By Jethro Ibileke
Palpable tension and apprehension have gripped Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region, following warning of possible commencement of hostility by militant group, Niger Delta Avenger (NDA).
This is coming after its long silence amidst agitations across the country.
The fierce militant group, which threatened to cripple the nation’s economy by attacking critical oil and gas facilities across the region, also threatened to attack major politicians from the region for their roles in the under-development of the region.
According to Niger Delta Today, an online platform, NDA’s threat is contained in a statement titled “We Are Back With Operation Humble”, posted on its site on Saturday morning, in which it also announced the change of leadership to its command.
Niger Delta Avengers, whose activities majorly contributed to the Nigeria’s slide into recession in 2016, disclosed that their men have been deplored to strategic locations in the region awaiting directive to strike.
The militant group accused the Federal Government of failing to meeting its demands to speed up development of the region since it declared ceasefire, following intervention of leaders and stakeholders from the area.
It vowed to force the country into recession as it did in 2016, noting that Nigeria might not recover from the recession anytime soon.
Read part of the statement here:
“There is no gainsaying that the failed country called Nigeria which has fed fat on our God-given wealth is at the brink of total disintegration, owing to the security and related challenges across the country; ranging from terrorism and banditry in the North, to the secessionist gongs of the Oduduwa people of the South-west and IPOB of the South-east it is obvious that peace in the Niger Delta, and by extension, the South-South geopolitical region is the very thin piece still binding this country together.
“It is disheartening that despite being the economic backbone and having resolved to maintain the peaceful environment for the smooth operations of the oil multinationals whose proceeds the country cling unto for economic survival, the Niger Delta and the South-South remain the most under developed, with our needs and interests undermined by the failed Nigerian State.
“We decided to suspend our famous operation red economy‚ which bled the Nigerian economy into recession about 4 years ago not because we are lazy, but for the love we have for our people and out of respect for the voice of the elders of the Niger Delta region, who beckoned on us to give peace a chance and avail the government time to act on our demands at the time.”
The militant group noted that it decided to resume hostility because its high command has exhausted its patience to allow government speed up the development of the region.
It also passed a vote of no confidence on the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), elders and ex-agitators in the region, accusing them of frolicking with the government at the detriment of its people.
The statement reads on:
“In a move to remind this failed government that we have exhausted the very last iota of patience, the High Command of the Niger Delta Avengers have in a meeting held last night resolved as follows:
“We have lost total confidence on all socio-cultural groups like PANDEF, the elders of Niger Delta and the bunch of so-called ex-agitators frolicking with the Government at our detriment.
“This operation shall be coded ‘Operation Humble’‚ aimed at bringing down targeted oil installations in the Niger Delta Region, capable of humbling the economy into permanent recession.
“This mission is also targeted at political actors who are collaborating with the Nigerian Government to undermine the interest of the Niger Delta people.
“There is no doubt that the Nigerian Government has continued to pay deaf ears to our demands and the rising challenges in the country, because the pipelines that criss-cross our lands are left untouched, allowing dollars to flow into the Federal treasury on a daily basis for, mismanagement.
“We shall spare no single oil installation within our range of strategic targets marked for destruction in the coming days and we bet the Nigerian Government will be humbled to return to the drawing board and chart an all-inclusive course by the time we are done with our action plan.
“Members of our strike teams across the Niger Delta are commanded to be on red alert, awaiting precise strike plans as mapped by the high command of the NDA.”