The leadership of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a militant group behind incessant attacks on oil installations in Nigeria’s oil producing hub, has warned the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to desist from negotiating with traditional rulers and other personalities in the area, describing those would-be negotiators as “vultures.” The NDA insisted that the government should instead enter into dialogue with a team co-led by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka and Anthony Ani.
In a statement issued today and signed by one Colonel Rightman Hudson Opukurowari, the NDA remarked that, in response to calls from Nigerians, the group had been observing a ceasefire since the third week of July 2016, adding that “spontaneous attacks on oil installations” were “politically motivated.”
The statement disclosed that, on August 16, 2016, “Central and Eastern Avengers was formed for easier administrative convenience.” Colonel Opukurowari added that the NDA on August 27, 2016 unveiled the names of members of its dialogue group and demanded an “immediate exhaustive commencement of forensic audit of all Federal Government Agencies and parastatals set up with the mission and vision of developing the region from 1999 to date.” According to the militant leader, the NDA’s insistence on an audit disenchanted “some nefarious, mischief makers of the region who had earlier approached [us] to influence us with money to coin the struggle to their favor on certain demands with Federal Government.”
He stated that an unnamed “sponsor of groups of vultures”was seeking to promote a group of negotiators from the Niger Delta who “neither represent us (NDA of the Central and Eastern Division), nor the people of the region but self-aggrandizement.”
The NDA’s statement wondered why “traditional rulers, leaders at all levels in the Niger Delta are all always excited and fight at all cost to dialogue on militant issues? Despite our several oppositions and rejections we keep seeing repeated resurgence of the vultures as dialogue experts in the likes of Chief E.K. Clarke, King Alfred Diete Spiff, Tony Uranta and the Ajumogobias, etc. We (NDA) know their sponsor—Niger Delta Looter King.”
The NDA urged the Buhari administration to enter into dialogue only with the militants’ team composed of “Mr. Ballantyne Agiri [and] headed by Dr. Anthony A. Ani and Professor Wole Soyinka.”
Continued the statement: “We shall remain at our homes (creeks) and watch the orchestrated melodrama tagged Federal Government dialogue with leaders of the Niger Delta (organized by King Alfred Diete Spiff) to be chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on 26th and 27th September, 2016.” It dismissed Mr. Diete Spiff as a “self-imposed misfit King of Twon Brass,” adding that his rule had caused communal clashes between Twon Brass and its neighboring communities in Brass local government area of Bayelsa State.
The NDA’s statement warned the Federal Government to call off the meeting scheduled for September 26 and 27 with the Diete Spiff team, adding that the government should enter into dialogue with the “right persons” or risk the end of peace and tranquility in the oil-producing zone. The NDA’s statement vowed that the Federal Government would face consequences if it did not heed the militants’ warning.
The NDA concluded its statement by warning “the Niger Delta Vultures” that their “pay back days are at hand.”