Thirteen militant groups in the Niger Delta, which had accepted a ceasefire following the Federal Government’s amnesty programme, have threatened to resume hostilities.
The groups, under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA), said they had withdrawn the ceasefire agreement they signed with the Federal Government because of the continued refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to accede to their demands.
In a statement signed by leaders of the 13 groups, namely General John Duku for Niger Delta Watchdogs, General Ekpo Ekpo for Niger Delta Volunteers, General Osarolor Nedam for Niger Delta Warriors and Major-General Henry Okon Etete for Niger Delta People’s Fighters, among others, the coalition noted that Buhari had continued to rebuff their calls for sack of the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio, as well as dissolution of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which according to them, reeks with alleged massive corruption under Akpabio.
The CNDA also condemned the unwillingness of the President to address the thorny issues of marginalisation of the Niger Delta in terms of appointment in the oil and gas sector, particularly the replacement of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with somebody from the region.
“The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators has withdrawn its ceasefire and demanded immediate removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, as well as the replacement of the Group Managing Director of the NNPC with a qualified indigene of the Niger Delta region.
“The General Assembly of the coalition also condemns the laissez-faire attitude of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari towards the continued sufferings and yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta.
“It is also paradoxical for a government that prides itself as one that gives zero tolerance to corruption to keep mum over series of allegations of corrupt practices involving All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwarts in various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), including the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Office.
“What the Buhari-led government is doing to the region is bringing us back to the period 2005-2009, which witnessed the rise of militancy in the region and which also laid the foundation for the establishment of the amnesty programme by the Yar’Adua administration to neutralise hostilities.”
“The CNDA should not be blamed or held responsible for any unforeseen action that may result from the President’s refusal to address the outlined issues,” the groups said.