N’Delta militants warn about fresh attack
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GROUPS of Niger Delta militants under the umbrella body of Continuous Emancipation of Niger Delta (CEND) have warned foreign embassies in Nigeria to evacuate their citizens from the country as they will not be spared once they commence attack on oil facilities.
The group warned the attacks would commence soon, except the Federal Government satisfy demands made by the South-South governors during the governors’ recent meeting with federal government delegation led by Ibrahim Gambari, the chief of staff to the president.
Some of the demands include true federalism, restructuring, resource control among others. There are also concerns over purchase of Zamfara Gold by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), a situation the South-South leaders widely criticised.
The agitators further tasked the federal government to pay the 13 per cent oil derivation benefits directly to the oil and gas producing communities.
“We are prepared to carry out our threats to the letter without any iota of fear as we have the capacity to bring the oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta to rubbles if our demands are not met.
“In the coming days, there will be series of attacks on major oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta simultaneously because they are well prepared to push the pawn to the other side of the board without fear and harassment from security agencies and the federal government,” the demands read in a letter to the Punch.
“We want to warn all foreign nationals that this is the time to leave the Niger Delta region, as the attacks which will be total in the coming days, will not spare them. All foreign embassies should as a matter of urgency evacuate their citizens.”
The group which claimed responsibility for the recent attack on crude oil facilities in Ikarama community, Yenagoa of Bayelsa State wants oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the region.
They called for the restructuring of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Programme in order to realise its primary mandate.
The militants also criticised alleged long-term neglect of the region citing the East-West road as an instance. They claimed the highway which connects the six states of the Niger Delta had been in a deplorable state. According to them, the road would have been fixed if crude oil was being transported through the highway.
The agitators, however, said all field commanders had been briefed not to show mercy on any oil and gas installations, no matter its location until the federal government meets their demands.
“If we do not act now, our children will ask us questions that we will not have answers to, our communities will go into extinction because of underdevelopment, environment degradation, and pollution.”
Several reports in recent years had detailed kidnap cases orchestrated by the militants until they reach a consensus with the government, especially through the amnesty programme.
In October 2009, about six oil workers including two foreigners were kidnapped by the Niger Delta militants.
The following month, eight more oil workers were abducted by the militants. In 2009 alone, about 100 foreign oil workers were reportedly kidnapped by the Niger Delta militants.