The leading militant group operating the oil-rich region of southern Nigeria, the Niger Delta Avengers, have dismissed a report there is a breakaway in its ranks, saying that the purported Revolutionary Niger Delta Avengers is a lie by the Muhammadu Buhari federal government
Mudoch Agbinibo, spokesperson of the Avengers on Saturday, August 7, 2016, issued a statement responding to the claim by a Cynthia Whyte that the militant group has a breakaway faction.
The statement, published on the group’s website, described the sensational report by SaharaReporters naming alleged sponsors of the group as “delusional disorder,” adding that the government and security agencies are “becoming childish everyday.”
“The thinking to lure the public to another lie of spirit in the Niger Delta Avengers is only the ways of a government agents and agencies with delusional disorder,” the statement said.
“This is result of a government and security agencies that are only becoming childish everyday for engaging drug addicts, bank robbers, sea pirates, falling political angels and charlatans to undo the Niger Delta people our genuine desire to self determination and resource control.
“The public and all sane minds should know that the entire household of the Niger Delta Avengers remain intact, we are in good spirit with highest morals and even more dedicated to get the ultimate targets.”
The group mocked the government, asserting that government security agencies have “thrown intelligence to the dustin.”
The group also accused the director general of the Department of State Security, Lawal Daura, of collaborating with an APC chieftain, Timipre Sylva, and other “political thugs” in carrying out illegal oil bunkering.
The statement also asserted that “Cynthia Whyte” is an alias of a “negotiation organ,” who is also known as George Kerley, of a kidnapping syndicate sponsored by Timipre Sylva, Victor Ebikabowei Ben, also known as Boyloaf, and Sele Ebikabowei.
“We are not like the present Nigeria government, military and security agencies that have thrown intelligence to the dustbin and are being pushed around by dirty moral and egos of political thugs, criminals and illegal crude oil bunkerers like Boyloaf, Timipre Silva, Ayiri Emami, and their main collaborator Mr. Lawal Daura (DG DSS),” the statement said further.
“It is quite unfortunate that, Cynthia Whyte and Jomo Gbomo of defunct Joint Revolutionary Council and MEND respectively are the spokesperson of the Nigerian intelligentsia community because of some political interest and a government that have abdicated powers to clansmen and tribal lords.
“The fact checks about Cynthia Whyte aka George Kerley and his sponsors should be laid bare before the public now that the Nigerian security and intelligence community has turned the Niger Delta genuine struggle to a tool of political patronage and money making machine for miscreants and conflict merchants.
“The name Cynthia Whyte was the negotiation organ for Mr. Victor Ebikabowei Ben (Boyloaf), former governor Timipre Silva, and Sele Ebikabowei for settlements in kidnappings, bank robberies, illegal crude oil bunkering and dirty jobs for government.
“Like sending of Sele Ebikabowei to South Africa to testify against Henry Okah, back at home against Charles Okah and Edmund Ebiwari after collecting huge bribes. So we are not surprised for this so-called MEND speaking under Victor Ebikabowei Ben (Boyloaf) to introduce his complete house to collect more patronages in their desperation.
“Conclusively, it is the house of the Nigeria security and intelligentsia community that is having splits and giving room to miscreants to be speaking for them as president Muhammadu Buhari abdicate governance to his kinsmen and tribal lords. We warned the world and Nigerians earlier, especially the Barr. Odein Ajumogobias, the Judith Asunis and HRM, Majesty King Alfred Diette Spiffs to think before they leap with characters using a compromised platform called MEND that is sold and bought up by special interests of the Nigerian Security agencies that are working for this APC government of lies and deceits,” the statement concluded.
Who Are The Niger Delta Avengers?
Niger Delta Avengers is a new militancy group that is operating in the oil-rich region of Southern Nigeria. In the second quarter of 2016, the group emerged as the leading militant group mounting attacks on crude oil and gas installations in the troubled region.
The militant group 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 Avengers claims it has reduced oil production in the country to less than one million barrels a day. An analyst at VOA News corroborates the militants’ claims saying that oil production has dropped below one million barrels a day due to the waves of attacks on pipelines and oil installations.
The militant group has released its rules of engagement and says that it doesn’t kill anybody or attack oil workers or soldiers. The Delta Avengers called on all other groups operating in the region to abide by these rules of engagement. “We need God now, more than ever,” the group said in a statement.
The Niger Delta Avengers 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.]
President Muhammadu Buhari recently rejected the Avengers’ demands saying that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. The president’s first reaction to the Avengers was to declare war against them. He later promised to “crush them” as he did Boko Haram. That position has shifted to begging them in the ‘name of Almighty God’ to stop the attacks.
Pro-Biafra secessionist group, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has pledged “total allegiance” to the Niger Delta Avengers extolling the militant group for supporting the cause of a free Biafra. MASSOB embraces the tenets of nonviolence. It is led by Ralph Uwazuruike, a lawyer.
In June, 2016 the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, another secessionist group pledged its support for the Niger Delta Avengers, saying the groups’ ideal of freedom align.
The MEND Factor
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, is believed to be a defunct guerrilla militant group and one of the largest of the groups which waged a campaign against oil production in the Niger Delta region that successfully crippled the nation’s economy from 2005 till 2009.
Some of the leaders of MEND were Henry Okah, who is currently serving a 24-year jail term for the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja; Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo who is in a running battle with the Buhari government and has called on the Avengers to embrace dialogue with the federal government; Ateke Tom, whose Niger Delta Vigilante merged with MEND; and Ebikabowei Victor Ben, also known as Boyloaf who recently named Tompolo as the sponsor of the Niger Delta Avengers.
At the height of the war, the late President Musa Yar’Adua declared Tompolo as the most wanted man in Nigeria. The Niger Delta restiveness only ended when the late President Musa Yar’Adua successfully negotiated a cease-fire and launched the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme in 2009.
Leaders of MEND took the presidential amnesty and ended the conflict.