Saharareporters received this press statement from "Mack Anthony" the spokesperson for a MEND affililiate declaring that the "End of the last battle" in the statement Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF explained why the last band of its fighters surrendered and abandoned Israel Barracks after incessant bombardment by the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF) since last week.
See full statement below:
We have fought a good fight. This is dawn of a new day. Nigerian army will make a great historic diary about NDLF soldiers led by General John Togo. This war is avoidable war; but criminal injustice by the Nigerian majority ethnic nationalities on the minority ethnic nationalities has turned everybody a casualty of war. And things fall apart. We are aware JTF is still counting their monumental losses just as NDLF counts its losses in the battle. NDLF gave JTF a great fight. The world has known that the Niger Delta problem is still unresolved, despite federal amnesty.
This is much like a speech of a fallen hero in battle with tears and heavy face. Today, we hereby declared that the Joint Task Force (JTF) has won the final battle in the creek. Though, the war is not over yet in Niger Delta. People of Niger Delta shall win the final war one day against criminal injustice and marginalization over 50 years of forcefully taking our God given blessings of oil and Gas wealth from the people to build distant rocky villages in the north to modern cities, leaving the people of Niger Delta in abject poverty and penury. The future battle may not be with NDLF or General John Togo with arms and bombs again, except justice and fair play reign in Niger Delta.
The historic Niger Delta struggle is a process and in stage by stage. Many have come and played their roles and have left the stage. Today, it is the turn of NDLF, led by General John Togo with the theme “post amnesty conference” between federal government and arms agitators in Niger Delta to address the grey areas of federal government amnesty programme.
Among key areas to address are; state creation, abolishment of military land use decree, equal sharing formula of oil and Gas wealth and measures for rapid infrastructural development in Niger Delta. These were the issues late President Yar’Adua wanted to discuss with us before his death.
The NDLF leadership in line with the gentleman agreement with the authorities of the federal amnesty programme which was directed by President Goodluck Jonathan for enduring peace in Niger has hereby directed all soldiers of NDLF in our camps, including the Israel barracks to vacate the creeks to their various towns and villages, waiting further formal prouncement from Mr. President to hand over unconditionally all NDLF weapons to the Nigerian army through the coordinator of the federal amnesty programme and special adviser to the president on Niger Delta Mr. Kingsley Kuku and his team on a later date.
This far reaching decision is taken on 14th Saturday, 2011 at Israel barracks after wide range consultation with selected top Niger Delta Stakeholders as part of NDLF earlier pledge with the authorities of the federal amnesty programme not to continue bombing oil installations following the outcome of the April 16th 2011 Presidential election which one of our own President Goodluck Jonatahan won in a keenly contested poll by the grace of the Almighty God. There is no need for any Niger Delta youth to carry arms within these four years of President Goodluck Jonathan administration and NDLF continued stay in the creeks exchanging gunfire with an already won battle is a waste of time and energy.
NDLF will give total support to President Goodluck Jonathan and shall put to shame the evil Joint Task Force (JTF) clandestine plan to foment trouble, even though when there is none to justify its continue stay in Niger Delta for selfish reasons.
What has the Nigerian soldiers did to the Northern villages when Northern fundamentalists who wantonly killed thousands of Nigerians, including security operatives? There is no military plane to raid anywhere because there is no oil in the North to engage in illegal oil bunkering in the name of peace keeping operation. JTF is a criminal organization and should be checked.
This decision is not out of cowardice, but it was reached basically on humanitarian reasons as many Ijaw and Urhobo communities have had untold suffering with over hundreds of people lost their lives in Ayakoromor 1st December 2010, in the hands of Nigerian soldiers who killed innocent community as reprisal for their lost soldiers in battle with NDLF soldiers .
It has come to our knowledge that the Ayakoromor community and neighbouring villages have fled their homes for the past few days over the bloody confrontation in the creeks and are suffering in our fight against federal authorities for barely seven months. Therefore, we want them to return home to start their normal lives without fear as law abiding citizens. Federal government by this notice should demilitarize the region for happiness of the Ayakoromor community and environs. We want to also assure the multinational oil companies NDLF has de-activated and neutralized all planted time-bombs in oil installations over the months. Therefore, their equipment is safe with NDLF.
While we have abandoned our barracks in the creeks, the government should know that these boys are no longer in the NDLF control which if, urgent step is not taken to integrate them into the federal government amnesty programme, the resultant effect could be imagined than said. We therefore, appeal to the federal government to make a quick decision so as to withdraw the weapons from NDLF. Don’t forget JTF did not destroy and capture any NDLF weapons. NDLF armoury is still intact and shall be surrendered unconditionally at federal government’s demand for permanent peace in the creeks.
Once again, by this notice, we appeal to all fleeing communities as a result of the impasse between JTF soldiers and NDLF soldiers to return to their various homes as the war is over with President Goodluck Jonthan elected as president in the 2011 presidential polls.
We thank all our numerous supporters, especially the press and we commiserate with the people of Ayakoromor for their physical and psychological torture they encountered during the heat of the battle. We appreciate the role of our arms suppliers both local and international dealers who stood by us in building NDLF strong and resistant Israel barracks.
Finally, we wish President Goodluck Jonathan congratulations and long life for being one of the luckiest achievers of the violent Niger Delta struggle. As we are leaving our barracks, we leave the enter non-violent agitation for him (Mr. President) and his Niger Delta leaders to protect the interest of the Niger Delta people and Nigerians by fighting corruption and injustice to its barest minimum which threaten the Unity of this great black nation.
NDLF take a bow…
Signed Capt. Mark Anthony NDLF Spokesman