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Militants reject Clark as peace negotiator, warn against repair of damaged pipeline

As the Federal Government plans to meet with leaders from the Niger Delta region as part of strategy to arrest the revenue haemorrhage through incessant bombing of oil facilities, a fresh disharmony appears to have trailed the scheduled meeting.

Two of the militant groups from the region, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), expressed displeasure over the attitude of the Federal Government to the region.

While the NDA berated the carrot-and-stick approach of the Federal Government, NDGJM rejected the choice of Chief Edwin Clark as a peace negotiator for the region, saying that government had been railroaded into settling for a dialogue with them in the name of the region

“The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate has nothing against the people of the region reaching an agreement with the Federal Government, what we find offensive is the entity that is about to, as it has done in the past, steal the identity of our people to hoodwink government,” it said.

Spokesperson of NDGJM, in a statement in Warri, Delta State,  warned against the reopening of the Trans-Forcados Pipeline which was bombed early this year.

NDA, in its own statement signed by its spokesperson, ‘Brigadier General’ Mudoch Agbinibo, on Saturday, queried the rationale behind the campaign for the clean up of Ogoni while the activities of the security agencies in the area continued to impact negatively on the environment.

It also condemned the use of security agents as channel for dialogue, asking rhetorically “do democratically elected governments open channels for talks in situations like we have in the Nigeria Delta through security agencies/agents or you are assuming that the Niger Delta as a conquered colony in your 1984 era?

“How can you justify Ogoni clean up and at the same time constitute a task force called “Operation Delta Safe” that is embarking on environmental pollution with the burning and bombing of petroleum products in the guise of fighting oil theft?

“Does that amount to lack of genuine ideas or sincerity?  Or at least, is there no relationship between environmental pollution and the ongoing indiscriminate burning and bombing of petroleum products by operatives of the so-called “Operation Delta Safe?”

NDGJM said not even the heavy presence of troops manning oil and gas facilities would stop consequences of violating their order.

“NDGJM 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),” the statement read.

It accused a set of leaders from the Niger Delta region of always conniving with the Federal Government to hoodwink people of the region.

According to the group, “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 the Federal Government into settling for a dialogue with them, in the name of the Niger Delta people.

“The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate however uses this opportunity to warn the Federal Government not to make this mistake and to say that we are 100 per cent against the October 31st meeting. We consider it to be an impersonation of the people of the Niger Delta and their interest.”

NDGJM, it will be recalled, claimed responsibility for the destruction of oil and gas facilities largely owned by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) located in parts of Urhobo and Isoko land.

“The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate has nothing against the people of the region reaching an agreement with the Federal Government. What we find offensive is the entity that is about to, as it has done in the past, steal the identity of our people to hoodwink government.”

The group further stated that “By the time an agreement is reached with this so-called Pan-Niger Delta Dialogue Team, Chief E.K Clark’s new conduit, the current disaffection in the region will remain because the old man has his model of doing things, which ultimately sidelines the people of the region and satisfy the greed of a few.

“The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate however uses this opportunity to warn the federal government not to make this mistake and to say that we are 100 per cent against the October 29th meeting, we consider it to be an impersonation of the people of the Niger Delta and their interest.

“If the federal government wants to meet with the people of the region, it cannot be through an organ put together by persons of doubtful character and definitely not those associated with the causes of our long history of neglect and impoverishment.

“The different peoples of the region can raise young, sincere grassroots persons, who have been known among them to be free of today’s Nigerian corruption scandals.”