The Coalition of Northern States Political Party leaders has issued a seven days ultimatum to the Niger Delta militants to withdraw threats allegedly made on some its leaders, warning that the north has the capacity to respond to threats from any region.
Coordinator of the group, Alfa Mohammed, in a statement on Monday, listed those threatened to include sponsors of the splinter Peoples Democratic Party, PDP such as former Vice PresidentAbubakar Atiku, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, six northern governors and several lawmakers.
Leaders of former militant groups, under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative on Saturday declared Abubakar unwanted in the Niger Delta region.
“It is unfortunate that Atiku who has benefitted so much from the Niger Delta oil is leading dissidents in a political coup against the first southerner to ever ascend the seat of president of Nigeria…and we are warning him in his own interest to stay off the region. He cannot be enjoying our oil money and at the same time use the same money to fight the owners of the oil,” the group’s president, Reuben Wilson, said.
However, the northern coalition group says it will not fold its arms and allow the militant to rubbish it leaders.
“Although, the issues at stake are purely the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, affairs, we can’t fold our hands and be watching some un-cultured militant groups threaten, rubbish and black mail our courageous and illustrious leaders,” the group said.
The coalition added: “the north is not lacking the capacity to react commensurably to any action the militants may take against the northern leaders”.
Meanwhile, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, has distanced itself from the threats on Atiku and others.
MEND, in a statement by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, said the splinter group should ignor the “empty threats and provocative comments from idle political thugs parading themselves as ex-militants, as well as some so-called elders and tribal assemblies of the Niger Delta.”
“It is in the right of any detribalised, honest and qualified Nigerian, to aspire for the highest office in the land, to bring progress, peace, reconciliation and other dividends of democracy,” MEND said.
The group added: “It is also in order for a performing incumbent, to seek a legitimate extension of his/her tenure in office, as long as the peoples’ vote will count and the bid does not run contrary to any prior agreements reached within their party. MEND believes in honour and integrity.”