Niger Delta Avengers, on Sunday, October 23, 2016, issued a new warning to President Muhammadu Buhari over the matters of negotiation for peace in the oil-rich region of southern Nigeria.
In a statement titled, We Have Been Raped For Too Long, signed by the group’s spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo, cautioned against the federal government making the mistake of entering into talks with “selfish leaders” in the Niger Delta region who are “representing themselves instead of the interest of the people”.
The Avengers accused some unnamed “selfish but vociferous” Niger Delta leaders and groups of appropriating the overall interest of the region to themselves and cronies while the majority wallow in penury.
“Since we had agreed to suspend bombing oil facilities and enter into genuine dialogue with the government, the administration has not shown any seriousness in talking to the right set of people to move the peace process forward,” Agbinibo said in the statement published on the Avenger’s website.
“Two months after the ceasefire, it has become clear to the world that this government has not been sincere and serious in meeting the simple demands of the people to put in place a concrete plan of transforming the landscape and giving us any sense of hope despite our critical contribution to the commonwealth of the nation.”
The full statement is republished below:
Agitations are the rights of component unit in a federalism, we owe no authority, tribe or political group any apology. It is the responsibility of the central government to cooperatively manage them rather than overheating the system by thinking of fierce responses (decisive military action).
It is disgusting for president Muhammadu Buhari and his tribesmen to equate the revenue priorities of the Niger Delta region with regional comparisons of development in Nigeria. For crying out loud, since 1914 our resources have being the essence of this union called Nigeria before crude oil was discovered. The amalgamation of southern and northern Nigeria was for administrative convenience because the north was not viable economically. The idea of bundling through bills like North East/West Development Commission is fraud, hypocrisy and bigotry by President Muhammadu Buhari.
President Muhammadu Buhari should think like a leader with the advantage of his age to see the genuine and legitimate agitation with the right attitude to pacify our people. We have been raped for too long, general Muhammadu Buhari should face the reality of the Niger Delta question. He can stop listening to ideas and advice of the agitation as political system support structure that his tribal warlords and conflict merchants have hypnotized him to believe as the face of the Niger Delta struggle.
Niger Delta is part of Nigeria federation that he governs, since he is the president, he will always need the cooperation of our people to share or allocate our resources to other component units. The daylight robbery and allocation of proceeds of our natural resources must stop. When he was the chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), as general Sani Abacha henchman he exhibited this bigotry by focusing attention to his region, which he never pretend about by emphasizing 97% Versus 5% development and appointment structure that he has exhibited again in his fifth coming as national affairs. He never pretend to be ethnic and religious bigot; the only things he pretends about are his roles in the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta and Nigeria in the over three decades he has being in government – 1976, 1978, 1983/4, 1993/98 and now.
He also pretend over the deliberate politicization of the Niger Delta struggle by those tribesmen and conflict merchants he has abdicated the responsibilities of governing Nigeria to since, May 2015. He has forgotten that on his assumption of office, peace has been sustained in the region not through political party and structure support approach but the involvement of genuine stakeholders and the people of the region.
That if Mr. President will come down from that his ethnic iron-horse, to engage in discussion with our people on October or any date he likes, the issues are not new. We want to control our resources and pay appropriate taxation to the central government that is fiscal federalism in practice and in principles. The government, representatives of the Multinational Oil Corporations, neutral international observers and elders as well as stakeholders should guide themselves with the following documents: the Sir Henry Willinks Commission Report of 1958, The Ogoni Bill of Rights, The Kaiama Declaration document of the Ijaw Youth Council, The General Alexander Ogomudia Committee Report, The Niger Delta Technical Committee Report which contains the pre-amnesty issues and agreement with the government of Nigeria in 2009. Then, the framework can be drawn for achieving the short, medium and long term objectives toward the restoration of our land and reparation for the people that have been raped and colonized since 1914.
No amount of military action and surge will stop us from halting the flow of the oil from our land to sustain Nigeria. This is our land that we are the masters of its battlefields. We have warned earlier that we want the ” Peace with honour, no more peace of our time.
Any meeting with this government should be seen as driving a combustible vehicle laden with fire to safety; it must be driven with carefulness.
Brig Gen Mudoch Agbinibo