A militant group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, on Wednesday strongly warned Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to stop acting as if the Ijaws are the only people in Delta State.
In a statement signed by spokesman Aldo Agbalaja, the group said Prof. Osinbajo goofed in his “so-called interactions” with Niger Delta stakeholders, failing to see that the area does not belong to just one set of people, and thereby continuing the error of those before him.
"Divide and rule will not work, if the people of the upland part of the region are not treated with same level of respect as those in the creeks, there will never be security for the oil assets you so much cherish,” Agbalaja said.
The group however pledged its unflinching support of the Federal Government directing the oil companies headquarters to relocate to areas of their operations in the region and warned all multinational oil companies to treat everybody in the region equally.
“It only makes sense for the farmer to dwell near his farm, we want to warn that your criminal practices that we have always resisted will be resisted more vigorously if you will not treat our people fairly,” it told those companies. “Give unto every community what is due to it, without imposing any group over another; Ijaw is not superior to other oil producing communities across the Niger Delta. We have chosen to be quiet all these weeks, to observe how things unfold in the region and to give the Nigerian government the benefit of doubt.”
According to Agbalaja, “By now, all the oil companies operating in the upland areas should know that when we warn, we mean business, so the message to the incoming operators, like Heritage Oil is a call to caution. While we watch we have observed the sensible steps being taken so far by the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo to convince the Niger Delta of his administration’s sincerity in finding genuine peace in our region.
"At least, he has shown some effort and is making an attempt, unlike his boss who has not hidden his disdain and disrespect for our people. However, we will want to advise the acting president to make good his promise to come out to discuss with the youths of this region. Youths in the upland area of the Niger Delta area looking forward to pouring their hearts out to him.”
The spokesman described the spirit of their struggle as unbreakable, adding that midnight raids and staged arrest of those perceived to be our operatives can stop their onslaught. Peace, he affirmed, will only return when oil companies and their allies who are bent on stealing their natural endowment without returns give back to their people what belongs to them.
The militant group warned oil companies: "The legacy of ruins you are about to inherit are enough witness the last of which was the message passed by our gallant operatives on February 11th, 2017, the Iyede-Opherin Delivery Line in Eriemu Field was brought down at about 1 am of that day. Don’t joke with us. The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate wants to use this medium to sound it loud and clear to the Nigerian forces of coercion that we are not intimidated or deterred by your undue aggression against our people."
The group also warned the oil companies to be wary and stop wasting their resources on what the group called jobbers, fraudsters and well known militant merchants claiming to have settled the group.
“As we said earlier, we have been quiet because we needed to observe and properly coordinate for future activities, not because any person or group pocketed us. We are not in this for the money. Hence we would have been involved in such criminal activities that some pseudo groups have been involved in, we rather do this for the love of our people and the preservation of our God-given land," the group said.