By Bernard Tolani Dada
Niger Delta militants under the aegis of the Niger Delta Volunteers (NDV) have stated that plans have been concluded with other agitators to declare a Sovereign Republic of Niger Delta (SRND), on October 1, 2017.
Towards this end, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have been advised to relocate to the region before the October 1, deadline or risk resumption of hostilities against oil and gas infrastructures in the region.
“We hereby demand immediate relocation of all oil companies operating in Niger Delta to the region on or before October 1, 2017, as we shall ensure the shutting down of further operations in our territory at the expiration of this notice if they fail to act on our directive”, they warned.
Addressing Journalists in Uyo, the State capital, the leader of the group, General Ekpo Ekpo, said the NDV was compelled to be part of the struggle for genuine peace in the region and Nigeria, lamenting that years of marginalization of the region has brought mass poverty and underdevelopment.
“W demand immediate restructuring of the country, devolution of powers, true federalism, and 100 percent resource control because anything short of this is not acceptable to us”, he warned.
Ekpo, who declared that NDV would never be part of Biafra, warned the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other pro-Biafra elements to steer clear of Akwa Ibom, saying “we are not part of Biafra; we belong to Niger Delta”.
He also demand that “all oil blocks owned by non indigenes of Niger Delta should be returned before October 1, or the operators of such oil blocks will be severely dealt with”.
Accompanied by Commanding Officers (Cos) and other foot soldiers, Ekpo frowned at the action of some Niger Delta leaders, who recently met with the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo under the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), saying proper consultations were not done with key stakeholders of the region.
“We totally condemn the recent meeting of PANDEF with the Acting President and wish to state clearly that the delegates from Akwa Ibom to that meeting did so on their own because they did not consult with relevant groups and therefore cannot claim to speak for everybody in the region”, Gen Ekpo said.
Also, the group advised governors of the region to run their administrations with utmost compliance to ethical order and best practices, adding that mismanagement of resources by successive governments has adverse effects on development.
On the proposed new Government Lodge for Lagos, the group dismissed such projects as a misplacement of priority, noting that “the old government lodge in Lagos was built when the capital of Nigeria was in Lagos”.
They, therefore, asked governor Udom Emmanuel, to cancel the projects and instead deploy the N1.2 billion earmarked for the facility into other productive ventures for the benefit of the people.