Annkio Briggs writes an opinion editorial to clarify her comments on the Niger Delta Avengers and the group’s origins.
It is unfortunate and distractive for a section of the Nigerian media and partisan activists on social media to twist my statements and positions to suit their political leanings and for financial gain.
My attention has been drawn to a headline story presented by Premium Times, an online newspaper leaning towards the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that I blasted the new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers and said that they are from Somalia. The headline is not only misleading, but criminally tilted to suit the paper’s political motives.
For the avoidance of any doubt, let me present below my position on the rights of the people of the Niger Delta and the continued perpetuation of injustice against my people, the people of the Niger Delta, by the Nigerian state.
1. That any federal government of Nigeria should respect rule of law at all times and under all circumstances.
2. The very minimum form of government acceptable and workable for Nigeria is FISCAL FEDERALISM.
3. That any demand is open to dialogue.
4. That after nearly 60 years of oil and gas exploration of oil and gas out of the Niger Delta region and people of the Niger Delta region, l am an UNAPOLOGETIC NON-VIOLENT AGITATOR for RESOURCE OWNERSHIP, not just for OIL AND GAS but all RESOURCES in all and any part of Nigeria SOLID AND MINERAL.
5. The long term plan to discredit me will continue to fail. The act of constantly twisting what l say will continue to fail. It has been demanded of me on radio shows, on television and by electronic media reporters to CONDEMN the Niger Delta Avengers and my position remains the same; l refuse to condemn the Niger Delta Avengers but rather appeal to the Avengers not to continue to blow up pipelines, but rather to accept dialogue as their next option.
6. I am disappointed but not surprised to see the latest distorted headlines by partisan newspapers. For the records, below is what I said at the meeting in Uyo on June 10, 2016 and the meeting in Enugu on June 12, 2016. I have been saying this long before the two assemblies.
“If the herdsmen killing, raping and destroying farms across the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria are from Libya, then the people blowing up pipelines can not be identified as Ijaws without proof of identification, therefore the Nigerian military, navy, and airforce should stop criminalizing IJAWS and stop attacking Ijaw communities and killing Ijaws.”
7. Ijaws will not continue to pay the price of all the failures of Nigeria as a nation. My opinion as a Niger Deltan and as an Ijaw indigenous person is that I STAND FIRMLY ON THE SIDE OF THE NIGER DELTA AND MY ETHNIC NATIONALITY that we demand a 100% OWNERSHIP OF OUR GOD GIVEN RESOURCES.
8. That self-determination is a right of indigenous peoples guaranteed by the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights and the UN Declaration on Human and Indigenous Peoples Rights.
On these truths and values, I stand! No amount of threats, lies, blackmail or terrorism will stop me as God is with me.
Annkio Briggs is a respected leader of the Niger Delta struggle for human rights and environmental justice.