The Nigerian Army announced this weekend that it had arrested ten persons suspected to be members of the Niger Delta Avengers, a new militancy group operating in the oil-rich region of Southern Nigeria.
The commander of 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Farouk Yahaya, who paraded the suspected militants on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at the brigade headquarters in Benin, Edo state, said they were arrested at about 1:40am on Saturday, in Oporoza community in Delta State, “following a cordon and search operation conducted in the community”.
He said the operation was part of efforts to check the spate of renewed attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region
It turns out that a local newspaper has released the names of the people arrested in the community and they are mostly students in the local grammar school in Oporoza, in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
According to Gbaramatu Voice Newspaper, the ten youths arrested and paraded by the Nigerian Army are not members of any militant groups, but students of Gbaraun Grammar School in Oporoza, the location of a brutal army invasion over the weekend.
Some others on the list are identified as domestic staff of king of the community – the palace cook, palace driver, palace tailor. One person on the list is said to be a mechanic and another just a “local boy”.
The newspaper called for the release of the “innocent” and for the end to the military siege on their community.
See below the list published by the newspaper.
1. Ebis Emma Job (SS1 Student, Gbaraun Grammar School, Oporoza)
2. Philip Gagha(Palace Cook)
3. Andrew (Palace driver)
4. Tebe-ebi (Palace tailor)
5. Emotimifagha (Student of Gbaraun Grammar School, Oporoza)
6. John David (Student of Gbaraun Grammar School, Oporoza)
7. Solomon Teiwei (Student of Gbaraun Grammar School, Oporoza)
8. Oromoni Peter Miyebi (Community boy)
9. Godspower Abraham (Student of Gbaraun Grammar School, Oporoza)
10. Bright (mechanic)
Former Niger Delta warlord, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo comes from Gbaramatu Kingdom has denied any involvement in the Niger Delta Avengers and called on the group to cease hostilities against the Nigerian state and embrace dialogue.
Tompolo also called on the Nigerian military to end the brutal occupation of his community alleging that soldiers are looting and burning homes of his kinsmen.
The Niger Delta Avengers say it is waging a war for a free Niger Delta Republic in what it tags, Operation Red Economy, with a view of halting crude oil production in Nigeria to force the government to grant the group’s demands. The group has presented an 11-point demand to President Muhammadu Buhari and the first is the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. [Download Conference report HERE.]
By the way, President Muhammadu Buhari has not read the report and believes it should remain in “the archives”, archives is a code word for dustbin.