nationality of Delta State.
The group had rejected the choice of the foremost Ijaw leader and the Minister of Information in the First Republic, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, as the key negotiator in the dialogue between the militants and the Federal Government, describing him as a factional leader, and maintaining that ‘the Ijaws do not have monopoly of militancy.’ The militia group warned those they referred to as “abusers and pillagers” of the natural assets of the people of the region not to dare its Akuma Strike Team.
The spokesperson of the group, Gen. Aldo Agbalaja, who had been claiming responsibility for all the attacks carried out by the group in the past five months, on Saturday, threatened that the proposed October 29 meeting with the Federal Government would hit the rock and trigger more crisis in the troubled region.
“The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate has not been deterred from meting out justice to the abusers and pillagers of our people and our natural assets. We shall execute this ongoing campaign until the last vestige of our enemies (the heartless, conniving oil and gas companies and their criminal partners, the military) have been vanquished and evacuated from our land. “This can only be halted if these leeches listen to the voice of reason and seek to do right by our people and do so by taking the right steps.
We do not have much to say to the oil companies than to just dare you to reopen the Trans-Forcados Pipeline (TFP). We are aware you are experts at testing wills, especially as you believe that you have a military shield.
Please go ahead and restart the facility and see what will happen. “We thought we should continue to ignore the grand error being orchestrated by those who are responsible for the current parlous state of our region. These people seem to have succeeded in bewitching and railroaded the Federal Government into settling for a dialogue with them, in the name of the Niger Delta people,” Agbalaja said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, last week, invited the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PNDF), a group promoted by Chief Clark and some other Niger Delta leaders, to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting, Sunday Telegraph learnt, was meant to set the template for an acceptable dialogue with the stakeholders and representatives of the militant groups. But the Niger-Delta Black Emancipation Force (NDBEF), another group that operate from the Urhobo, has said that it will make good its threat to resume hostilities in the uplands, if Clark is not dropped from the negotiating team and the militants on the upland allowed to name their representatives in the negotiating team.
Spokesman of the group, Group Commander Ruben Epini, in a telephone interview with the Sunday Telegraph, accused the Ijaws of hijacking the proposed pan- Niger Delta dialogue team, undermining the upland people like the Urhobos, which is the fifth largest ethnic group in the country.
Meanwhile, ex-agitator and former Commander of Zion Gurrab, a Camp under the Niger- Delta Actualisation Force, General Emma Shobor, has tasked the Federal Government to quickly address the demands made by the militant groups in the upland, saying the dialogue with the militants must be all encompassing for it to be meaningful and bring about lasting peace in the region.