ICHEOKU says they did it, deservedly and rightly earned; the boys from Paris. ICHEOKU says congratulations.



ICHEOKU says he is coming with a clear-eyed view of what the United States of America constitution provides and will not legislate from the bench. ICHEOKU says definitely the right pick, so CONFIRM him now and right away and without any delay or much ado. Congratulation.


Lisa Page: “Trump is not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Peter Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

ICHEOKU says if this is not corruption of the worst type, what else so qualifies? So sad the length these guys went to truncate the will of the American people; yet they will turn around and accuse other countries of corruption and you wonder is it only when money exchanges hands that there is corruption. Pitifully SAD.


“The only obstruction President Trump committed was in obstructing Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton from the White House.” - Jesse Watters, Watters World.


“The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.” - President Donald John Trump.

ICHEOKU says exactly why he is now fondly nicknamed the Promise Keeper and he keeps his promises, one promise at a time.


America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants “Death to America” to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth." - President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says what does the Deep State have on AG Jeff Sessions that has purchased his quiet and inaction over the excesses of the Russian Collusion witch hunt? Something definitely does not look right and apparently seems awry that the Attorney General appears so constricted to do anything to bring the never ending "investigation" to a conclusion. How much longer will the American people wait to have the matter concluded and what will it take. As a member of Team MAGA, from the basket of deplorables, who defended him when the president was threatening to fire him, ICHEOKU is not particularly satisfied with the "playing it safe" attitude which Jeff has adopted thus far and urge him to find any possible way to make the investigators finish their job immediately and without any further delay.


ICHEOKU says he has all it takes to turn Nigeria around and Make Nigeria Great Again. He is highly cerebral; he is well traveled and is highly exposed internationally; he is a doer with a can-do spirit and attitude which translates to impossible is nothing as it does not exists in his dictionary; he is fully accomplished person who turned around the nearly moribund behemoth UBA and created thousands of jobs both in Nigeria and overseas; and above all, he is youthful and has age on his side and you ask yourself, what else is anyone looking for in a leader for Nigeria that is on bended knees and begging for leadership other than a man with his proven record. If he can do this in the private sector, he can also mission accomplish such in the public sector and resuscitate a Nigeria that is in distress. CHEOKU is emphatic that Tony Elumelu is a highly qualified, fit and proper person to lead Nigeria out of its present woods of near comatose and under performing achievements. Lets go to work Nigerians and make his candidature both viable and achievable. We can do this fellas; so lets urge Tony to run, run Tony run and together lets Make Nigeria Great Again. If Trump can do it, so can Tony.


"If the Syria regime uses this poisonous gas again on its people, it will be bombed again. The United States of America is locked and loaded. When our president draws a redline, our president enforces the redline." - Nikki Haley, United States of America Ambassador to the United Nations.



ICHEOKU says Russia's Vladimir Putin has one good opportunity to finally move back into the comity of civilized nations and stop his despotic mentality which always sees him flocking amidst his fellow dictators. But if he choses to remain in the cold and remain in Kremlin where he has been holed in since 1999, too bad. His too long stay in power is only damaging Russia but not helping it; and gradually turning Russia into a third world country where only one man dictates what goes on in the country. Putin, change your ways; let true democracy reign in Russia. Salute



ICHEOKU says you cannot get a more American American and he is a hardcore America First nationalist as they come. President Donald John Trump's pick to succeeded fired National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is the real deal. He is a hard-nosed American First protagonist, who does not shy away from projecting America's power through strength and who is not afraid to have America go it alone if need be. ICHEOKU says hopefully the president has found the very person who will help him achieve and implement his policy objectives in John Bolton. But as far as MAGA and AF agendas are concerned, Ambassador John Bolton is one heck of a good pick and a right fit for the job. He will help President Donald John Trump with doing his job for the American people. ICHEOKU says congratulations to the Mustachioed One. Let the governance of MAGA now really begin.



ICHEOKU says they pretend to be guardians of free speech but wants to tele-guide other peoples thinking by limiting what they can freely say; especially if you are a conservative and holds opinions which are favorable of President Donald John Trump and critical of Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, they will not succeed but can only force people to opt out of the live wasting exercise of gluing one's eyeballs to the platform. An exercise which does not add anything of value to users, nor pays them anything for helping them bring more eyeballs to the portal. Instead of being grateful that people are helping them bilk advertisers of billions of dollars with their riveted eyeballs, they now want to micromanage everyone's thought as if they are doing one a favor by letting them waste their time using Facebook. ICHEOKU says will not be cowered nor intimidated; they can block ICHEOKU all the heck they want but ICHEOKU will not bow to Facebook's attempt to control ICHEOKU's thoughts and would rather permanently part ways with the Mark Zuckerberg globalist weapon of mass control than kowtow to a group thinking. To hell with this attempt to exact undue control and turn everyone into a herd mind.


"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is also no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election." - Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General of the United States of America.

ICHEOKU says this determination, for every intent and purpose, now lays to rest the "Collusion with the Russians" hogwash; as nobody can be guilty of an offense which requires awareness to ground when he or she is not aware of it. Collusion is a conspiracy and requires a proactive participation coupled with a guilty knowledge to bring about the purpose of the conspiracy. Therefore, when will the Special Counsel address the nation and tell Americans that there is no there, there, in the Russian Collusion investigation and save America further bleeding both in resources, time and unity. Enough of the sore loser antics of the Democratic Party which does not know how to take a loss and learn to work to fix what went wrong, instead of continuously pointing a finger at a mirage that is the Russian Collusion, in its bid to find something to blame for its ineptitude that led to the epochal loss of November 8th, 2016.


"POTUS WANTS TO KNOW EVERYTHING WE ARE DOING." - Lisa Page to boyfriend Peter Strzok, two FBI officials.

ICHEOKU says the POTUS then was President Barack Hussein Obama, who had previously denied and lied to the American people that he does not dabble into any FBI's investigative matter. Really?



"Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never ever forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it's the people who are making America great again. As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve. As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail. Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free." - President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says congratulations to President Donald John Trump for successfully steering America's ship of States for a full year. What the naysayers said will not happen is a reality which they are finding extremely difficult to live with. But their preferences notwithstanding, Make America Great Again is on course and nobody will torpedo it. Once again, congratulations to the leader of Team MAGA on the anniversary of his being sworn in as the 45th POTUS.


ICHEOKU says following an examination of so many nominated individuals, we have determined that this year 2017's man of the year is President Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America. He came into office shooting on both hips and as the year draws to an end, his both guns are still firing and smoking. For standing up to the world and starring down American detractors and being the cheerleader and champion in chief of America, the leader of Team Make America Great Again has earned ICHEOKU's man of the year award 2017. Congratulations to President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says a wisdom of Solomon come to judgment; it is about time the child is given to the rightful mother. Salute to the courage of President Donald John Trump.


"Together with our allies, America's warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve."



ICHEOKU says Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton was caught pants down colluding with the Russians and she has been trying so hard to pull the wool over the eyes of American people over whodunnit. What a lying, contriving, manipulative woman she is, who lies so easily that you wonder whether truth actually exists in her lexicon. Pitiful.



ICHEOKU says finally the circle is about being completed and American people and the world at large will come to know who in fact did the collusion. Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Congress paid Fusion GPS to produce the fake Russian dossier which former CIA chief James Clapper said was the basis for the Trump investigation. Yet, the investigation is still ongoing, despite the now established fact that the basis of it was a manufactured phony. But hey, we shall see.

ICHEOKU says still wondering WHAT HAPPENED and the reason 33,000 emails were deleted and bleach washed? Hopefully American people will soon confirm their suspicion that those shouting themselves hoax with Russian Collusion might indeed be the ones who actually colluded with the Russians. So much for the Russian Reset button. Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton, simply too crooked.



ICHEOKU says another lucky one that survived the abortionist's pincers from the over 360,000 unlucky ones that get flushed out each year. May God help us all have a better resolution about unwanted pregnancies.


ICHEOKU says from being disrespectful to the flag to being unappreciative of the services of the military to overall being anti America; NFL players must learn to check their political activism outside the stadiums. They must not kneel on our dime. ICHEOKU supports the president 1000% on this and hereby calls on every player to respect the sensibilities of the many differently opined fans who paid to watch a game and not to be made mad by their personal political agenda.


“The United States Government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity. Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy. Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organization under US law.” - Russell Brooks, United States of America.



"When you lose to somebody who has a 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself. So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that." - Senator Charles Schumer, Senior Senator from the State of New York and Democratic Minority Leader in the Senate. ICHEOKU says the statement spoke volume and it spoke for itself. Finally it seems the Democrats have finally turned the corner and are now ready to face up to their abysmal performance in the last presidential election by acknowledging that the American people indeed choose Trump over their Hillary Clinton. Thankfully, they will also now rest their "Russians Did It" cockamamie and find a message they can present to the people and for the good of the country.. Time to move the process forward is now as American people did not buy into the crap of a Russian collusion which they tried unsuccessfully to sell to them.


"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. As I said, they will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power." - President Donald John Trump. ICHEOKU says the Michelin Tire midget at Pyongyang is definitely courting trouble and messing with the wrong man. He probably thinks Barack Obama the redline president is still in office; but unbeknownst to him there is a new sheriff in town and his name is Donald John Trump and he does not mess around. Hopefully China can rein in the little man before he commits mass suicide with his North Korean people.



ICHEOKU says once again the diminutive midget of Pyongyang has been advised to heed the resolution of the United Nations firm stand against his continuing provocations; and that the total wiping out of his North Korea is now an option should he force the hands of the United States of American military. In a statement by the Defense Secretary Jim Maddog Mattis over its latest nuclear test, the secretary said “Our commitment among the allies are ironclad. Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.” ICHEOKU says does not really know the joker that guy has, but whatever it is will likely very soon be forced out. The world including ICHEOKU is waiting and watching.


ICHEOKU says the time has come and the time is now for the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra to be allowed to choose their self governance and exit from Nigeria going forward.. A referendum on the future of Biafra is a legitimate demand of the people and it is their right to so do. The people of the Nation of Biafra want to go their own way because of the hostilities from other member nations of Nigeria. Let the United Nations order a referendum and let the people decide their own Biafraexit.


"There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith. Terrorists do not worship God; they worship death. If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen and what will be the end result. Terrorism's devastation of life will continue to spread, peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence, and the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered. If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God." - President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says it is worth fighting for, self determination and it is not a crime for a people to aspire for self governance. Indigenous Peoples of Biafra are marching forward and hopefully they will soon get to the promised land. Viva Biafra.

"When two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury. Though little fire grows great with little wind, yet extreme gusts do blow out fire." - William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew


“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. Memories precipitated by love is the only true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. The most expensive bed in the world is the sick bed. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – Life. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others.” - SJ


"The threat of evil is ever present. We can contain it as long as we stay vigilant, but it can never truly be destroyed. - Lorraine Warren (Annabelle, the movie)


“I’m not that interested in material things. As long as I find a good bed that I can sleep in, that’s enough.” - Nicolas Berggruem, the homeless billionaire.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


It is very arrogant for the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to be discarding the noble efforts of the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters as mere miscreants' misbehavior. These patriotic freedom fighters are struggling to emancipate themselves and their people from the shackles of the Arewa group who have held Nigeria in a strangle-hold since her independence in 1960. The Niger Deltans' effort must therefore be commended instead of all the hot air being blown by these Nigeria desert dwellers, who have arrogated to themselves the perpetual leadership of Nigeria. The Niger Deltans' effort must be respected by all as both genuine, desirable and very patriotic. The Arewa Consultative Forum should tread very carefully as any misjudgment on their part might be the trigger needed to forever chase them out of their age-long parasitic relationship with Nigeria. Enough should now be enough! The ACF's bluff must be called and now is the time! How dare these Northern mallams, who have been siphoning what does not belong to them, blame the rightful owners of the wealth for agitating for fairness and asking for what is theirs? Only a thief can do this and that is exactly what these cattle-rearers have turned into within the Nigeria polity. They are leeches who contribute nothing practically to the GDP of Nigeria; yet they arrogate themselves the lord of the manor status in Nigeria and expect every other person to only ask, how high when told to jump.

The ACF through their minion, midget Sani Abacha killed Ken Saro Wiwa for protesting the injustice being perpetrated by Northern Nigeria elites on the peoples of Niger Delta area. This time, it will not happen, as the sleeping Deltans have woken up from their slumber to ask for what is rightfully theirs. How can a brute like Theophilus Danjuma from Taraba State in the North own oil wells and blocs worth over $3billion dollars in the Niger Delta; yet all the Okumagbas, Briggs, Pepples, Wiwas etc natural Niger Deltans own nothing of their oil wells and/or blocs? Yet this oil is located in the Niger Delta? Icheoku calls on every right thinking Nigerian especially from the South to support the efforts of the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters to secure their independence from these Northern oligarchs once and for all. If it means total activism, so be it; why would a group appropriate all that is profitable just for themselves only and pretend the rest will not mind. It is crazy and it is hogwash. Niger Delta is likely the tinder that will set Nigeria ablaze, if not properly handled both professionally and rationally. Enough of this injustice being perpetrated by these Hausa/Fulani ruling group. Were the situation to reverse, these mullahs will not tolerate the South as a leech like they have been doing all these years of Nigeria's existence? Imagine the chairman of the ACF, Mr. Ibrahim Haruna, calling on the Federal Government to "deal seriously with the situation". Insisting that the militants are "mere miscreants," and that the government "should not go into any form of negotiation with them". If this is not arrogance, nothing else qualifies for that acronym. Icheoku says that it is the Northerners including this sicko, Ibrahim Haruna, that are the miscreants who need to be dealt with in Nigeria and ruthlessly too. In their desire to hide their evil acts from the international community, Mr. Ibrahim Haruna of the ACF is urging that "there was no need to internationalize the issue since it is a domestic matter". And what domesticity are we talking about, Mr. Haruna? Please give the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters a break, Mr. Ibrahim Haruna! Haba aboki? Walahi; Menini banaso kai!

In their very own words, Arewa Consultative Forum noted the grief, the pains and the hardship associated with environmental degradation from oil exploration without commensurate efforts at mitigating such suffering in the past in the Niger Delta. Then a natural flowing concomitant question there-from is, who constituted these past governments that have neglected the Niger Delta all these several decades? The answer is the ACF controlled governments of Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalam Abubarkar and now the current sickly Umaru Yaradua. To make matters worse, the ACF has now purportedly appointed one of their own, Professor Ibrahim Gambari to head a government mediation conference between them and the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters and you ask yourself, how can this man be an impartial arbiter? This is the same Gambari from the North, who has been described as evil by the Niger Deltans because he called their hero, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others 'common criminals' before the international community in order to impress his master and cruel despot, the late General Sani Abacha. How can you be a judge in a case involving you? Why can't the ACF controlled federal government appoint an unbiased third party who has no dog in the fight, like Chief Emeka Ayaoku, ex-Commonwealth Secretary General of Igbo extraction or a Yoruba diplomat or any other person from the minority uninterested third party tribe to chair the peace conference between them and the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters? It shows that the ACF controlled federal government is not serious in their quest for a peaceful resolution of the raging conflict. Niger Delta should therefore follow through with their boycott and shun the so called Ibrahim Gambari's peace conference.

If it means total denial of access to the oil so be it, barring any equitable resolution of the conflict. As was recently decreed by the Joint Revolutionary Council of the Niger Delta, "as from next year's anniversary celebration of Late Isaac Adaka Boro, one of our heroes, there may be no more oil production in entire Ijaw territory! We will move our aged people unto production platforms for permanent residence. Women and children will take over rig sites and other offshore infrastructure. Unemployed youths will be moved into office spaces of oil companies. Unrest is not just a state of the mind. It is a course of action! No one will be allowed to take our oil without our permission anymore. Our blessing will not be allowed to be our curse”. However to achieve their objective the Niger Deltans must stay united as a house divided is bound to fall and this is the cardinal objective of ACF. ACF will do whatever it takes to infuse cracks in the foundation of the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters and certain utterances from some of the groups constituting the resistance is suggestive that their foundation is already shaking. MEND's Jomo Gbomo now speaks like he has been compromised by disassociating itself from the JRC and its actions; insisting that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is in no way affiliated with the JRC and they cannot act or take decisions on their behalf such as revoking the ceasefire they declared.

JRC said its combatants are prepared to confront the military where necessary as was witnessed a few days ago in the Bonga oil field and said the goal is to achieve self-determination for the region. To this objective, Icheoku says a loud AMEN! Continuing, JRC said, given the insincere nature of the Nigerian state, self-determination remains our ultimate goal. The Ijaw and Niger Delta territory is bigger in geographical size than Kuwait or Kosovo. We will reward the countries and nation states that assist our struggle. We will guarantee them good access to the oil and gas resources at the appointed time. This is the time for them to sow seeds. We can strike anywhere in the Niger-Delta and there is no barrier whatsoever for us in the creeks of Niger-Delta, which is our homeland. Nowhere is unreachable to us”. Icheoku commends this audacity of statement and says if it is true, they should let the ball roll. Icheoku heretofore declare her unflinching support for the freedom activities of the Niger Deltans and affirms that anything short of equitable resolution of the age-long injustice in the Niger Delta should continue meeting the present resistance and much more! Aluta Continua!


Anonymous said...

As The Niger Delta Crisis Worsens...ACF Warns Militants
• Says They Should Be Dealt With• Yar’Adua Not Favouring North• Militants Kill Perm Sec
The northern Nigeria socio-cultural apex group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has warned militants of the Niger Delta area to desist from their activities and take to dialogue as a way out of their predicament. Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Sunday, the chairman of the ACF, Gen. IBM Haruna, called on the federal government to "deal seriously with the situation". Calling the militants "miscreants," he urged government not to go into "any form of negotiation with them".
According to him, the leadership of the Niger Delta area has "given up its responsibilities. Even the NDDC has not lived up to its billing. Rather, the federal government is expected to do everything. What happened to the responsibilities placed on the local and state governments in those areas?"
On the planned Niger Delta summit, Haruna noted that there was no need to internationalise the issue "since it is a domestic matter".
The summit organised by the government will be headed by Professor
Ibrahim Gambari, a renowned negotiator on the international stage.
Haruna also considers it worrisome that the militants often talk about freedom. He said: "What disturbs me more than anything is the fact that these miscreants always talk about freedom. What do they want freedom from? Is it from the Nigerian state or whom? It seems to me that it is not just economic development they want."
On the charge that northerners are more in President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's government, he said: " I believe that those who say this want to engage in a system of blackmail."
Meanwhile, in a communiqué signed by Anthony N.Z.Sani, ACF's national publicity secretary, and made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday in Kaduna, yesterday, after its maiden National Executive Council meeting, ACF averred: "ACF has noted the allegation of northernisation against the current regime by some sections of the country. NEC has also taken note of the painstaking efforts by the presidential spokesman to dispel the misconceptions in the spirit of keeping people informed of developments and progress. However, it is uneasy with the tendency to limit application of provisions for Federal Character to appointments only. This is not correct because both the letter and spirit of Federal Character are intended to make governance an act of balancing competing demands to find expression. For example, access to national resources includes appointments, employment, projects and major contracts".
The forum further stated that whenever it is reported that the North carts home gold medals in misery indices up the rear in human development index compared to the South, the apostles of fairness and justice feign ignorance, and that considering the past experience in the preceding government when the region simply could not partake in the privatisation exercise and bank consolidation, and was alienated in all major contracts, including those in the power and energy sector.
Arguing that it is not by its design that the North is unable to fill its quota in federal higher educational institutions, nor happy not to have private universities compared with southern Nigeria that has over 20, they therefore called for full application of the federal character provisions in the distribution of all accesses to national resources, and not in appointments only.
The communiqué also frowned at the jumbo pay and generous allowances public holders get, against the economic reality of the nation, stating that it tends to make politics and public offices better business, hence the drift from the private sector to politics by most able-bodied Nigerians. The result, ACF said, is an infirm private sector and cut-throat politics which has become a contest for survival, and also the transparent corruption whereby executive and legislative arms at state level connive and award themselves remunerations along with perquisites that make them live in affluent islands surrounded by a sea of misery, saying: "There should be value for money in our practice of governance. Consider a public officer leaving the office with full salary and allowances is still entitled to gratuity and a befitting house at the location of his choice. This practice offends many people's sense of justice."
And the ACF noted with great concern the wide disparity that exists between the federal government's campaign against corruption and the apparent complacent attitudes to same by the state governments, arguing that if there must be cultural renaissance in the polity, it must be inspired by the three tiers of government across the country and not be the responsibility of the national government alone.
On the lingering crises in the Niger Delta region of the country, the Arewa Consultative Forum said: "We note with regrets the festering militant resurgence in the Niger Delta region. But no one with a heart would not sympathise with the zone over the grief, the pains and the hardship associated with environmental degradation from oil exploration without commensurate efforts at mitigating such suffering in the past. Yet it must be pointed out that recent regimes have embarked on spirited efforts to address the problems of the Niger Delta region. Such efforts range from OMPADEC through NDDC to full implementation of 13% derivation. That accounts for why a state in the Niger Delta region would be able to have a budget of N377 billion while another state in the same country would have N53 billion as its budget.
"In fact, as recent as last month, some states in the Niger Delta region took home as much as N42 billion while many of the non-oil producing states went home with barely N6 billion. This is as good as resource control".
ACF then appealed to the people of the region to have a rethink of their manner of agitations with a view to improving management practice of resources that are made available to them as well as to embark on constructive engagements with the rest of the country in the national interest of fairness, socio-economic justice and for unity of the country.
Tragedy struck the oil-rich state of Bayelsa yesterday when a permanent secretary with the state oil service, Mr. Ekpareba Apiri, was killed by yet to be identified assailants. Apiri had earlier been abducted from his country home at Okodi in Ogbia local government area only for his corpse to be dumped at his doorstep the following day.
Also killed in a separate incident was the embattled militia leader,Prince Igodo, by armed men believed to be members of the factional groups that have engaged him in a week-long battle for supremacy along the waterways and creeks of the Southern Ijaw local government council of the state. LEADERSHIP Sunday gathered yesterday that the late permanent Secretary, had been abducted on Friday at his country home where had gone for the burial of a relative. He was allegedly abducted while was hosting guests after the interment.
A source in the community said when the youths got to the house, they shot sporadically into the air to scare away the people before abducting him. They further told our reporter that upon his abduction, APIRI's captors told him: "You are Apiri, the person we have been looking for. "The source said Apiri followed the youths and efforts to find him that night proved abortive until the wee hours of the morning when his corpse was found at his doorstep.
The Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ibokette Iniobong confirmed the killing of Apiri, but assured that the police have commenced investigations into the matter.
Our reported gathered that Igodo was trailed by his assailants until they caught up with him at Emete in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
But many residents of the state capital were doubtful about the death of Prince Igodo as similar reports of his being killed had, twice, graced the pages of some dailies but were later proved false by security operatives.
Before his killing, Igodo was living in hiding following the attack on his base at Opuama that left him injured in both legs. His killers are believed to be youths belonging to Tom Ateke's militia him and ended his life.
Sources said he had been subjected to torture beginning 4.30pm Friday, June 27, when his two hands were cut off and he was left to bleed to death.
One source told LEADERSHIP Sunday, "Yes, it is true they have killed him. You know Igodo was terrorising the people. We tried to advise him, but he would not listen. A fly that refuses to heed advice will follow the corpse into the grave."
But the authorities of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in Bayelsa State said since they had received similar news of the death of the notorious militia leader, they would to see his body to confirm that he was dead.
Speaking with Leadership on telephone, Commander of the JTF, Lt. Col. Chris Musa said "yes, we have heard it as a rumour but we can not accept it until we see the body."
On their part, the State Committee on Peace and Conflict Resolution confirmed the death of the militia leader, but stated that the details are still sketchy. Speaking with Leadership on telephone, the Media Officer of the Committee, Mr. Alphine Ogoh said "the committee has just received the news but still waiting for details."

Anonymous said...

Oil production must stop in 2009 – Militants• Vow to attack N’ Delta Summit participants By Daniel AlabrahSunday, June 29, 2008
•MilitantsPhoto: Sun News Publishing
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Militants in the Niger Delta continue to talk tough and heighten tension in the area regardless of the ceasefire called by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).One of the groups, the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC), which claims to be an amalgam of the MEND, Martyrs Brigade and the Reformed Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, has warned that it would halt oil exploration activities in the region, especially the Ijaw territory, by 2009.“From the next anniversary (celebration) of (late) Isaac Boro next year, there may be no oil production in Ijaw territory anymore. We will move our aged people unto production platforms for permanent residence. Women and children will take over rig sites and other offshore infrastructure. Unemployed youths will be moved into office spaces of oil companies. “Unrest is not just a state of the mind. It is a course of action. No one will be allowed to take our oil without our permission anymore. Our blessing will not be allowed to be our curse,” the JRC stated through its spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte.The group had on Wednesday called off the unilateral ceasefire MEND declared 24 hours earlier after the former claimed the Nigerian armed forces launched attacks on militant camps in obedience to the directive of President Umaru Yar’Adua. But MEND has dissociated itself from the JRC and its actions just as it insisted that its ceasefire was in force.“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is in no way affiliated with the JRC and they cannot act or take decisions on our behalf such as revoking the ceasefire we declared. The ceasefire remains valid,” its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, also stated in an electronic mail response to Sunday Sun enquiry.The JRC, however, said it called off the ceasefire “to stir up the various groups agitating for the liberation and emancipation of the Niger Delta,” adding that the purpose was not for war as “wars are capital intensive.”But it said its combatants were prepared to confront the military where necessary “as witnessed a few days ago” even as it said the goal is to achieve self-determination for the region. “Given the insincere nature of the Nigerian state, self-determination remains our ultimate goal. The Ijaw and Niger Delta territory is bigger in geographical size than Kuwait or Kosovo. We will reward the countries and nation states that assist our struggle. We will guarantee them good access to the oil and gas resources at the appointed time. This is the time for them to sow seeds.“Ijaws and Niger Deltans should have free entry and automatic citizenship to and in countries like the United States and imperialist Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland,”On the proposed Niger Delta Summit, both the JRC and MEND restated their opposition to the forum and Prof Ibrahim Gambari as chairman of its Steering Committee. But while MEND said it would not partake in a summit that excludes Henry Okah, its leader who is being tried in camera on gunrunning and treason charges by the Federal Government, the JRC vowed to attack any Ijaw elder and leader who attends the Gambari-chaired summit. “Gambari is evil. He called Ken Saro-Wiwa and others 'common criminals' before the international community in order to impress his master and cruel despot, (the late General) Sani Abacha. “We will not partake in the summit. Not only that, we will punish anyone who attends the summit…Anyone who attends will be punished somehow. The punishment will stick for a long time.“How can you hold a summit when you are a keeping a key participant, Henry Okah, in solitary confinement and passing him through a Gestapo-type secret trial?...The whole thing is a concert in deceit.”The militant group contended that rather than hold another conference, the Federal Government should implement the report of the General Alexander Ogomudia Panel on the Niger Delta, which was set up by the immediate past Olusegun Obasanjo administration as a starting point for further negotiations. “We are not greedy people. The Ogomudia Report is not in itself exhaustive and satisfactory to us but it took a lot of effort by key stakeholders to get the report prepared. The demands and positions in that report satisfied quite a few people. Let them dust the report and tell us why it cannot be revisited,” it stated.
Bonga Field attack: MEND Commander opens up

Written by Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Having recovered from the shock inflicted on it by attack on its 60 square- kilometre $3.6b Bonga Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel and deepwater sub-sea infrastructure, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SPDC), a subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant, Shell, last Wednesday, resumed oil production on the facility.
Fighters from the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) had on Thursday, June 19, sailed 220 kilometers of open sea without men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta allegedly hearing sounds of their speedboats and observing any strange movement.
In fact, the location of the FSPO with a current nameplate production of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and a target of raising the country’s crude oil production to some four million barrels per day by 2010 was calculated to make it out-of-the-way and impregnable to militants.
The group had declared an unilateral cease-fire 24 hours after the attack. However, Shell is returning to the oil installation under the heavy watch of two Nigerian Navy frigates.
How the militants got to the Bonga field got to the facility located in Oil Operating Licence (OPL) 212, approximately 120- kilometer (75 miles) offshore Nigeria, in water depths of more than 1,000 meters and attacked it is still a puzzle to the Nigerian security agencies.
The security agencies are said to be at sea in finding answer to this question. To this end, it is widely speculated that the militants who carried out the June 19 attack had support from some soldiers who probably turned their eyes the other way while the heavily armed militants zoomed past.
Meanwhile, as the security chiefs: Lt. General Luka Yusuf (Army), Air Marshal Paul Dike (Air Force) and Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye (Navy) met with the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Andrew Owoye-Azazi Monday, June 23, on the surprise attack, another offshore facility of the SPDC in Rivers State was almost blown up but for the timely intervention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC). IYC was said to have got wind of the attack and reportedly contacted wanted Rivers warlord, Ateke Tom, to stop the attackers said to be criminals.
Unconfirmed account had it that the boys from Ateke Tom’s Niger-Delta Vigilante Force (NDVF) clashed with another militant group, which was resisting the plan of the NDVF to establish another militant camp in Bayelsa State. In the ensuring fight, no fewer than 20 persons, including a militant leader were killed.
However, national president of the IYC, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, told Saturday Vanguard, that “What would have been another calamity after the Bonga field attack was averted by the IYC when we contacted Ateke Tom to stop some aggrieved armed youths, who initially claimed they were members of the MEND from bombing Shells EA field in Rivers State.”
However, Saturday Vanguard was able to locate the MEND commander that led the attack on Bonga field for a chat. The commander explained the actual reasons for their action, the source of their strength and confidence, as well as the group’s military or no military connection to their offensive and lots more.
We can strike anywhere “The number one reason is to let the Federal Government and its security agencies know that we can strike anywhere in the Niger-Delta and there is no barrier whatsoever for us in the creeks of Niger-Delta, which is our homeland. “Look, I can travel anywhere in the Niger-Delta.
I can travel out of Nigeria by speedboat. If what they are thinking is that we cannot get to the Bonga field or any other offshore facility, they are joking. Nowhere is unreachable to us”, the commander said. The MEND commander went on to say that “Shell thinks that we are fools.
The company sacked a lot of Niger-Deltans from their employment when we are asking for more jobs for our people under the guise of restructuring.
But the truth is that they are taking their production off shore where they think that the military will protect them. That is part of the reason we went there to tell them that no place is safe for them in the Niger-Delta, except they realize that they have to give jobs to our people and provide us with development incentives.
We are telling them that we know their game plan and that it will not work.” MEND in a statement after the attack said, “The location for today’s attack was deliberately chosen to remove any notion that off-shore oil exploration is far from our reach.
The oil companies and their collaborators do not have any place to hide in conducting their nefarious activities. “We use this opportunity to ask the oil majors to evacuate their expatriate staff from Nigeria until the issues in the Niger Delta have been addressed and resolved. Oil and gas tankers are also warned to avoid Nigerian waters.
They stand the risk of laden crude oil or natural gas tankers being attacked”, it stated. No soldier aided us On whether soldiers aided the group, the militant leader described the Nigerian soldiers as enemies, asking, “How will anybody suggest that soldiers aided us?
We have no business with Nigerian soldiers. They are our enemies because they know that we are fighting for our rights. Yet, they allow the Nigerian government to use them to fight us and destroy our communities.
They think we are fools but I want to tell you that we are not fools. “We have the map and chart of all the oil facilities in the Niger-Delta. We know the topography of the area. It is our homeland, and we are used to the oceans and the terrain.
They should stop wasting their time thinking that soldiers aided us. No Nigerian soldier aided us. We have warned them to stay clear of our camp and any of them that we see near our camp will be treated as an enemy except otherwise proven”, he added.
On the eve of the attack, the MEND commander told Saturday Vanguard that some Nigerian soldiers came close to one of the militant camps with eight gunboats on Tuesday and equally sent a spy plane to the den.
But when the militants gave the soldiers a little time to leave the place and they failed, the commander said he went with some of his men to confront and chase them away. MEND in an electronic mail, dated, Wednesday, June 25, signed by Jomo Gbomo on the incident had said that “Around 1900Hrs today, Tuesday, June 24, 2008, only 19 Hours away from a Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) unilateral cease-fire aimed at restoring peace, the Nigerian military blocked the channel leading into one of our major camps with eight heavily armed gun boats in preparation for what seemed like a dawn invasion.
“Our fighters headed towards the army position and fired warning shots to leave or be confronted. As our fighters approached the enemy in over 50 war boats, the eight gun boats turned and fled from the area thereby averting a clash and maintaining the on-going cease-fire.”
The group in the email had reiterated its willingness to respect its unilateral cease-fire but would “not hesitate to call it off at the slightest provocation or threat.
Why we did not blow up the field MEND had claimed that its commander who led the Thursday, June 19, offensive on the Bonga Field was overrun by emotion and failed to carry out one of his specific instructions of blowing up the place after the supposedly fortified installation was accessed.
Saturday Vanguard asked the commander why his emotions failed him. “It is one of those things in life. My instructions were clear but I took pity when I remembered that human beings were inside.
I have told you that we will cripple the oil facilities in the region if the federal government does not develop the Niger-Delta. Our aim is not to kill human beings or even take them as hostages. It is only circumstances that will push one to such an extreme thing.
“We had no challenge from the military and they cannot match us, and because we have made our point by coming to where they think we cannot get to, I decided to tell the other fighters that we should go. If not, we were armed with enough Rocket Propelled Grenades and other weapons to bring it down.
“To be candid, I left the place without blowing it up because of God and human being, not because of any protective measure or automatic shutdown of the facility in the event of any attack. We know everything about the FPSO before we went there. Nobody should delude himself”, he went on.
MEND had stated that its detonation engineers would not spare the facility if it had cause “to pay a visit to the facility again.” Nigerian helicopters, gun boats are mere toys The MEND commander confirmed to Saturday Vanguard that the Ijaw god known as Egbesu is the unseen power behind their bravery and hope.
This was corroborated by the IYC president, Dr. Ekiyor in a chat with Saturday Vanguard on phone. “Do you people pray before going on such operation?” Saturday Vanguard had asked the commander. “Why not? We pray to our gods. They are the ones that lead us in the battle.
Our gods are angry at the government’s treatment of us, the Ijaw people of the Niger-Delta and the entire Niger-Delta people. They are the ones that direct us. We don’t do anything without hearing from our gods.
They tell us what we are to do and how we must do it. We are just messengers doing the bidding of the Ijaw gods.
I don’t believe that anything will happen to me under the cover of Egbesu and I can go anywhere once we have been told to move”, he said. According to him, “We see the military helicopters, gun boats and all other weapons the security agents say they have as toys, mere toys in the hands of the Ijaw gods.”
Coordinator of the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Joseph Evah told this paper last week that the Ijaw gods of Egbesu, Osuopele and Benikrukru were using the MEND as foot soldiers in the battle against the forces that want to control their resources and eclipse them from the earth planet. A source hinted close to the militants said, “They have unorthodox doctors who consult the Ijaw gods for them, the gods tell them whether it safe or not safe to go for an operation.
At times, depending on how the gods want it, they can even make rain fall in the particular place they want them to carry out the operation or at certain places only to protect them.
Those boys are heavily fortified. Some of them, no bullet can enter them and they perform the appropriate rituals before they set out.” Celebration galore Saturday Vanguard gathered that it was celebration galore in the MEND camp when the fighters returned to base after the Bonga field attack.
“Yes, it was a major victory over the armed forces of Nigeria, which have been boasting that they will deal with us. So, we had to celebrate but don’t ask me how we celebrated. We celebrated in our own way, that is what I can tell you.”
Summit is waste of time The commander said the federal government was merely wasting time with the summit, as no summit was held before Abuja was developed or before the Third Mainland Bridge was built in Lagos
. “What has come of the several committees they set up in the past on the Niger-Delta that they want to hold another summit?”, he queried. “Bonga Field is in Bayelsa State. They are making money there to develop other parts of the nation without developing the place. Go and see things for yourself.
There are no hospitals, schools, good drinking water for the people but where they do their work is like heaven.”
There was an indication, few days ago, however, that since the MEND had called a cease-fire, and it is most likely that it would simmer down on its strong opposition to the summit but the information was not confirmed by the hierarchy of the MEND.
Nevertheless, there was no sign from the Niger-Delta elders that the people of the region were ready to back down on their refusal to attend the summit.
Release Henry Okah Our source in the MEND dismissed the insinuation that the group was not capable of sustaining a fight with the military, hence it hurriedly announced a cease fire after the Bonga field attack, saying, “We made it clear that it was an unilateral cease-fire and this was because the Niger-Delta elders pleaded with us to do so and allow them to take up the issues once again with the Federal Government.
They assured us that we have made our point and we should leave them to take our case to the government. “We told them that we want the government to release Henry Okah if they want peace in the Niger-Delta and that summit is useless with Okah in chains.
We know their reasons for their refusal to attend the summit, which is that the solutions to the Niger-Delta crisis had since been proffered and that what is needed is the implementation of the solutions and we share the same view”, the source stated Youths enlist with MEND In response to enquiry via electronic mail by Saturday Vanguard before the declaration of cease-fire by the MEND, Jomo Gbomo confirmed that aggrieved youths from different ethnic groups of the region were enlisting for training at the different MEND camps in the creeks.
His words, “Yes it is true that we have been getting an overwhelming response of recruits made up of not only Ijaw nationals but from all the different tribes inside the Delta. In fact, we did not expect such a response to our call. Of course, we are screening people carefully so the camps are not infiltrated by government spies.”
Though the militant Jomo Gbomo did not disclose the strength of the intakes for strategic reasons, as her put it, intake is size-able. “Others include reservists and we are recalling fighters back to the barracks who are on leave.
The Niger Delta has had it up to its neck and many of the youths have been waiting for this opportunity to serve.
We are eager for the fight to start so that more arms can be recovered from dead soldiers and those that will just handover their weapons and ammunition without firing a shot,” he explained.
On the warning that it would declare an oil war if any of its locations were attacked by soldiers, the militant asserted, “We said that any attack on a militant camp or community after Yar’Adua’s statement is tantamount to a declaration of war.
What the government has failed to realise is that as soon as its offensive begins, all militants, cultists, pirates, etc, will drop their differences and unite. It is a divide and rule tactics to try and put militants under two categories.
We have always prepared for such an eventuality and the armed forces will be disgraced.” Strategy On the militants’ camps that were recently destroyed by the JTF, he said, “In the first place, those transit camps attacked had a maximum of say 5-20 rifles and a few men.
Yet they repelled the JTF who had an advantage of surprise. Size or the latest acquisition of weapons in guerrilla warfare does not mean superiority.
Take the American defeat in Vietnam and the National Army’s defeat in China by the communists considered to be rag tag. Our strategy is not to confront the army but to play a cat and mouse game and draw them into close hand to hand combat. They have played into our hands so far.
The fighters are not afraid of being wiped out instead they are eagerly waiting for action. Foreigners in MEND camp “We have always had foreign instructors who are representatives of the weapons supplier or some are there as individuals willing to support a fight against injustice.
They will not engage the enemy, but will always be in the background with the commanders co-ordinating strategies. Okah’s freedom The timing of his release matters.
If Henry is released when the confrontation has reached an advanced stage, then there might be little his release can do but he surely has an influence to ask us to cease-fire.
Attack on soldiers Because of our war rites, we never fire the first shot in neutral grounds. But we will confront any enemy close to our camp when sighted and seize their weapons if they are not hostile. The soldiers brought in to fight us from Northern Nigeria should not expect their bodies to be sent home for burial. Any of them captured will be fed to the crocodiles.
While those from the region will be treated as traitors if there is proof that a single bullet is missing from their magazine. Traitors will face a slow and painful death. Panic in riverine communities Following the attack on Bonga field, the Federal Government deployed more troops and warships to the region.
The result is that the riverine dwellers are now living in fear. An Ijaw opinion leader from Ekeni in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Timi Beimebo said the residents in over 20 communities in the local government and the neighbouring Ekeremor live in fear following the deployment of warships and helicopters by the government.
Mr. Beimebo said that the natives of the communities who were mainly fishermen were afraid to come out and do their job because of the heavy presence of military men in their communities. His words: “The MEND had claimed responsibility for the attack on the Bonga oil field.
The soldiers should take their battle to the MEND and not bringing their warships to patrol our communities. But they are planning to attack Ijaw communities under the guise of looking for militants.
We will not accept this. If anybody attacks our communities, we will hold the Shell Petroleum Development Company and the Chevron, Texaco Oil Company responsible because we know they are the ones working behind the scene to eliminate us.”
He said the communities were begging the government to leave them alone and face the MEND, which they have identified as the attackers. He asserted that there was palpable tension in the coastline communities of Agge, Amatu in Ekeremor and others in the Southern Ijaw and some people had already fled the communities.
“As at now, we cannot fish. We cannot live our normal life,” he complained, saying that these were innocent citizens who knew nothing about the attack by the MEND. “Even though we are not saying that the attack on the Bonga field is good, we should not be made to suffer for what we have no hands in, that is what we are saying,” he added.
Beimebo stated that soon after the attack by the MEND, a senior official of the Bayelsa State government said he knew those that carried out the attack and that they were his children.
He said the Federal Government should ask him to show them the people, rather than causing needless tension in the riverine communities with warships.
He urged President Umaru Yar’Adua to explore a good way of resolving the matter, saying that those advising him to use force on the militants were his enemies who do not wish him well, as he would not be able to rule the country if the situation worsens more than it is at the moment.
Recall our people, communities tell Shell Besides the running battle with militants, the SPDC, which appears to be the most hit in the recent attacks is not finding it easy with some host communities in the region over its re-entry programme and sacking of indigenes.
The Isoko ethnic nationality in Delta State, had already issued a 4-day ultimatum to the oil giant to reinstate its 15 kinsmen that were recently fired by the multi-national oil company. Bayelsa community wants Shell out.
Also, the crisis between the company and land owners of Gborou, an oil-rich community in Bayelsa State has deepened, as the communities threatened to roll out drums of war against the company and one of its servicing firms if they fail to vacate the community within seven days.
Ughievren, an Urhobo community in Delta State is also at loggerheads with the SPDC over the sack of its indigenes in the recent restructuring exercise by the company.
All are spitting fire against the firm. The President-General of Isoko Development Union (IDU), Elder Peter Ovie Erebi, addressing newsmen at the end of an extra ordinary meeting of the body held in Ole condemned the manner no fewer than 15 Isoko indigenes were sacked by SPDC recently.
“We are proud of our people in high places, hence we are today condemning in strong terms the sack of Isoko indigenes in all the departments in Shell, and it is unfair and unacceptable to the Isoko nation.
What is the crime of the Isoko people to deserve this type of treatment?
Information available indicated that the sack was not based on performance. “Following what is going on in Isoko land, it is necessary we come together in this form to express our anger over the sacking of our sons and daughters in Shell.
This is a land that has taken care of Shell for close to 50 years and up till now, we have nothing to show for it; the only reward we have is to forcefully retrench our sons and daughters,” he said.
And in Gborou community in Bayelsa State, the land owners insist the SPDC must vacate the community now.
Their threat raises doubt as to the success of the SPDC Re-Entry programme, especially now that the company is at the stage of crossing the Trans-Ramos truck line that was severely damaged during youth restiveness two years, ago.
Spokesman of the group, Alaowei Afro Biukeme, who conveyed the ultimatum to the companies while addressing newsmen in Warri at the weekend, warned against non-compliance to the directive to vacate their land after the expiration of the seven days.
He stated that the only alternative to peaceful resolution was for the companies to immediately re-open negotiation with the land owners of the community who had tolerated so much injustice and deprivation as owners over the years.
According to him, “Since the commencement of the re-entry programme, SPDC has been playing tricks with the issues that bother on dealing directly with the land owners, rather they (the companies) prefer to re-open a new contract with the community at the expense of the owners of the land where these operations take place.
We will no longer tolerate such clandestine move by SPDC to scheme us out of our entitlement as land owners. The companies should come and re-open negotiation with us directly and not the community.
The standard practice had been that we, the land owners reach a workable agreement with the community on the percentage to make available from whatever is being paid to us,” he said.
Consequently, “We advise SPDC to disregard earlier agreement with Aghoro II community and re-acquire the land in question from the direct owners,” he said, adding that they were weary of SPDC divide and rule tendencies with their host communities.
JTF is fueling the crisis — Clark Ijaw nationalist leader, Chief Edwin Clark in a recent open letter of commendation and appreciation to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Luka Yusuf, dated, June 10, on his clear “clear understanding of the problems of the Niger-Delta”, identified dialogue and political solution as the panacea to the lingering crisis in the Niger Delta region, saying that coercion and militarization would only exacerbate it. The Ijaw leader condemned a situation whereby innocent citizens were tormented or harassed by soldiers who act as if they were in the war front with little or no provocation saying the action was creating unnecessary tension in the area.
He called on the Joint Task Force, code named ‘Operation Restore Hope’’, to dismantle all the “unnecessary’’ road blocks and allow the Police to perform its traditional duty of maintaining law and order. Chief Clark commended the Army boss for his statement that military option was not the best to the Niger-Delta problem, pointing that members of the JTF were now doing extra security jobs for the oil companies, like providing local securities at flow stations, depots, etc, which the host communities hitherto used to do to eke out a living.
His words: “Petty contracts which hitherto, the host communities used to obtain from the oil companies are now being given to the military in the name of security.
The situation is becoming unbearable and the Commanders of these forces should be advised not to interfere or carry out jobs meant for the local communities.
“This is one of the reasons why the withdrawal of the military from the Niger Delta region has become a near impossibility, because immediately there is demand by the people for the gradual withdrawal of the military whenever there is relative peace in the area, the military will no doubt act in such a way to come into confrontation with the youths which they referred to as militants,” he said.
He urged the military to be their brother’s keeper, adding that the problem in the region was no longer a domestic affair, but international which he said must be treated with utmost care and diplomacy.
Chief Clark carpeted the Federal Government and some corrupt governors for doing nothing to ameliorate the plight of the people in the area, saying reports from international agencies on the region were “ sorrowful and embarrassing’’.

Anonymous said...

Niger Delta governors, elders reject Gambari
By Sola Adebayo and Ihuoma Chiedozie
Published: Tuesday, 1 Jul 2008
Governors of the Niger Delta states and opinion leaders have rejected the choice of United Nations Under Secretary-General, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as the chairman of the Steering Committee of the proposed Niger Delta Summit.

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Prof. Ibrahim Gambari

They argued at a meeting with Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Sunday that the controversy generated by Gambari’s appointment could undermine the summit.

A source at the meeting which was held behind closed doors, disclosed this to our correspondents hours after Jonathan attributed the Niger Delta crisis to the attitude of oil companies to their host communities and indigenes.

Our source said, “After lengthy deliberations, the Niger Delta leaders agreed to a summit, but rejected Gambari as its chairman on the grounds that the sentiments already expressed against his choice were enough to scuttle the entire process.”

The source added that the governors and leaders gave the Federal Government some conditions to meet in order to ensure the success of the summit.

Ondo State Governor Olusegun Agagu, was quoted by the source as advocating a standing secretariat manned by credible people to monitor the implementation of the summit’s resolutions and expedite action on the development of the Niger Delta.

One of the leaders, Chief Edwin Clark (Delta State), was said to have called on the Federal Government to establish a special committee to look into all the reports that had been produced on how to develop the Niger Delta with a view to ensuring their implementation.

Senator Uche Chukwumerije(Abia State), according to the source, advised that the special committee should synthesise all reports and prepare a programme of action for the development of the region.

Chukwumerije was said to have added that the committee should only be chaired by anyone fully trusted by the people of the Niger Delta.

Jonathan had earlier explained that the choice of Gambari was hinged on his credentials in conflict resolution and international stature.

He said, “We believe Gambari carries with him the UN. More so, the chairman is meant to moderate and not to override; and there are other skilled professionals in the committee.”

Jonathan assured the Niger Delta leaders and governors that President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration was committed to implementing the recommendations of the summit.

He said, “Previous recommendations, from the well known Willinks’ Report till date had no compelling force for government’s action and commitment.

“Even the current master plan does not compel anyone to action. This summit will be one where The President and the Federal Government will be part and parcel of the final resolutions.

“The essence of the summit is to take a major step forward from previous reports and recommendations on Niger Delta development.

“We are not going back to design another master plan. The summit, among other resolutions, will give a specific time frame, outline targets and establish a framework for actualising the already existing roadmap.”

The meeting was attended by over 100 political and opinion leaders, including former governors James Ibori(Delta) and Obong Victor Attah(Akwa Ibom).

Also on Monday, the vice-president identified the failure of oil companies to develop manpower and produce some of their equipment in the Niger Delta as some of the factors that promoted militancy in the region.

He also claimed at a meeting with the Honorary International Investors Council, that oil smugglers had hijacked the Niger Delta struggle by sponsoring violence in the region.

Jonathan, who spoke shortly after Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan listed the panacea for the Niger Delta crisis, said the unwillingness of the oil companies to invest in manpower development in the region was responsible for the high number of unemployed youths, many of whom had taken to militancy.

Jonathan said, “It is unfortunate that all the inputs in the oil industry are imported. The bulk of their materials are imported. How do you stimulate the local economy?

“If the operators can invest in the manufacturing of some of the inputs in the oil industry locally, that would generate a number of employment opportunities.

“We must look for ways to reduce the number of free men that can be used for militant activities.”

He, therefore, called on the oil companies to establish companies in the region.

The vice-president also informed the investors that the Yar’Adua administration had been consulting with stakeholders on how to resolve the crisis in the region.

At the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman, informed the council that militant activities had led to a 1.6 per cent decline in Nigeria’s oil Gross Domestic Product.

He also said that Nigeria recorded an average of 7.3 per cent growth in the real Gross Domestic Product in the last four years.

The minister attributed the growth to the “remarkable performance” of the non-oil sector, which recorded a 10.2 per cent growth.

In Ethiope, Delta State, Uduaghan advised the management of the oil companies to accord priority to the wellbeing of their host communities.

He said the crises in the Niger Delta were partly rooted in the insensitivity of the oil firms to the interests of their immediate environment.

Uduaghan spoke at the inauguration/handing-over of the N50m Ovade Clinic, in Ethiope West Local Government Area to the authorities of the council. The medical facility was constructed and equipped by NNPC/PAN OCEAN Joint Venture.

The governor said the oil majors must, as a matter of priority, create employment opportunities and award contracts to the indigenes of their host communities.

Anonymous said...

Oil Thieves Take Over Niger Delta – VP

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Golu Timothy

Vice President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday blamed the escalating restiveness in the Niger Delta region to the activities of those he described as "oil thieves", who, he added, have taken over the genuine agitation for the emancipation of the people.

He also blamed oil smugglers as the brain behind the sponsorship of militant activities in the region.

Speaking at a meeting of the Honorary International Investor Council, at the State House, Jonathan said the genuine agitations of the Niger Delta people have been hijacked by criminals.

He said, "Naturally, at the beginning, people were quite friendly with the oil companies, no security was deployed to guard the oil facilities. Over the period people began to believe they were not getting enough.

"What is happening today is that genuine agitation has been taken advantage of by people who want to make money through stealing and smuggling crude oil.

"Those people who are interested in stealing and smuggling crude oil sponsor most of the aggressive activities in the area. People are now exploiting it and making big money".

He blamed the oil companies for their failure to invest in the production of their production inputs in the oil-producing communities.

According to him, if the oil companies had established industries for the production of their inputs locally, the youth in the area would not be free to engage in militancy.

He said, "It is unfortunate that all the inputs in the oil industry are imported. The bulk of their materials are imported. How do you stimulate the local economy?

"If the operators can invest in the manufacturing of some of the inputs in the oil industry locally, that would generate a number of employment opportunities.

"We must look for ways to reduce the number of free men that can be used for militant activities".

Jonathan called on the oil companies to invest and establish companies in the region.

The Vice-President also informed the investors that the Federal Government has been consulting with stakeholders towards a final resolution of the crisis in the region.

Jonathan said the items on the agenda of the meeting include the Niger Delta, transportation, telecommunication, food security and investment opportunities.

The Vice-President appealed to the Council for help and advice.

According to him, "The essence of the proposed Niger Delta Summit is to take a major step forward from previous reports and recommendations on Niger Delta development. We are not going back to design another master plan.

"The Summit, among other resolutions, will give a specific time frame, outline targets and establish a framework for actualising the already existing roadmap".

This is how the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, captured the essence of the upcoming Niger Delta Summit during the weekend at a crucial meeting with governors and leaders of ethnic nationalities of the nine oil producing states that make up the Niger Delta, at the State House, Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He pointed that the upcoming summit is not meant to merely add to the existing tons of documents, position papers and resolutions on the region, but to collate them into a single, generally acceptable document endorsed by the Federal Government.

Jonathan used the occasion to emphasise that the full participation and endorsement of the resolutions by the Federal Government, as well as an agenda for full-scale development of the Niger Delta region, would distinguish this effort from previous summits.

"Previous recommendations, from the well known Willinks’ Report till date, had no compelling force for government’s action and commitment. Even the current masterplan does not compel anyone to action.

"Mr. President and the Federal Government will be part and parcel of the final resolutions", he stated.

Jonathan explained that the choice of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as Chairman of the Steering Committee was hinged on the consideration of his remarkable credentials in conflict resolution and his international presence. He spoke against getting a foreigner to chair the Summit since no two sections of the country were at war.

"We believe Gambari carries with him the United Nations. More so, the chairman is meant to moderate and not to override, and there are other skilled professionals in the Steering Committee," he said.

After lengthy deliberations, the Niger Delta leaders agreed to a Summit, but rejected Gambari as its chair on the grounds that the sentiments already expressed against his choice are enough to scuttle the entire process.

In his contributions, Ondo State Governor, Chief Olusegun Agagu, advocated a standing secretariat of credible persons to monitor the implementation of the Summit’s resolutions and expedite action on the development of the Niger Delta.

Professor Sam Oyovbaire harped on the need for a technical committee of between five to nine persons to collate and scrutinize various recommendations and reports, from Willinks’ to the latest, with a specified period to receive additional submissions from Niger Deltans.

He said what the region needs is outright development, noting that had the Federal Government been executing specific developmental actions in the Niger Delta region on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, a Summit might have been out of the question.

Speaking in the same vein, Chief E.K. Clark called for an implementation committee to look into all the reports that have been produced on Niger Delta development with a view to ensuring a full-scale implementation.

Concurring, Senator Uche Chukwumerije said the committee will serve to synthesise all reports and prepare a programme of action. He also noted that headship of the committee should be anyone fully trusted by the people of the Niger Delta.

The meeting was attended by over 100 political and opinion leaders from the Niger Delta, including members of the National Assembly from the region, Clark, former Delta and Akwa Ibom governors, James Ibori and Obong Victor Attah; King Alfred Diette Spiff; former Petroleum Minister Chief Don Etiebet; former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia; Senators Uche Chukwumerije, Aniete Okon, Stella Omu; Ledum Mittee of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP; Madam Rita Lori Ogbebor and a host of other dignitaries.

Anonymous said...

MEND also says Gambari’s a wrong choice
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

•MEND fighters
Photo: Sun News Publishing
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The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has described the decision of the Federal Government to forge ahead with the Niger Delta summit with Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari as the Chairman of the steering committee as a diversionary tactic that would not work.

The group’s comment came as the Network of Freedom Fighters also kicked against the decision of the President Umar Yar’Adua to allow Gambari play a leading role in the summit.
MEND in a statement endorsed by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo, a copy of which was made available to Daily Sun said while the summit itself was a diversion, bringing a controversial figure such as Gambari to head it would compound the problem.
MEND noted that though it was still observing its ceasefire, any attack on any of its camp by the military would not be taken lightly.

On the continued trial of its detained leader, Henry Okah, the group said there could not be peace in the region unless he was set free.

MEND statement read in part: “The summit itself is a diversion, bringing a controversial figure such as Gambari is another deliberate diversion. MEND is focused on its key objective which is resource control and developing the tactics to compel government of the day to comply. We will leave the arguments for now to the various groups. A summit was not required to accelerate the development of Abuja.
“The 90 days truce was just a suggestion by Gambari. As you are aware, the military is planning an invasion of one of our camps. And even though we have declared a truce, our fighters all over the Niger Delta are on alert to take up some specific missions the moment an attack is being reported on any MEND camp. The theatre of conflict will spread outside the region.

“As long as Henry Okah is in detention there will be no end to the crisis. It may die down like a dormant volcano but will erupt later with even more force.”

The Network of Freedom fighters, also contended that the Niger Delta summit would not work without the release of Henry Okah.
The group, according to a statement signed by its spokesman, Nengi James, explained that the “likes of Gambari heading the summit is unacceptable and “is an insult “and indeed a systematical avoidance of the demands of the region.”

Anonymous said...

It’s insult for Gambari to talk about Niger Delta – David-West
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

•Prof. Tam David-West
Photo: Sun News Publishing
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Former Petroleum Minister, Professor Tam David-West, has slammed Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari over his insistence to chair the steering committee of the Niger Delta summit being proposed by the Federal Government.

Gambari, in a reaction to the widespread opposition to his appointment as chairman of the steering committee had, after a meeting with President Umar Yar’Adua last week, vowed not to reject the offer but called for a 90-day truce to enable him hold wider consultations with stakeholders and militants in the region.
Also, Gambari, in an interview in New York, said that with his experience in conflict resolution and his commitment as a patriotic Nigerian he and other members of the steering committee would address the Niger Delta problem in ways Nigerians would be proud of.

Daivd-West, a professor of Virology, who was Gambari’s colleague in the cabinet of the Buhari/Idiagbon military government, in an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, told him to shut up because his declarations was an insult to the entire people of the region.
Attesting to Gambari’s robust credentials as an academic par excellence, David-West, however, said this was not enough to make him chairman of the summit, as the issue of the Niger Delta was beyond his scope.

His words: “ He should shut up. It is an insult for him to talk on the Niger Delta issue. For Gambari to call for 90-day truce is an insult on the Niger Delta people. It is an insult on the militants who are freedom fighters. He was with me in the Buhari/Idiagbon government, so I know him very well. He is, no doubt, a qualified academic but the least most qualified to be at the Niger Delta summit to chair the committee or coordinate it.

“My stand against Gambari is not out of ignorance, but of facts. He is my personal friend and he knows, but the issue we have at hand is bigger than Gambari.”

David-West advocated that as an honourable man, Gambari should excuse himself from the summit since major stakeholders are against him, stressing that insisting on being at the summit, with the groundswell of opposition, was an indication that he had a personal interest to pursue and not the interest of the Niger Delta people.

Hear him: “He (Gambari) has no business at the summit. The only thing honourable for him to do is to excuse himself from the summit. He cannot say he would resign because he has not been appointed. He is just chairman-designate. He should save us all this trouble and tell President Umar Yar’Adua that he wishes to be excuse from the summit. I know him to be an honourable man. If he insists to be at the summit that means he has a personal interest and not the interest of the people of the Niger Delta. He is a brilliant and intelligent man, but the people of the Niger Delta said they don’t want him; elders say they don’t want him; the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) says it doesn’t want him.”

David-West also knocked Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan for allegedly doing a disservice to the people of the region, adding that for the Federal Government to insist on Gambari, with all the opposition, meant Jonathan was not representing the wishes of the Niger Delta people in government.
He said: “Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan is a great disservice to the Ijaw people. He is not there to represent the Ijaw people. If not, he would have been able to harness the views of Ijaw people and the Niger Delta people and present it to President Umar Yar’Adua that the people of the region do not want Gambari.”

Anonymous said...

Battle line
Niger Delta leaders to VP Jonathan: Make Gambari chairman, jeopardise summit
Tuesday, July 1, 2008

•VP, Goodluck Jonathan
Photo: Sun News Publishing
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The well publicized meeting of the governors and leaders of ethnic nationalities of the nine oil producing states that make up the Niger Delta with Vice President Goodluck Jonathan ended in Abuja with the leaders rejecting out rightly the choice of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as chairman of the steering committee of the proposed Niger Delta Summit.

After lengthy deliberations on the Niger Delta question and the way forward, the leaders said as desirable as the summit is, the choice of Gambari as its steering committee’s chair had put a question mark on it, pointing out that the sentiments already expressed against his choice were enough to scuttle the entire process.

The meeting was attended by over 100 political and opinion leaders from the Niger Delta, including members of the National Assembly from the region, former governors James Ibori and Victor Attah of Delta and Akwa Ibom states, former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia, the leader of the Ijaw National Council, Chief Edwin Clark, King Alfred Diette Spiff; former petroleum minister, Chief Don Etiebet, Senators Uche Chukumerije, Chief Aniete Okon, Chief Stella Omu; Mr. Ledum Mittee of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Madam Rita Lori Ogbebor and a host of other dignitaries.

A source close to the heated meeting quoted Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State as advocating a standing secretariat of credible persons to monitor the implementation of the summit’s resolutions and expedite action on the development of the Niger Delta.

Professor Sam Oyovbaire, in his contribution, harped on the need for a technical committee of between five to nine persons to collate and scrutinize various recommendations and reports, from Willinks to the latest, with a specified period to receive additional submissions from Niger Deltans.
He said what the region needed was outright development, noting that had the Federal Government been executing specific developmental actions in the Niger Delta region on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, the summit might have been out of the question.

Speaking in the same vein, Chief Edwin Clark called for an implementation committee to look into all the reports that had been produced on Niger Delta development, with a view to ensuring their full scale implementation.

On his part, Senator Uche Chukwumerije said the committee would serve to synthesise all reports and prepare a programme of action, emphasizing that the headship of the committee should be anyone fully trusted by the people of the Niger Delta.

Vice President Goodluck Jonathan stressed the importance of the upcoming summit, which he said would not only be different from past efforts, but also would set a specific time frame, outline targets and establish a framework for actualising the already existing roadmap.

He promised that it would not merely add to the existing tons of documents, position papers and resolutions on the region, but would instead collate them into a single, generally acceptable document to be endorsed by the Federal Government.

“Previous recommendations from the well known Willinks’ Report till date had no compelling force for government’s action and commitment. Even the current master plan does not compel anyone to action. This summit will be one where Mr. President and the Federal Government will be part and parcel of the final resolutions”, he stated.

Vice President Jonathan stressed that the full participation and endorsement of the resolutions by the Federal Government, as well as an agenda for full scale development of the Niger Delta region would distinguish the upcoming effort from previous summits.

He defended the choice of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, saying his (Gambari) remarkable credentials in conflict resolution as well as his stature in the international community recommended him to government.
“We believe Gambari carries with him the United Nations. More so, the chairman is meant to moderate and not to override, and there are other skilled professionals in the steering committee” he told an unimpressed audience.

Anonymous said...

N’Delta Summit: Soyinka Calls for Gambari’s Removal

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Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has called for immediate removal of Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as Chairman of the proposed Niger Delta Summit.
Soyinka, who was Chairman at a special event in honour of Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, by a committee of friends accused the Federal Government of being insensitive to the feelings of the Niger-Delta people, saying Gambari was the wrong choice for the parley.
At the reception tagged “Grand Reception Celebrating A Visionary and a Gentleman,” Soyinka suggested two individuals, including former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan and former United States of America President Jimmy Carter, as “objective people who should chair the summit,” adding that there were many other Nigerians who could do the job.
He said, "you cannot shackle your legs when you are about to thread the part of freedom and peace," and described Gambari as someone who has been rejected by most of the stakeholders in the area.
“If the people have said no, why keep such individual?” he querried
Daniel at the event, said challenges facing the country is beyond political party colour or name, but about what the instrument of the party is able to do to better the lots of the people.
He said this in reaction to Soyinka’s description of him as a good product on the wrong platform, referring to PDP.
In a statement signed by his Press officer, Mr Kehinde Onasanya, Daniel said this at a grand reception organised in his honour by his friends and associates tagged, “Grand Reception Celebrating a Visionary and a Gentleman,”in Lagos.
Chairman of the occasion, Professor Wole Soyinka, extolled the virtues of the governor, describing him as a performer in office but described the PDP "as a wrong platform.”
According to Daniel, “within the context of Nigeria, it is not really about the name of the party, it is about what the party and its instrument are able to do.”
He said the PDP in Ogun State has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that it was the party to beat, adding that 90per cent of the so-called progressives in other parties have been accommodated within the party.
He said “the solution to our problem is not about deciding which party you belong, we must begin to recognise that in South Africa, the ANC model is working and there is no excuse for non-performance.”
Daniel said rather, the challenge was to continue to press for a true federation where the federating units are defined and given autonomy, to correct the various lopsidedness in the allocation formula.
He said, “there is no alternative to PDP in the South-west, as the party is consistent in qualitative service delivery and ideals, rather than the “so called AD, ACD or AC progressives that continue to metamorphose from one identity to another.”
Among Speakers at the event were, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former military administrator of Ogun State, Rear Admiral Oladeinde Joseph(rtd), former Managing Director, Daily Times, Prince Tola Adeniji, Professor Tunde Makanju and Mrs Lola Abiola-Edewor, who described Daniel as hardworking, focused, and a result-oriented person

Anonymous said...

Gambari: FG, N’Delta Elders’ Meeting Deadlocked

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The meeting between Vice President Goodluck Jonathan and elders of the Niger Delta over Prof. Ibrahim Gambari's appointment as chairman, Steering Committee, Niger Delta Summit, has ended in a deadlock.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), though the Niger Delta elders agreed with the idea of the summit, they rejected Gambari as its chairman.
A source said the Vice President, however, explained that the choice of Gambari was based on his experience in conflict resolution at the international level.
It also quoted the Vice-President as saying there was no need to engage a foreigner for that role, since the country was not at war. "We believe Gambari carries with him the United Nations.
"More so, the chairman is meant to moderate and not to override, and there are other skilled professionals in the Steering Committee. "This Summit will be one where Mr President and Federal Government will be part and parcel of the final resolutions," the source quoted the Vice-President as saying.
It said Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo advocated a standing secretariat of credible persons, to monitor the implementation of the summit's resolutions and expedite action on the development of the Niger Delta.
Prof. Sam Oyovbaire, according to the source, recommended a technical committee to collate and scrutinise various recommendations.
The source said Chief Edwin Clark called for an implementation committee on all the reports produced on Niger Delta development. Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, NAN gathered, advised that the committee would also synthesise all reports and prepare a programme of action.
The source said in attendance at the meeting were members of the National Assembly from the region, former Delta and Akwa Ibom governors, Chief James Ibori and Obong Victor Attah.
Others were King Alfred Diette Spiff; former Petroleum minister, Chief Don Etiebet; former Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Alexander Ogomudia and Sen. Aniete Okon.
Also in attendance, according to sources, were Sen. Stella Omu, Mr.Ledum Mittee of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) and Madam Rita Ogbebor, among others.
Jonathan said that the proposed Niger Delta summit was not intended to draw up a new masterplan for the region , saying "The essence of the proposed Niger Delta summit is to take a major step forward from previous reports and recommendations on Niger Delta development."
The vice-president has also blamed the rising militancy in the volatile region on oil smugglers who he accused of sponsoring the activities of the militants.
Speaking yesterday at a meeting of the Honorary International Investor Council in the State House, Jonathan said the genuine agitations of the Niger Delta people have been hijacked by the criminals.
He said, "Naturally, at the beginning, people were quite friendly with the oil companies, no security was deployed to guard the oil facilities. Over the period people began to believe they were not getting enough.

Anonymous said...

Arewa’s comment on N-Delta leaders provocative —AC
Written by Samuel Oyadongha
Tuesday, 01 July 2008
THE Action Congress has described as provocative the Arewa Consultative Forum’s comment that the Niger Delta leaders should be blamed for the restiveness in the South-South.
In a statement signed by its Secretary in Bayelsa State, Mr. Ebikibina Miriki, the party warned that the utterances of the Arewa Consultative Forum are capable of igniting fresh crisis in the blighted region.

The AC noted with concern that the comment of the ACF at this moment of truce is not only diversionary but intended to instigate further militarization of the region.

Miriki noted that the AC had expected the ACF to have called for a correction of the glaring discrepancies that characterized the operations and activities of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund scholarship scheme.

“The ACF comment is most unfortunate, uninformed, diversionary, misleading and provocative especially when the known remote cause of the crisis in the Niger Delta is the continued outright neglect of the region by the Nigerian state.

“It is worthy of note that the Niger Delta problem today, is precipitated by the lack of development, human and infrastructure as well as the mismanagement and arrogance on the part of the North that has not only dominated the helm of affairs and leadership of the Nigerian state but impoverished the region,” the AC scribe stated.

Lamenting what he described as the overbearing influence of the North on the activities of the PTDF, Miriki, said “the body which was set up to overcome the foreign dominance in Nigeria’s oil industry by the indigenization of manpower and technology, as clearly stated in section 2 of the PTDF Act where able Nigerians, home and abroad are to be trained as graduates, professionals and craftsmen in the field of engineering, geology, since and management in the oil and gas industry and abroad have been politicized and influence by the Northern leaders to the extent that only few Niger Deltans are considered in the scheme.”

The party therefore called on the ACF to not only withdraw its provocative and embarrassing statement but also apologise to leaders of the Niger Delta region if it cannot contribute proactively to resolving the age long neglect of the region.

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Anonymous said...

Summit: FG, N-Delta leaders' talks hit rocks
Written by Emma Amaize & Ben Agande
Tuesday, 01 July 2008
*Leaders ask Govt to implement past reports
*Thieves, smugglers have taken over struggle — VP

A LAST-DITCH attempt by the Federal Government to rally South-South leaders behind it over the planned Niger Delta Summit hit the rocks, Sunday night, in Abuja with the South-South leaders rejecting the talks.

Initiator of the botched meeting, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, said at a meeting with the Honorary Institutional Investors Council yesterday in Abuja that the Niger Delta struggle had been taken over by oil thieves who, according to him, are sponsoring the militants for their selfish end.

The Niger Delta leaders at the Sunday meeting told the Vice President to advise President Umaru Yar’Adua to shelve the planned summit as the region would neither attend nor have anything to do with the talks to be chaired by one-time External Affairs Minister, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

“From the fury of the Niger Delta opinion leaders at the meeting, it was clear that the proposed summit will die a natural death,” a reliable source close to the meeting told Vanguard, adding:

“It will, however, not be official until the Vice President briefs President Umaru Yar’Adua and the Federal Government makes a pronouncement on it.”

Vice President Jonathan at the meeting attended by governors of the oil–bearing states, National Assembly members and other representatives confessed that he, in fact, nominated Prof. Gambari for the job and that his chairmanship of the summit was not a “Northern agenda,” but the delegates told him that the people should have no business with Gambari because of his position and previous comments on issues concerning the welfare and people of the Niger Delta.

Vanguard gathered that Dr. Jonathan presented a very strong case for the summit for which the delegates commended him but were quick in stressing that they would not go back on their position, as all the talks in the past were jamborees that produced no tangible result.

Leaders ask FG to implement past reports

“They told Jonathan that what Federal Government should do is to set up a body to appraise the various reports that have been submitted on the way forward for the Niger Delta, from the Willinks Commission of 1958 to 2007 and let the body come out with the things to be done or not done from the different reports, and then, the larger house like the stakeholders gathered, could be called to fine-tune and ratify the final report,” source said.

No communique was issued at the end of the meeting, although it was agreed that the Vice President would report to the President that Niger Delta people rejected the summit.

Those who attended

The meeting was well-attended by representatives from Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Abia, Rivers and Imo states. Present were Chief Edwin Clark, former governors of Delta and Akwa Ibom states, Chief James Ibori who sat near Chief Clark and Obong Victor Attah.

Also at the meeting were the former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia (rtd.); former military governor of the old Rivers State, King Alfred Diette-Spiff; prominent South-South leader, Ambassador Matthew Mbu; ex-Minister, Chief Don Etiebet; Senators Ndoma Egba and Henshaw; chairman of the Rivers State Council of Chiefs, King Opobo; and President of the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), Chief Bello Oboko and Prof Sam Oyovbaire.

Itsekiri women leader, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor; Senator Stella Omu; former deputy governor of Delta State, Chief Benjamin Elue; the Publisher of Thisday newspaper, Mr Nduka Obaigbena and John Mitte, among others also attended the meeting.

Sources said it was as if the Niger Delta people had held a meeting prior to the meeting with the Vice President, as they all spoke with one voice, condemning the summit and the choice of Gambari as its chairman.

Clark speaks

Contacted, yesterday, Chief Clark said: “We told the Vice President that we don’t want Gambari and we agreed that the various reports that have been submitted to the government since the Willinks Commission in 1958 to the Oladayo Popoola, Ogomudia reports and others should be looked into.

They should set up a committee of experts to study all the reports and put together a package from the various reports for the development of the Niger-Delta. We spoke our minds to the Vice President and he also spoke his mind to us.”

It was gathered that emotions were charged at the meeting when the issue of Gambari’s chairmanship of the rejected summit was raised and speaker after speaker lambasted him for his previous utterances on matters concerning the region.

One of the leaders from Rivers State was particularly angry, saying Prof Gambari referred to him and others, including the late Ken Saro-Wiwa as common criminals, adding that it was by the grace of God that he escaped death.

He queried why such a man who sees Niger Deltans as common criminals would be invited to preside at a meeting where the destiny of the people of the region would be discussed.
The statement by the Northern group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), blaming Niger Delta elders for the militancy in the region did not help matters.

Chief Clark told Vanguard: “The Vice President listened to us, as we told him our stand. What he has to do next is to discuss our stand with Mr. President. Dr. Jonathan showed that he is competent and was also frank with us that he was the one that recommended Gambari.”

He said the leaders saw his sincerity and dilemma, but, they told him that he ought to have consulted with them before recommending Gambari.

Vanguard learnt that the Vice President was left in no doubt at the end to the meeting that his people were not interested in the proposed summit on the issue of consultation, he promised that he would, henceforth, consult with the opinion leaders before taking major decisions on issues that affect the people.

The vote of thanks was said to have been moved at the end of the meeting by the Ondo State governor.

Speaking at the meeting, the Vice President assured leaders and youths of the Niger Delta region that the proposed summit was to take a major step forward from previous reports and recommendations on Niger Delta development as will give a specific time frame, outline targets and establish a framework for actualising the already existing roadmap.

He said the fear being expressed by those opposed to the summit was misplaced as this administration meant well for the region.

VP recommended Gambari

Dr. Jonathan was quoted as explaining that the choice of Professor Gambari as chairman of the steering committee was based on the consideration of his remarkable credentials in conflict resolution and his international presence.

And yesterday, the VP said the Niger Delta struggle had been taken over by oil smugglers who are sponsoring activities of militants for their selfish end.

He said despite the brazen provocation by militants in the region, government would not shirk its responsibility of guaranteeing the security of lives and property in the region.

N-Delta struggle taken over by thieves, smugglers

Dr Jonathan spoke during a meeting of the Honorary International Investors Council at the State House in Abuja.

“What is happening today is that genuine agitation has been taken advantage of by people who want to make money through stealing and smuggling crude oil. Those people who are interested in stealing and smuggling crude oil sponsor most of the aggressive activities in the area.

People are now exploiting it and making big money,” he said and accused the oil companies of not doing enough in investing in the oil producing communities, saying if the oil companies had established industries for the production of their inputs locally, they would have fully engaged the youth in the area.

“If the operators can invest in the manufacturing of some of the inputs in the oil industry locally, that would generate a number of employment opportunities. We must look for ways to reduce the number of free men that can be used for militant activities,”he said.

Dr Jonathan informed the investors that the Federal Government had been consulting with stakeholders towards a final resolution of the crisis in the region, pointing out that some of the item on agenda of the proposed Niger Delta summit transportation, telecommunication, food security and investment opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Security Alert In Abuja

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Ibrahim Modibbo

For one week now, security in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has been fortified following threats by the Niger Delta militants to invade the seat of government of Nigeria.

Against this background, LEADERSHIP can authoritatively reveal that security agencies have been put on red alert and are combat-ready to meet the challenges of the Niger Delta militants who are now considered by both domestic and international societies as terrorists that masquerade as "freedom fighters."

Apparently worried by this development, the Federal Government, in close collaboration with security agencies, has not taken the threat lightly as security in and around Abuja in particular and the FCT at large has been beefed up to possibly meet force with force in the event of the militants’ decision to execute their threat of invading the FCT.

Sources very close to the Presidency informed our correspondent that since last week after getting security report on the plans of the militants, adequate security network has been put in place as most of the routes coming into the FCT have been secured by both the plain-clothes security agencies, the military and para-military organisations whose duty is to protect lives and property .

The source further revealed that in view of the level of seriousness the government takes the threat, security has also been made air-tight at leading hotels like Sheraton and Transcorp Hilton, Abuja with a view to forestal any eventuality from the terrorists’ rascality .

LEADERSHIP learnt that although the government has not alerted the public in order not to cause panic among its citizens in Abuja, it however assured that no amount of threat from militants would make it shirk its responsibilities of governing Nigeria as an indivisible entity as it has the maximum capacity to defend its territory from terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Tsav cautions FG on N’Delta crisis
From ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Alhaji Abubakar Tsav (Rtd)
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Former Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav (Rtd) has advised the Federal Government to be careful in the way it is handling the Niger-Delta crisis to forestall outbreak of total war in the country just as he called on the militants to lay down their arms and allow peace to prevail in the region.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Sun in Makurdi, Tsav argued that the idea of using military might to tackle the situation was not good since according to him, the Niger-Delta region was very vulnerable.

“We have oil installations here and there and these militants live in that area and know the place so well. They could sabotage some of these things. They could hide in the creeks and attack our soldiers and in the end it could lead to a fully blown war which will not be good for this country.”

Tsav, while describing that the appointment of Professor Ibrahim Gambari as chairman of the steering committee of the proposed Niger-Delta summit by the federal government as improper maintained that another personality from the region who knew the Niger-Delta problems would be a better choice.
He accused politicians and chiefs in the area of siphoning funds provided by the Federal Government for the development of the region into their private pockets, while the ordinary people continued to wallow in abject poverty and neglect.

“The situation we have now in the Niger-Delta is that government provides a lot of money to cater for the ordinary people, but their politicians and chiefs corner it so that the money does not get to the ordinary people and that is why the problem is getting worse. We also understand that some politicians have hands in inciting these people to cause trouble.”

“I know that in the end the federal troops may succeed but before then a lot of damages would have been done to the region and these damages may outweight the problems we are facing presently in that area. We all know that it is not easy to set up oil drilling machines. It takes a very long time. So using force will not be good both to the federal government and the militants”, he said.

The former Lagos State police boss, while calling on the Federal Government to look for a way of reaching the people at the grassroot in the area, also urged the militants to lay down their arms and allow peace prevail in the region. He stressed that war would do nobody any good.

“I appeal to our friends and brothers the militants to please lay down their arms and come to a round table and discuss to find a lasting solution to the problem. Let the situation not be a win-lose one, but a win – win situation, such that they will not lose and the Federal Government will not lose too.”
Lamenting the deplorable situation in the Niger-Delta, Tsav said, “we often see on the television the type of life people in the Niger-Delta are living. They live in a very pitiable situation, no roads, no clean water, no schools, no medical facilities, nothing. The people are truly suffering.”

Anonymous said...

Nwabueze, who pointed out that the problems in the Niger Delta had to do with lack of justice, condemned government’s attitude to the region. He also berated militants for blowing up oil facilities and kidnapping oil workers.

He said, ”We do not support kidnapping of the people and blowing up of pipelines and of course the Federal Government‘s plan to declare war on the militants is equally reprehensible.

“Government‘s decision to declare war on the militants was wrong. But war in the circumstance indicates desperation, and is an acknowledgment of failure. Since it is not addressed to the causes of the crisis, it is unlikely to resolve them.

”The Niger Delta militants are fighting for justice. War is an inappropriate response to demand for justice. It only aggravates the injustice complained of, and arouses the aggrieved citizens to a deeper feeling of disaffection and alienation.”

The group, however, stated that it supported the proposed Niger Delta summit, adding that it was the kind of interim dialogue it recommended.

Professor Ben Nwabueze's Patriot.

Anonymous said...

U.S. Moves To Stop Arms Inflow To Niger Delta
By Chinedu Offor (Washington DC), Rafiu Ajakaye and Olawale Salami (Lagos)

America has promised to assist Nigeria to curb the inflow of arms into the Niger Delta, but has ruled out the use of its military personnel to achieve the objective.

The White House said it is considering sanctions against American firms which provide cash and arms to militant groups but would "have no boots on the ground."

Spokesperson Dana Perino said there are already laws against doing business with armed groups and that the administration would enforce them while seeking other means to prevent the inflow of arms.

The administration also asked the Federal Government to remove troops from the Niger Delta to encourage all stakeholders to come up with a permanent peaceful means to resolve the crisis.

Perino was reacting to calls by President Umaru Yar'Adua for international assistance to end the conflict in the Niger Delta, the country's gold basin. He made the comment on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Japan.

Yar'Adua reportedly accused international crude oil cartel smugglers of sponsoring militant activities in the Niger Delta and called for an international clampdown.

"Stolen crude should be treated like stolen diamonds because they both generate blood money," Yar'Adua argued. "Like what is now known as 'blood diamonds,' stolen crude also aids corruption, violence and can provoke war."

But critics have blamed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of arming the militants to intimidate opposition parties during last year's elections.

Chudi Chukwuani, an economist, said Yar' Adua's international call for help to resolve the crisis is misplaced.

His words: "The reaction here is that we are at a loss. The call is a clear failure on the part of the government to properly secure our national assets, to protect our sovereignty and our territorial waters.

"All of us know that the origin of the so-called Niger Delta militancy started from political thuggery. Most of the so-called militants were associates of the ruling party, and the ruling party was using them, and arming them in order to fight opposition parties.

"If you recall some years and months back, people like Mujahideen Asari-Dokubo have alleged that they were not properly settled after they had helped the PDP to win the election. And in order to fight back they decided to go into kidnapping and all sorts of extortionists measures.

"The genesis of the whole militancy actually arose from this political thuggery, which was carried out by the major party, which is the PDP."

Chukwuani said there are various options available to the government to resolve the problems in the Niger Delta.

"The solution is very clear and direct; everybody can see it. What they need in the Niger Delta is shelter, housing; the youths need to be gainfully employed and be productive.

"All these are things that can be provided by a government that is well focused, that has a well-defined objective, and the will to implement the social responsibilities to the society."

Chukwuani noted that previous talks to find ways to resolve the problems in the Niger Delta region have not yielded any positive results.

"We've been in these talking workshops for a very long time. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo went through his own rounds of workshops, but at the end of the eight years he could not point to one single primary school anywhere in the Niger Delta that he built.

"So, we have had a series of governments which believe in talk shops instead of actually going up to the field and implementing social programs."

Chukwuani said the PDP could help end the conflict by stopping financial and political support for the rebel groups.

"Since (Yar'Adua) is the leader of the PDP, we can agree with him that if they stop funding political thuggery, using the militants as political thugs in order to fight opponents, that is one major way of stopping Niger Delta militancy.

"Most of the weapons they are talking about were bought by politicians and given to the youths to use against their political opponents. If they, as a political party, have decided to put a stop to that, then that goes a long way in trying to curtail militancy in the Niger Delta."

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, disclosed on Wednesday that Britain is ready to help Nigeria to tackle the problem that has hit its oil output.

"We stand ready to give help to Nigerians to deal with lawlessness that exists in (the Niger Delta) and to achieve the levels of production that Nigeria is capable of," Brown told a news conference at the G8 Summit in Japan.

He said he would meet with Yar'Adua in London next week.

Anonymous said...

FG Considers Anyaoku, Kukah
From Ike Abonyi in Abuja, 07.09.2008

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Niger Delta Summit

Following staunch opposition to the choice of Prof. Ibrahim Gambari as head of the steering committee of the proposed Niger Delta Summit of Stakeholders, the search for a replacement may have been narrowed down to four persons.
THISDAY gathered that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who is insisting that the summit should take place in the face of mounting criticism, has directed a search for an immediate replacement.
Those being considered include two foremost African diplomats, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, ex-Commo-nwealth Secretary General, and Mr. Kofi Annan, immediate past Secretary General of the United Nations who is a Ghanaian.
Anyaoku, one of the most respected statesmen in Nigeria, was Secretary General of the Commo-nwealth between 1989 and 1998.
His lack of involvement in partisan politics and his international stature are also said to count in his favour.
Annan, in addition to his credential as former UN scribe, was central to the resolution of the Kenyan crisis after the acrimonious elections led to violence and an estimated 1000 deaths.
The crisis was eventually resolved with the formation of a government of national unity to accommodate the opposition party in a power-sharing arrangement.
The Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Kaduna, Monsignor Matthew Hassan Kukah, is said to be getting a favourable consideration.
The Catholic priest, who was the Co-Secretary of the defunct National Political Conference, is being mentioned because of his previous involvement in the reconciliation of Shell and the Ogoni in Rivers State after a protracted animosity. He is seen as very familiar with the terrain.
Ex-US President, Mr. Jimmy Carter, who is held in high esteem by some militant groups, is also being considered for some involvement.
The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) had earlier in the year announced that Carter, who has been very familiar with the political terrain of Nigeria for decades, had agreed to mediate in the crisis – a claim swiftly denied by Carter.
THISDAY gathered that many Niger Delta leaders, including the militants, are now disposed to Annan but officials of the Federal Government planning the summit want a Nigerian, thereby narrowing the choice down to either Anyaoku or Kukah.
Yar’Adua had himself told a foreign news agency that the Niger Delta crisis was a Nigerian challenge which should be handled by Nigerians – effectively ruling out Carter and Annan, although they may still play some role.
THISDAY’s source could not confirm last night if any of these persons had been definitely pencilled down for the job or if any contact had been made with them.
Meanwhile, the role of some Niger Delta governors in frustrating the choice of Gambari may not have gone down well with the Presidency.
THISDAY gathered that the attitude of the governors in not supporting Vice-President Goodluck Jon-athan to push through the first choice displeased the Presidency.
The Vice-President had nominated Gambari and had personally written to the UN, where Gambari is Special Envoy, seeking his release.
Opposition to Gambari is based on his past actions and pronouncements on the Niger Delta, some dating back to 1995 when Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by the then government of Gen. Sani Abacha.
Gambari was then Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, a position he held at the instance of the Nigerian government.

Anonymous said...

The Patriots warns on FG's threat of war in N-Delta
Written by Olasunkanmi Akoni & Adeyemi Ogundele
Thursday, 10 July 2008
The Patriots yesterday condemned threats by the Federal Government to declare war on militants in the Niger Delta region, saying the real militants were fighting for justice which is genuine cause.
Chairman of the group, Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN), told newsmen in Lagos that there was no need for such a war and asked government to encourage and employ dialogue in resolving the matter.

He read from a prepared text entitled: “Statement on the State of the Nation,” saying the Niger Delta was being unfairly treated in the scheme of things, hence the people should be adequately taken care of.

The text: “The Patriots are deeply concerned that the crisis in the Niger Delta is escalating rather than abating. This is apparently what has led to the recent announcement of the government’s decision to declare war on the militants.

“But war in the circumstances indicates desperation and is an acknowledgment of failure. For it is not addressed to the causes of the crisis and is therefore unlikely to resolve it.

“The Niger Delta militants are fighting for justice. War is an inappropriate response to the demand for justice. It only aggravates the injustice complained of and arouses the aggrieved citizens to a deeper feeling of disaffection and alienation.

“The demand for justice calls for understanding and dialogue not war. The government must not relent in its efforts to engage the militants in dialogue aimed at finding a negotiated settlement of their grievances without of course abandoning its duty to maintain law and order in the region. But war goes far beyond the legitimate requirements of law and order.”

“People of the Niger Delta have been unfairly, unjustly treated. Go to the area and you will see what is happening, the devastation being caused by oil production. You will see share waste of human resources, human rights, everything,” Professor Nwabueze said.

The constitutional law expert noted that because of these developments, the people of the region needed to be compensated.
“There is strong case that these people should be compensated for all these. People have been displaced from their homes because of devastation, their natural occupation which is their means of livelihood is being destroyed because of the oil pollution. These people have a genuine case,” he said.

While stating that Nigerians must all share and understand the sufferings of the people of the region and their demands for justice, the group posed a question: “Are they getting justice?”

Chairman of the group added further that in any society where there is no justice, what it gets is disaffection, alienation; people are alienated from the state.

“Justice is the foundation of every society. Without justice, we cannot have peace; we cannot have harmony,” he said, adding that the Federal Government must find a way of meeting the demand of the Deltans.

While appealing to the Federal Government not to abandon its responsibility of law and order in the region, the group maintained that government must try to understand the demands of the genuine people in the region for justice, stressing that this is the only antidote to the problem confronting it.

“Our appeal to the government, appeal of The Patriots, to government is to say don’t abandon your responsibility of law and order, try to understand the demand of the Delta people for justice and find a way of doing justice to them. Until you do that, the problem will not end. The cause of the trouble is the denial of justice.”

Anonymous said...


We’ll attack British interests –MEND

Deputy News Editor

MILITANT group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), yesterday vowed to attack British interests in Nigeria if it provided military or logistic support to its former colony.

MEND also called off its ceasefire effective tomorrow (July 12) to protest British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown’s offer to assist the Nigerian government to combat attacks on oil facilities by militants in the Niger Delta.

The PM on Wednesday had assured Nigeria that Britain was ready to help combat the lawlessness that has disrupted oil production in the Niger Delta region.

"We stand ready to give help to the Nigerians to deal with lawlessness that exists in this area and to achieve the levels of production that Nigeria is capable of, but because of the law and order problems has not been able to achieve," Britain’s head of government had told a news conference at the G8 Summit in Japan.

Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier written to the United States of America (USA) to help secure oil and gas industry in the Niger Delta.

Similarly, Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, had at the just-concluded World Petroleum Congress in Madrid, Spain, urged the United Kingdom, the US to help tackle militancy in the Niger Delta.

Reacting to the MEND’s threat, the spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF), an outfit saddled with responsibility to ensure peace in the troubled oil-rich region, Lt Col Musa Sagir, said there was no cause for alarm over the militant group’s threat.

Speaking in a telephone interview with Daily Champion Sagir also urged Nigerians, Britons and other foreigners not to panic over the fresh MEND’s threat, as security is assured.

"We will do our maximum best to ensure that lives and property are well protected. We therefore appeal to all the people to go about their activities without fear of molestation. We are mindful of our responsibility to Nigerians and foreigners, he said.

Brown’s offer of help drew the ire of MEND, which in an e-mail statement obtained by Daily Champion warned Britain to steer clear of the Niger Delta matter.

MEND leader Jomo Gbomo’s statement reads:

"The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to sound a stern warning to the British Prime Minister, Mr. Gordon Brown, over his recent statement offering to provide military support to the illegal government of Umaru Yar’Adua in further oppressing the impoverished people of the Niger Delta.

"To demonstrate our seriousness to the UK support of an injustice, MEND will be calling off its unilateral ceasefire with effect from midnight, Saturday July 12, 2008.

"Mr. Yar’Adua in a fraudulent appeal to the G8 leaders in Japan misled the international community into believing that the unrest and agitation in the region is due to oil theft which encourages "blood oil".

"The international community and independent researchers are very well aware that the unrest in the region is as a result of over five decades of oil exploration that has developed other parts of Nigeria to the detriment of the environment and people of the Niger Delta.

"The United Kingdom is part of this problem with the politics it played pre-independence that gave leverage to some sections of the country to marginalize and exploit the region today.

"Should Gordon Brown make good his threat to support this criminality for the sake of oil, UK citizens and interests in Nigeria will suffer the consequences."

Brown did not, however, mention military support to combat militancy in Niger Delta.

It is not yet clear, if President Yar’Adua would still hold talks with Brown next week in London over the militancy upsurge in Niger Delta in view of the fresh threat by MEND.

MEND had since 2006 been disrupting oil production in the Niger Delta as part of its campaign for control of resources by people of the area.

Besides disrupting oil production, kidnapping of foreigners has been on the increase following MEND’s violent campaign. The group has, however, clarified that it was not behind most of the hostage-takings involving the payment of ransom.

Meanwhile, the planned Niger Delta Summit to tackle the menace ran into a hitch Wednesday with Ibrahim Gambari pulling out of the chairmanship of the steering committee of the proposed summit following the groundswell of opposition against his chairmanship.

Eminent Nigerians including Prof. Wole Soyinka opposed Gambari’s nomination for defending the hanging of Ogoni activist Ken Saro-Wiwa at the United Nations.

Meanwhile, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujihad Asari-Dokubo, stated that if British soldiers step into the region Niger Delta would be another Waterloo for them.

Dokubo-Asari said that the British should remember that originally the Niger Delta region was known as the Whiteman grave.

He accused Britain of offering Northern Nigeria oligarchy the support to oppress and exploit the Niger Delta people and vowed that the people are battle-ready to resist any neocolonial incursion of the region.

"If they think they can come and take our oil resources by force, we wish them well. They should come," Dokubo-Asari said.

Dokubo-Asari questioned what the British forces have been able to achieve in Afghanistan and Iraq since they arrived there and observed that if the English think the Niger Delta would provide another battle field for them to sell arms and ammunition, their desires would fail.

Meanwhile, oil prices jumped nearly $6 to above $141 a barrel yesterday amid threats to production in Nigeria and Brazil and an additional missile test by Iran that escalated tensions with the West.

Further support came from the weak dollar, which fell on renewed credit worries after capital concerns dragged down shares in major mortgage finance sources Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

U.S. crude settled up $5.60 at $141.65 a barrel, off a session high of $142.10 a barrel. London Brent crude settled $5.45 higher at $142.03 a barrel.

The MEND, the main militant group in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger Delta, said it was abandoning a cease-fire to protest a British offer to help tackle lawlessness in the region, raising concern of further disruptions to the OPEC nation’s exporters.

"The cease-fire in Nigeria is ending on the 12th, and that’s creating some jitters as far as supply is concerned," said Rob Kurzatkowski, futures analyst with optionsXpress.

Rebel attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria, the world’s No. 8 exporter, have helped push crude prices to record highs over $145 this month, adding to a nearly 50 percent rise in prices this year.

Concerns that tensions between Iran, another OPEC member, and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program could lead to an oil supply disruption have added to bullish sentiment.

Iran tested more missiles in the Gulf on Thursday, state media said, and the United States reminded Tehran that it was ready to defend its allies.

But a U.S. official said there was no information of a rumored third Iran missile test late Thursday. There was no mention of a third test on Iranian satellite channels Press TV or Al Alam on their broadcast Thursday evening.

Workers at Brazil’s Petrobras threatened to launch a five-day strike for next week that would affect all 42 Campos basin offshore platforms, which account for more than 80 percent of Brazil’s oil output of around 1.8 million barrels per day.

Anonymous said...

Afenifere advises Yar’Adua to cancel UK trip
By Emeka Madunagu
Published: Saturday, 12 Jul 2008
Apex Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, on Friday, advised President Umaru Yar’Adua to cancel his next week’s trip to the United Kingdom.

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Photo file
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua

Afenifere said in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, titled, “Yar’Adua must call off visit to Britain,” that the visit would do Nigeria no good. The statement lamented that the planned visit was being overshadowed by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s offer of military aid to the Federal Government to tackle the crisis in the Niger Delta.

It also lamented that as a result, the “fragile peace” in the Niger Delta was at the risk of being shattered with the decision of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta to call off its ceasefire in response to Brown’s offer.

Afenifere said Brown’s comments demonstrated the “mindset of a ruler who still sees in Nigeria the milking cow that was granted flag independence in 1960 so that indirect exploitation can replace colonialism. It is unfortunate that Brown cannot see the injustice in Niger Delta, the environment degradation and the social concerns of the peoples of the region. The military aid offer is a sad reminder of the Ango-Nigeria Defence Pact of 1961 which pressures from patriotic Nigerians forced the Balewa Government from signing.

”But 47 years after, Yar’Adua is planning to visit London next week on what ‘has been dubbed historic visit’ to ask for arms to kill fellow Nigerians. This is another attempt to flush the pipes with the blood of our own people so that oil can flow.”

Afenifere called on Yar’Adua to immediately call off the visit and “stay at home to find solutions to the Niger Delta problem. Or are we to believe that if Niger Delta were to be Katsina, the President will go and seek arms from Britain to resolve a problem there? Should the President be adamant and insist on the visit, we call on patriotic Nigerians in the UK to make it clear to President Yar’Adua and his hosts that Nigerians do not want British tanks in Nigeria. Finally, we warn Britain, not to turn Nigeria to another Iraq or Afghanistan. Britain has enough blood on its hands from those places.”

Anonymous said...

Foreign Intervention Call: Clark, Activists Flay Yar'Adua
By Emma Chukwuanukwu (Lagos)and Augustine Madu-West (Kano)

Ijaw leader and elder statesman, Edwin Clark, human rights lawyers and activists, Festus Keyamo, Mike Igini, Bamidele Aturu and Yinka Odumakin are among Nigerians who have expressed dismay over President Umaru Yar'Adua's call for international military assistance in curbing the activities of militants and oil bunkerers in the troubled oil-rich Niger Delta.

President Yar'Adua, during his recent international tour of Japan for the meeting of the world's richest group of nations, G-8, had solicited international military assistance to dismantle militant groups and protect oil installations in Nigeria's oil-rich delta.

The Nigerian president told members of the G-8 that the criminal aspect of the Niger Delta agitations had adversely affected Nigeria's total crude oil output as millions of barrels are lost to oil thieves supported and armed by international cartels.

"I appeal to you and through you to all other G8 leaders to support my new proposal which I will also discuss with United Nations Secretary General at my meeting with him, that stolen crude should be treated like stolen diamonds because they both generate blood money. Like what is now known as "blood diamond," stolen crude also aids corruption and violence and can provoke war," the President told the Japanese Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda and World Bank President, Robert Zoellick at a meeting in Japan.

But in separate reactions, the activists described Yar'Adua's statements as unwarranted and uncalled for. Elder statesman, Clark told Sunday Independent that President Yar'Adua has got so many things wrong concerning the Niger Delta issue, including the proposed summit.

"We have had a lot of conferences, we have had a lot of commissions, a lot of committees, a lot of expert consultants on Niger Delta. And we think that from 1958 to this day, there are over ten reports or even up to a dozen. All that needs to be done is for a committee of experts to be set up.

"All the elders of the Niger Delta met two Sundays ago and unanimously agreed that there was no need for any summit, no need for Gambari. Why do you want another conference? Is it a conference of all Nigerians like the one of 2005 or do we need a conference of Niger Delta people by Niger Delta people?"

On the criminal dimension of the crises, Clark said criminality should be separated from the genuine agitations of the Niger Delta people.

"Let me tell you, the criminals should be differentiated from the genuine militants who are fighting for their own survival, who are fighting for the development of the area. In a situation like this, you must have some criminals. But it is not enough to call every militant in the Niger Delta criminals. We object to that.

As far as I amconcerned, what is going on is a political issue. Only discussions, only dialogue can solve it. Apart from that, only dvelopment, real development of the area can bring peace."

On his part, Keyamo said Yar'Adua's statement is tantamount to abandoning his authority as president. "It is also selling off Nigeria's sovereignty to the outside world. It will further escalate the crises. It means exposing Nigeria's security to the outside world, because before they can come to our help, they have to tell them the strength of our military, they have to work with our military, they have to work with our security agencies and that will expose our security lapses.

Igini decried the president's penchant for making policy statements in foreign countries.

"It is most unfortunate that Mr. President chose the venue of the G-8 meeting, far away in Japan to announce to the whole world and indeed to Nigerians that the Niger Delta problem has over-whelmed him and his government and thus, needs badly, the support of the international community to come to his rescue. The president seems to have preference for international fora whenever he wants to discuss very challenging domestic issues.

"The president's call in Japan for rescue is a clear admission of the failure of government and its total surrender to criminal activities of a few elements that have introduced outright criminality into the genuine quest of majority of the people of the Niger-Delta region.

"It is unfortunate that Brown cannot see the injustice in Niger Delta, the environment degradation and the social concerns of the peoples of the region.

The military aid offer is a sad reminder of the Ango-Nigeria Defence Pact of 1961 which pressures from patriotic Nigerians forced the Balewa Government from signing.

"But 47 years after, Yar'Adua is planning to visit London next week on what "has been dubbed historic visit" to ask for arms to kill fellow Nigerians.

This is another attempt to flush the pipes with the blood of our own people so that oil can flow.

"We call on the president to immediately call off the visit to the UK and stay home to find the Niger Delta problem. Or are we to believe that if Niger Delta were to be Katsina, the President will go and seek arms from Britain to resolve a problem there?

"Should the President be adamant and insist on the visit, we call on patriotic Nigerians in UK to make it clear to President Yar'Adua and his hosts that Nigerians do not want British tanks in Nigeria," he said.

Meanwhile, a former senator in Kano has called on the federal government to declare a state of emergency in the Niger Delta following the inability of leaders in the area to control the activities of militants and criminals.

In an interview with Sunday Independent in Kano, Senator Isa Kachako said President Yar'Adua should not allow common criminals to hold his government to ransom.

His words: "If the respective governments and the elective representatives of the people in the oil rich region can not save Nigeria further embarrassment arising from the atrocious activities of the militant groups which is adversely affecting the Nigeria nation, then the president should have no choice but to declare a state-of-emergency in the Niger-Delta area."

Kachaco who served the Nigerian Army for 47 years believed that if the government and the people of the troubled area including elected members had shown serious commitment towards tackling the problem, the crisis would have by now shown signs of abatement.

"We all agree that the situation in the region has some kind of international connection especially from International oil bunkering syndicates but we still believe that the governments and the people's representatives in the states and National Assembly as well as Local Government have not invested enough energy in addressing the situation."

He said military option is no solution to the problem as the civilian population would be the one to suffer in the process.

He also blamed political leaders in the South South region for failing to resolve the crises with the federal government.

Anonymous said...

Scottish militant group contacts MEND for aid
Written by EMMA AMAIZE
Saturday, 12 July 2008
A BURGEONING militant group in Scotland, which shares the belief of the Scottish National Party that Scotland should be independent and assume full control of its North Sea oil resources like the exploited people of the Niger-Delta, has reportedly got in touch with the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) in Nigeria for expert assistance.

Confirming the move in a statement, yesterday, signed by Jomo Gbomo, the MEND said, “Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been approached for its expertise by an emerging militant group in Scotland who share the sentiments of the Scottish National Party who believe that Scotland should be independent and have full control over its North Sea oil resources like the oppressed people of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria..

“Scotland would be one of the richest countries in the world if it was allowed to keep all its oil revenues - worth around $112 billion over the next six years.

“Although Scotland is still relatively better off compared to many African countries, they still have among the worst health, poverty, crime and life expectancy records in the developed world - while the huge profits which could help tackle these problems go to the oil companies and Gordon Brown’s government in London.

“MEND supports the Scottish people’s fight for independence and the right to profit from their natural resources, rather than see it drained away by a ‘foreign’ country. We share the same pain and sentiments and together we will work with freedom fighters in Scotland to emancipate its people from the similar bondage the people of the Niger Delta face.”

Anonymous said...

Clark gives condition for N-Delta talks with FG ...Appeals to MEND not to resume hostilities
Written by EMMA AMAIZE
Saturday, 12 July 2008
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, says the Niger-Delta will consent to hold talks with the Federal Government on the Niger-Delta, but, not an all Nigerian Summit, only after a technical committee had reviewed all the earlier reports, dating back to 1958, submitted to the government, and come out with a coordinated position that will be endorsed by the people at a regional conference.

Clark, who revealed the new position to Sunday Vanguard, in an interview, yesterday, appealed to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), which called off the ceasefire it declared a little over two weeks ago, not to resume further hostilities in the name of God to enable the elders and leaders of the region continue with their negotiation with the government on the way out of the crisis.

He recalled that the people of the south-south walked out of the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC), which was a Nigerian Summit in 2005 and vowed not to come back to any such summit, saying that the decision had not changed and urged the government to respect the decision of the people not to attend a Nigerian Summit.

To the MEND, he reiterated, “They should still give us time, there will be no development if there is no peace, we need peace to carry on with our negotiations with the government and I am sure we will not fail, they should continue to listen to us and trust us”. An operative of the MEND, who confirmed the group received Clark’s message, said, “I am not in a position to tell you our reaction, you will hear from the hierarchy of the group later”.

The Ijaw nationalist leader quickly clarified, on the summit “For the avoidance of doubt, I am not saying that we are shifting our position. I only said that we will meet with the Federal Government, the oil companies, security agencies and other stakeholders, not at the kind of all Nigerian Summit that the Federal Government is proposing, but, at a conference of the region after a technical committee had reviewed all the reports on the Niger-Delta, harmonized them and come up with the immediate, short term and long term measures that the Federal Government and other relevant bodies should embark upon. At the meeting, they can now tell us how they want to do them; we will then deliberate and agree.

“We have been in Abuja discussing with the Federal Government on the problem of the Niger-Delta, withdrawal of Prof Ibrahim Gambari and the way forward, which is that all the reports from 1958 till date be implemented, after a technical committee would have reviewed the various reports, our position still remains that there is no need for a summit, an all Nigerian Summit like what the Federal Government has proposed. It should not even be called a summit because that is not what it is. Summit was introduced by a Russian Head of State when he met with his American counterparts, years ago”.

Pointing out that the word, summit, is more apt for meetings between countries, he said, “Nigeria is not in a state of war to demand a summit, what they should be talking about in the Niger-Delta is a regional conference of the Niger-Delta people, the Federal Government, oil companies, security agencies and other necessary parties”. Clark said the expectation of the Niger-Delta people is that the Federal Government would take the agreements that would be reached at the meeting to the National Assembly for approval of funds because we know that money would be required to execute the projects and they were not provided for in the 2008 budget.

He explained that the leaders of the Niger-Delta would not be able to negotiate and secure the understanding of the government if the freedom fighters do not keep to their ceasefire agreement, adding that they should not be provoked by the report that the British government was going to provide military support for the government to attack Niger-Deltans and that he was convinced that the British Government would not do anything like that.

On the statement by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) , he said the people of the Niger-Delta should be focused and not allow some northerners who know that the North was not contributing anything as at now to the distributable pool to distract them, pointing out that in the last constitutional conference, it was discovered that while the south-east contribute 2.3 per cent, south-west 3.5 per cent, N-Delta 90 per cent and receives only 17 per cent, the north contributes nothing to the pool.

He said it was it was an insult for the North to be challenging the propriety of the allocations to the Niger-Delta when it got 50 per cent derivation during its time. Clark also asserted, “If our governors are corrupt, that is not a reason for the Federal Government not to perform its obligations in the region.

Was it not a governor from the north that was said to have donated N10 billion to the Obasanjo aborted third term bid, the north is also corrupt, their governors would do worse under such a situation”

Anonymous said...

Why I’ll never forgive Okah – Asari-Dokubo
Monday, July 14, 2008

Photo: Sun News Publishing
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Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo has opened up on why he and leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah currently undergoing trial for treason, are sworn enemies.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Sun, Asari-Dokubo said Henry Okah is a direct product of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s intention to discredit the struggle of the Niger Delta, divert the resources of the region and justify the building of an oil and gas free zone at Okohohnara. He alleged that Okah plotted to kill him several times and even murdered his (Dokubo’s) relations and followers.

Hear him: "He will remain my enemy unless he changes. He plotted to kill me several times. He murdered my relations and followers. He introduced crime into the Niger Delta struggle. He is a counter-revolutionary element sponsored by the government."
Dokubo-Asari also spoke on kidnappings in the region and the brains behind such activities, the threat by the MEND to foment more crisis in the region unless Henry Okah was released to participate in the peace process and the secret trial of the MEND leader by the Federal Government.

What is your stance on kidnappings that have taken place in the region?
I’ve always said that our struggle is moral and just. Kidnapping and any other act that impairs the freedom of any other person; that is used to collect money is evil and criminal and it is not part of our struggle and we know those who are doing it and we know those who are funding them and we know their godfathers. Their godfathers are people in the Nigerian state, to direct our struggle away from its true and original path. Our struggle is moral and just. We cannot do injustice to others, while we are demanding for justice. We will not do it. No matter the blackmail or persecution we go through, we will not condescend to the level of the Nigerian state to use the same weapon that they are using against us.

You say you know those behind the kidnappings and their godfathers, can you name them?
We know very well that Olusegun Obasanjo was meeting with people like Henry Okah and all the people who are parading themselves when he was president of the Nigerian state at Ota farm and even at Abuja. The state security and heads of military formations were meeting with them. Up till now, they are relating with them on phone and they are holding clandestine meetings in order to discredit our struggle. We know very well. It is a historic fact that in every revolution, counter revolutionary elements will arise. This is not new. It is everywhere in the world. Ours will not be different.

So are you saying indirectly or directly that Henry Okah is sponsored by Obasanjo?
Henry Okah is a direct product of Obasanjo’s intention to discredit the struggle of the Niger Delta, to divert the resources of the Niger Delta and to give a reason why he was building Olokohnara oil and gas free zone. Henry Okah was a product of the government of General Olusegun Obasanjo.

A statement accredited to the spokesman of MEND, Jomo Gbomo says that the Federal Government should release its leader, Henry Okah to participate in the peace process if it wants genuine peace, do you agree with MEND?
Henry Okah is not a person that will determine the peace of Niger Delta. The Niger Delta is too big for Dokubo-Asari or a Saro-Wiwa or Isaac Boro. To attribute peace in the Niger Delta to one individual shows how naïve and bankrupt such minds are.

Okay, logically put, does that mean Obasanjo is behind kidnappings in the region?
Yes, Obasanjo is behind it. They will kidnap, Obasanjo government will pay money to the kidnappers and get them released, show them on television and perform all sorts of rituals I was in prison when those rituals were going on.

What do you have to say about Okah’s secret trial?
They cannot try Henry Okah secretly. If they have any facts against him, let them try him in the open. It is an infringement on his fundamental rights to try him in secret. I might not like Henry Okah but the law is very clear. Henry Okah should be given an open trial. It is the government of the Nigerian state versus Henry Okah. So if there is a decision to try him in secret, then already Henry Okah has been adjudged guilty. So if they decide to try him secretly, well, the party to the case is the Federal Government versus Henry Okah. So how can the same government who is a party to the case be a judge in their own case and decide to try the man secretly. Even if the man committed the offence for which they are trying him, how would we know? Who was there? Who are the witnesses? He should be brought to the open. Why are they afraid of trying him openly? You must try him openly. It is his right and it is his inalienable right to be tried openly.

Are you at war with Henry Okah?
Henry Okah is my enemy. He plotted to kill me several times and he is still my enemy and he will remain my enemy unless he changes. He murdered my cousins and my relations and my followers. He introduced crime into the struggle of the Niger Delta which is not part of our struggle. Our struggle is a spiritual struggle and everybody knows it is a very moral struggle. It is not done anywhere in the world. Henry Okah is a counter revolutionary element. He is an agent of the Nigerian state.

Anonymous said...

Nigeria Loses $100b Earnings Over Bakassi, Says Ewa-Henshaw
By Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Snr Correspondent, Abuja

Senate Water Resources Committee Chairman, Bassey Ewa-Henshaw, said on Tuesday that the Federal and Cross River State Governments have lost $100 billion in oil earnings for ceding Bakassi to Cameroon.

Senate President, David Mark, also spoke up for the country, a few hours before his victory at the Appeal Court, arguing that a section of the Constitution which allows the executive to ratify treaties before the consent of the legislature should be reviewed.

Both he and Ewa-Henshaw were speaking in Abuja at a public hearing conducted by the Senate Foreign Affairs, States and Local Government and Judiciary Committees on the GreenTree Agreement on the Bakassi Peninsula.

Ewa-Henshaw (representing Bakassi) lamented that Bakassi residents, particularly the Efik and the Ikang, have been deeply wronged by the action of the Nigerian government over the loss of their ancestral land.

He said Nigeria flouted a United Nation "s convention by ignoring a plebiscite which would have allowed the people to choose where to belong and how the ceding would been done.

"The people of Bakassi are the unfortunate victims of high wire international conspiracy, and politics which has to do with the oil and gas resources in the region.

"But the ordinary fishermen in Bakassi are not really interested in the oil and gas. Their heritage is more important to them.

"Ceding Bakassi without the option for the people to choose where they want to belong is tantamount to compulsory acquisition.

"The only recourse is to compensate the government and people of Cross River State for the loss of future earnings from derivation which would have accrued to the state following exploitation of the resource in the area."

Anonymous said...

N’Delta crisis: Northern leaders unfair – David-West
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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The insentivity and mindsets of compatriots from other geo-political zones to denigrate the Niger Delta people is the greatest obstacle in the way of swift and peaceful resolution of the crisis in the region.

Former oil Minister and Professor of Virology Tam David-West made this observation, while reacting to perceived condescending statements by eminent Northern politician, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai on the Niger Delta question.

Yakassai was reported as blaming leaders of the oil rich region for its continued problems of under-development even as he chided the people of the zone for claiming exclusive ownership of petroleum resources in its bowel. To him, the oil belonged to the Nigerian federation.

But David-West, who recalled having had a media altercation with Yakassai on the same subject in 1994, regretted that the renowned defender of Northern interests still harboured such mindset till date.
“He is still living in the old. It is very unfortunate if after about 30 years, he still has that mentality of dictatorship as if the Niger Delta is a colony. It is the most irresponsible posture and this attitude by Tanko Yakassai and others only add salt to injury, because they have not shown any empathy towards the Niger Delta people,” former minister said.

According to David-West, the North, which now laid collective claim to oil, would have forgotten about the belonging to the Nigerian federation, if the money-spinning resource had been domiciled in its region.
He also reasoned that, “if the oil belongs to everybody by law as asset as Yakassai claimed, Nigeria should also be ready to accept the liability which in this case are the deprivations suffered by the Niger Delta,” adding “the equation is not balance at all.”

David-West said the deep resentment by the Niger Delta against perceived exploitative Nigerian state was not only economic but psychological, noting that hawks like Yakassai, Maitama Sule and Jubril Aminu, were not helping matters with their utterances and posturing. “Except you break that psychological mould, the quest for peace would only be a pipe dream,” he said.

Going down memory lane, David-West decried statements, which made the South-South inconsequential and no threat to the economy of this nation, asking, rhetorically “are all these right? Is there a conducive psychological climate to negotiate?
“Turn-after-turn, they say we don’t exist. But they should be made aware that not strong words but soft words win the game.

Anonymous said...

FG works out compromise on Niger Delta Summit
Written by Emma Amaize
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
MINISTER of Special Duties, Mr.Godsday Orubebe says the Federal Government is working out a compromise on the proposed Niger-Delta Summit, saying the Niger-Delta Summit is on course.
Speaking yesterday, in Asaba, he said that the meeting between the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and leaders and stakeholders of the Niger-Delta would explore ways of arriving at the compromise, adding, “at the end of the meeting, we will come out stronger than before”.

He said: “The meeting is about consulting with leaders, with stakeholders, with all those that are concerned so that we will have a meeting point and agree on what to do, which way to go forward, and that is what the Vice President is doing and we are very optimistic that in the next few days, we will agree on what to do and how to go about it”.

Elder Orubebe said the issue of militancy was being handled by the Federal Government and there was no fear that the matter would not be sorted out soon.

He gave kudos to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who he said, has put up a feasible structure on ground to stop militancy and things were going on better in the state with some of the militants participating in the government "s peace process.

He expressed optimism that in two to three weeks time, the logjam over the Niger-Delta summit would be over and the government would move forward with the people of the Niger-Delta in its bid to develop the region.

Anonymous said...

Thousands flee Nigerian militants

The militant group responsible for the threat has not been identified
Thousands of Nigerians have fled the Niger Delta oil town of Bonny after militants threatened to behead people who are not originally from the area.

The unknown group attacked soldiers in the town two weeks ago, killing nine people including a pregnant woman.

According to a newspaper article widely circulated by residents, the militants said they would return on July 16.

Bonny Island is home to a major oil and gas export terminal but production has not been affected.

Meanwhile, a militant attack in the Bonny Island area has left five people dead, the AP news agency reports.

About 30 militants attacked a Navy houseboat and three militants, a navy officer and civilian were killed, said Col Chris Musa.


In Bonny, youth leader Kingsley Adonis Pepple said people took the militant's threat seriously.

"They were handing out copies of this article to people in the street. There was panic. People packed up their entire family into a boat and fled."

Several boats had capsized and people drowned, he said, although there is no confirmation of this.

Mr Adonis Pepple said he had contacted all the known militant groups in the area and had been assured the article was wrong.

He tried to tell people but they weren't taking any chances, he said.

The article said unnamed sources reported the militants' demand.

"Another source said that the hoodlums, after the face-off with the navy, entered town, shooting and giving ultimatum that all residents of the town who were from other places should leave the town before July 16 or risk being beheaded," the national Nigerian Tribune paper said.

The article was sent to many people in Bonny by family members begging them to get out before the deadline, Mr Adonis Pepple said.

Production resumed

Bonny is a city of over 100,000 people, many of whom work in the oil industry.

The new multi-million dollar Liquefied Natural Gas export terminal is nearby.

Shell announced on Tuesday that a pipeline leading to Bonny Island, attacked by militants two months ago, had been repaired and production resumed.

Militant attacks on oil infrastructure are partly responsible for Nigeria's oil exports being cut by around a quarter in recent years.

Militants have also kidnapped oil workers for ransom.

Some groups are demanding a larger share of the oil wealth, but others are criminal gangs who make a living from extortion and oil theft, Delta activists say.

British aid

Nigeria has seen several "communal crises" in recent years, in which one ethnic group attacks another seen as being "non-indigenous" to the area.

Hundreds of people were killed in Plateau state in 2004 in clashes between Christian militias and Hausa Muslims.

President Umaru Yar'Adua is meeting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in London to discuss security issues in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

Mr Brown recently offered to help Nigeria bring an end to the violence and increase oil production.

Many in the region are afraid Mr Brown means to send military aid to the Delta.

Anonymous said...

Nigerian activists reject UK plan

The solution to the Niger Delta crisis is development not arms, activists say
Human rights activists in Nigeria's Delta have condemned an offer from the UK government to provide military training to secure oil supplies.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown offered military training to Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua to help fight militants and oil smugglers.

But activists said more military action would result in more militant groups springing up to oppose it.

Mr Yar'Adua says there is a cartel dealing in "blood oil" from Nigeria.

He says this trade is behind much of the violence in the oil-producing Niger Delta.

Attacks on oil installations has been partly responsible for cutting Nigeria's production by about 25%. NIGERIA'S OIL
35bn barrels in proven reserves
Daily capacity around 2m barrels of crude
Eighth largest exporter in the world
Estimates say another 100,000 barrels are stolen - worth $5.1bn at current prices
Source: Reuters

Elusive peace in Nigeria's oil Delta

The Delta's most publically visible group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend) also condemned the UK's offer.

"Without justice, security and peace will be elusive. Mend will ensure that," spokesman Jomo Gbomo told the BBC.

"Mend is aware that its actions have forced the system to focus on the region and will continue our armed agitation side by side with talks until we achieve our objective."

Patrick Naagbanton, of the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), said Mr Brown did not understand the problems of the Niger Delta.

"He's acting on the spur of the moment. He needs to have a better understanding of the situation,"

"It will just lead to a mushrooming of hardened armed groups."

Mr Brown also reaffirmed the UK's commitment to help Nigeria improve the accountability and transparency of government.

But Anyakwee Nsirimovu, of the Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL) based in Port Harcourt said this offer was a "public relations exercise".

"It's a systemic failure. Government does not want to improve the capacity. They are deliberately running a one-party state with no alternatives.

"Until people can take a role in confirming or rejecting the people in power, it's just a PR exercise."

President Yar'Adua came to power last year in elections that were widely condemned by observers for not being free or fair.

The Delta region saw the worst of the rigging, with armed gangs stealing ballot boxes and intimidating voters.

'Positive statement'

But Dimieari Von Kemedi of the Bayelsa State government said focussing on the military aspect did not do justice to Mr Brown's offer.

"Overall, it's a positive statement that gives weight to dialogue and sustainable development," he said.

"There's nothing new in getting military help from Britain. Every country has a right to improve their military."

However, military training would not solve the problem of oil theft, he said.

"If the UK wants to help with that, Scotland Yard [police] - not the Ministry of Defence - would be the right people to do it."

Illegal oil

The oil smuggling industry is extremely profitable and involves highly placed corrupt politicians, military officers, government officials and oil company employees, human rights activists and oil analysts say.

Oil is stolen by breaking into pipelines and filling barges which then rendezvous with tankers on the high seas.

Consumers will benefit from bringing down the oil price. Anything that drives the price of oil down to help the British housewife

Patrick Dele Cole
Former minister

Nigeria seeks to end 'blood oil'
The illegal oil is then mixed with other legitimate cargoes and sold for an enormous profit by unscrupulous traders - who pay for the oil partly with weapons, analysts say.

Many armed groups in the Delta provide "security" for the smuggling rings, also known as "bunkerers".

The violence and lack of law and order in the region, caused by the sponsorship of armed youths by politicians, allows powerful people connected to bunkering to operate unhindered, activists say.

'Marked' crude

Niger Delta businessman and politician Patrick Dele Cole, a special adviser of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, says that the trade could be cracked by chemically marking crude to trace its origin.

Spy technology provided by the US and the UK could also be used to identify thieves, he said.

"We need the technology from the UK and the US and others to help us track these vessels. I know the government is interested in getting hold of drones like the UK and US are using in Afghanistan."

US attempts to form an African command for its military based in Nigeria have been rejected by President Yar'Adua's government.

But the UK is the former colonial power, and home base of the parent company of Nigeria's biggest oil producer Royal Dutch Shell.

Mr Dele Cole said Mr Brown's offer was aimed at helping oil consumers.

"Consumers will benefit from bringing down the oil price. Anything that drives the price of oil down to help the British housewife."

Anonymous said...

Court Urged to Halt Handover of Bakassi

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Eight prominent indigenes of Bakassi yesterday asked a Federal High Court Abuja to halt the August 14 final cession of the oil-rich peninsular to Cameroon.
Respondents to the suit are President Umaru Yar'Adua, the National Assembly, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the governor of Cross River and the State House of Assembly.
Others are the National Boundary Commission, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the CBN and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
In a fresh motion filed by the plaintiffs' lawyer, Mr Kayode Fasetire, they urged the court to restrain the Federal Government from further implementation of the ``Green Tree Agreement'' between it and Cameroon.
In the agreement signed on June 12, 2006 in New York, Cameroon would assume full sovereignty over Bakassi on Aug. 14.
The agreement was reached and endorsed by the two countries after the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, held that Bakassi belonged to Cameroon.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Justice Mustapha Umar had on June 10 refused to grant the injunctive order on the ground that Fasetire did not file a formal application to that effect.
But Fasetire filed a formal application yesterday for the injunction, attaching relevant documents to back up his relief.
He urged the court to grant the injunction pending the determination of the substantive suit.

Anonymous said...

Northern Poverty Is Like N'Delta Crisis, Says Soludo
By Sukuji Bakoji (Kaduna), Maxwell Oditta (Lagos) and Chesa Chesa (Abuja)

A 'summit' or, if you like, 'dialogue' on the Niger Delta is necessary, former Akwa Ibom State Governor, Victor Attah, has argued; but he said it should be in three stages, noting that living conditions in the region has got worse and worse.

As he made the case at the weekend, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)Governor, Chukuwuma Soludo, also decried the crippling poverty in the North, describing it as bad as the conflict in the Niger Delta which stagnates growth.

The high level of poverty in some Northern states is unacceptable, he stressed, as it has reached mind-boggling proportions - ranging between 60 per cent and 95 per cent.

Worst hit are the North East and North West, Soludo reiterated in Kaduna at a public lecture and the 2008 Arewa Inspirational Leadership Award.

He said it would take the collective effort of every one to reverse the trend.

The ceremony was organised by Northern Development Initiative (NDI), a non-governmental organisation based in Kaduna.

It was chaired by Shehu Malami, who represented former President Shehu Shagari who is abroad on holiday.

Soludo - who received an Inspirational Leadership Award along with former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, and the leader of Ijaw Council of Elders, Edwin Clark - noted the low level of education in the North as well as its attendant poverty level in the 21st century, and argued that the quest by Nigeria to be among the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020 will remain a mirage unless these issues are tackled.

"Poverty is unacceptably high in Nigeria," he warned; "in fact more so that high and persistent levels of poverty in Nigeria happens to be essentially a Northern phenomenon.

"In the North, there is no state with poverty less than 60 per cent; the lowest is in the upper 60s; and it ranges from the upper 60s to 95 per cent in a state in the North.

"And if you put them by geo-political zones, the North East and the North West have 70s on the average; and there are several states with 80-something per cent poverty incident, and it stretches to one with about 95 per cent.

"For this economy to move forward, and for us to continue to claim 2020, we need to have an inclusive development."

Tinubu advocated a true federal structure to realise the Nigerian Project.

"It is pertinent to stress that the only durable and pivotal strategy for an enhanced effective and efficient urban development in Nigeria is fiscal federalism whereby every state will select a growth/development path consistent with the yearnings and aspirations of the people and democratic federalism," he said.

Attah made his own views known in a document he wrote on the proposed Niger Delta parley and sent to Sunday Independent after he was contacted to comment on the matter.

"The programme that would emerge from the summit must be given the full force of law so that it becomes a binding contract between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta peoples," said Attah, who has been away from the public glare since he handed over to Governor Godswill Akpabio on May 29 last year.

"Such a contract would be immutable and binding, not only on the present government of President Umaru Yar'Adua, but on all future governments.

"To correct the wrongs in the Niger Delta will go well beyond the life of this government, and indeed the next. Therefore to be impatient with the start of this programme smacks of the legend of the tortoise in the pit latrine."

Attah stressed that only the summit can attempt to correct all existing bad laws, spell out what development and environmental programmes the Niger Delta needs, define how best host states and communities can fully participate in oil and gas exploration for greater benefits.

He outlined the needs of the Niger Delta as infrastructure and human development, greater employment opportunities, and restoration of human dignity.

To him, the discovery of oil has brought hardship to the South South states of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, and Delta.

So, in his view, the first stage of the summit should be the distillation and collation of disparate views as well as inviting additional views and memoranda from interest and ethnic groups in the region.

A compilation of reports and submissions by a Steering Committee of experts will form the working paper for the dialogue.

"It is my strong recommendation that Niger Deltans should have the opportunity to discuss exclusively among themselves and come up with a Niger Delta Agenda for the Niger Delta. This will be the second stage of the summit."

Attah advised against hasty implementation of the document of the summit, since "rushing into implementation without a carefully thought-out plan of action is bound to fail.

"That is why we have so many abandoned projects and cases of collapsed buildings. This is not to say that the Federal Government, meanwhile, should not show good faith by continuing with such programmes as the East-West Road, the establishment of an environmental laboratory for monitoring oil spillage, manpower training, and a few others that have already been agreed upon."

He stressed the need to internationalise the summit, because Niger Deltans are a part of a larger country and they cannot pretend that whatever they want is what they will get.

He said the third stage should witness participation by other Nigerians and the international community.

"Would it not have been ironic, indeed a beneficial irony, if Ibrahim Gambari, a United Nations Under Secretary, as the Chairman of the Steering Committee (as distinct from the Chairman of the Summit)had turned out to be the one to bring our struggle to the full attention of the United Nations?"

Taking a cue, the Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee on Friday submitted to Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, its recommendations which include demobilisation and rehabilitation of Niger Delta militants and creating a fund for infrastructure.

If implemented, these would help douse tension in region, the Committee Chairman, David Briggidi, told reporters at the Villa in Abuja.

His words: "We were opportune to visit almost 90 per cent of the militants' camps and we assessed the situation. There is a critical aspect of this problem that we have not addressed and it is a generational factor. Generally, the entire region is losing a generation to arms struggle; the region is losing a generation to violence. The spate of the violence in the region presently requires a major reorientation."

Anonymous said...

Inside the militants’ kingdom
…The untold story
• The gangs, their armouries & command structure
Sunday, July 20, 2008

•Niger Delta militants
Photo: Sun News Publishing
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As with the proverbial bird that dances in the middle of the road, with the supplier of the melodious beats sequestered somewhere in the bush, Sunday Sun can authoritatively reveal that the Niger Delta militants may in fact have good reasons to challenge the military to a combat in the creeks.

These days, so audacious is their threat to life and property in the Niger Delta that observers sometimes sympathise with them ostensibly for embarking on suicide mission such as the boast to stand up to the might of the military.

Indeed, if the militants were seen to be grandstanding all along, what Sunday Sun discovered last week as constituting their combat capabilities would make even the British government think twice before sending its troops to assist Nigeria contain the militancy in the oil region.

Without exaggeration, in the camps of some of the militants can be found weapons that are far from available in the armouries of some African countries.
Yet the Niger Delta militants do not have in short supply such weapons as the notorious AK 47 rifles, assorted machine guns, dynamites and rocket launchers.
Uninhibited by the marshy terrain, which they are masterfully adapted to, Niger Delta militants are an intriguing lot.
Operating as major and minor groups, their areas of influence cover Bayelsa and Delta States. More importantly, each group has a “formidable” armoury hence they readily beat their chest in readiness for confrontation.

The gangs
There may be more, but the known militant gangs that have so far raised the stakes in the Niger Delta struggle include Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Ijaw National Congress (INC), Movement for the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality (MOSSIEND), Movement for Reparations to Ogbia (MORETO) and Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).
Others are the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Federated Niger Delta Izon Community (FNDIC) and recently, the vociferous Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Arguably, the MEND is the largest and most organized. It is also the major torn in the flesh of both the government and the oil companies operating in the region.

In Bayelsa State for instance, there are about five major militant camps, each parading between 150 and 200 fighters with an identified leader. Olugbobiri, one of the camps, is led by Joshua Mckiver .
The others are Korokosei led by Africa Owei; Ikeberi 1 & 11 and Okiegbene/Ebrigbene led by Gibson Kala, aka Prince Igodo.
The others are Robert Creek and Cowthern Channel.
The minor camps include Azuzuama led by Commander Jackson, alias Young Shall Grow; Gbekeregbene, Ezetu and Agge (led by Victor Ben alias Boyloaf). Others are Bilabiri, Kurutiye, Forupa, Okubie and Clough Creek.

Under the same leadership of Government Ekpempolo, the militants have three camps in Delta State. They are Camp 5, Okerenkoko and Opuraza, while the minor ones are Ubefan and Berger camps.

Command structures
Having recorded “successes” in the areas of hostage taking, political thuggery and extortion of money from their state governments and oil companies, the militants are not only well equipped, they also maintain fairly well organized communes.

Combat readiness
In most major camps, Sunday Sun learnt that no fewer than 150 to 200 youths could be mobilized to fight at any given time. Sometimes, however, the leaders could muster as much as 500 fighters depending on the exigency.
Curiously, as Sunday Sun was further told, some of the militant groups are usually antagonistic to one another as a consequence of supremacy contest.
Notwithstanding the apparent division within their ranks, Sunday Sun also learnt that the militants readily unite to fight a “common enemy” whenever there is one. More often than not, the “common enemy” is the military, particularly the Joint Military Task Force.
In that circumstance, each of the camps could mobilise as much as 1000 fighters, including reinforcement from outside its immediate territory.

Although they are believed to be largely without military training, the weapons in the camps of the militants and their ability to handle them during combat call that assumption to question.
In their various camps are such firearms as AK 47 rifles and others categorized as GPMG, BMG, RPG 7, speed boats an as well as Gun boats mounted with GPMG and BMGs.
It is also believed that Ekpempolo’s Camp 5 has an Anti-Aircraft machine gun.

Gang leaders
African Owei
Specifically in Bayelsa State, Africa Owei is said to have his camp – Osiaperemo - near a creek along the waterways in Korokorosei community. Besides, he is also believed to have another camp, which serves as his hideout, at Azuzuama community.
Currently he is said to be the commander of no fewer than 400 diehards, including his concubines and domestic staff.

Among his weaponry are three General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), 50 assorted rifles, including AK 47 and Pump Action guns with “inexhaustible” rounds of ammunition and dynamites.
To aid patrol in the creeks, he has about 17 speed boats, three of which look like locally configured gunboats, on which are usually mounted the GPMGs.
His adversaries say he is an ex-prison inmate who started out as a political thug before chancing on illegal oil bunkering rackets.

Joshua Mackiver
The story is the same in the camp of Joshua Mackiver, commander of one of the contending militant groups.
With a camp that is difficult to access because of the swampy terrain, Mackiver, Sunday Sun learnt, operates from a fishing port around the Olugbobiri area in Southern Ijaw council. Even at that, he is in charge of about 300 loyal fighters. They are armed with AK 47 rifles and GPMGs.
In fact, he might as well have acquired what is called RPG 7 launchers and even hired mercenaries to train his boys in weapons handling.
In all, Mackiver’s amoury could boast of at least 100 AK 47s, 15 General Purpose Machine Guns and seven pieces of RPG 7.
Like Owei, he was said to have bolted out of the Port Harcourt prison during the 2006 jail-break.

Victor-Ben Ebikabowei
Victor-Ben Ebikabowei, it would appear, is the most ambitious of the ring leaders. He operates three camps in Ezetu, Azuzuama and Agge, a border community between Ekermor and Southern Ijaw council.
Again, he is credited with the most organized and disciplined fighters estimated at between 200 and 300.
Until he became a Commander himself, Victor-Ben was said to be a “true ally” of Asari-Dokubo, and reportedly operated in the Port Harcourt axis along with Dagogo Farah. He is believed to be “well armed” and close to detained Henry Okah.
In his arsenal could be gleaned the following: 15 GPMGs, about 120 AK 47 rifles, 15 Long Range BMGs, 3 RPG 7 AND about 20 double-engine, 150 horse power speed boats that literally fly in the water.
For some reasons, his gang is said to be affiliated to the MEND.

Gibson Kala
Gibson Kala has his camp at Okigbene Community, southern Ijaw, while his personal residence serves as armoury and operational headquarters. In his camp are about 50 fighters, mostly teenagers and youngsters in their early twenties.
Sunday Sun learnt that in his armoury are some Uzi Machine guns, GPMGs and AK 47 rifles.
To facilitate his movement in the waterways, Kala is believed to have two boats usually mounted with machine guns often serving as gunboats, as well as seven Speed boast, double 175 engines.

With his own camp at the Azuzuama area of Southern Ijaw, Jackson was described as an “up start” in militancy. Currently, he is believed to be loyal to Government Epkompolo, the militant leader based in Okerenkoko, Delta State.
Even then, Jackson is said to be well armed with AK 47 rifles while no fewer than 40 boys are ready to lay down their lives for him.

Anonymous said...

Unknown persons blow up Agip facility in Bayelsa
Written by Sam Oyadomgha
Friday, 18 July 2008
UNKNOWN persons yesterday blew up a Key crude oil supply pipeline operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, the Nigerian subsidiary of the Italian group, Eni. The facility was located in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The attack on the delivery line was said to have been carried out in the early hours of yesterday by some unknown persons prompting the nation security forces to launch massive manhunt for the alleged attackers.

Although no live was lost in the attack which occurred some distance from the heavily fortified Tebidaba flowstation in the deep swamp of Southern Ijaw in the Bayelsa central senatorial district, it was however learnt that the raid might have been caused by disagreement between the locals and the company over the non implementation of memorandum of understanding (MoU).

As at press time, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, said to have caused heavy oil spill in the area. However, an industry source said it was aggrieved youths from an Ijaw community in the state that carried out the damage in protest against neglect of their community.

However, a source from the area told Vanguard that the attack is now causing panic among the locals especially with the large number of heavily armed soldiers backed by four gunboats reportedly heading towards the Tebidaba facility.

But a security source assured that the deployment was to compliment the strength of the troops already stationed in the Tebidaba flowstation.

The destroyed facility is one of the several connecting pipelines transporting crude oil to the multibillion naira Brass terminus, one of the nation's three export stations in the Niger Delta.

The attack on the Tebidaba, which is coming on the heels of the violent gunfight in neigbouring Rivers State between militants and the security forces has further cut down the country’s output by a quarter causing it to lose the position as Africa’s biggest oil producer to Angola, according to April figures from OPEC.

An official of Agip who spoke anonymously confirmed the attack on the facility saying the company safety personnel have been dispatched to the area to ascertain the extent of damage with a view to effecting repairs on account of its impact on the immediate environment.

Attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta have become increasingly common as militants and residents seek greater control of the region’s rich resources.

When contacted, the Bayelsa State Commander of the Joint Task Force, Lt. Col Chris Musa confirmed the incident, saying his men have been deployed to the area to investigate the matter.
His words:, “Unknown persons blew up a pipeline around Tebidaba flow station. We are looking for them,” he said.

Anonymous said...

Why we opposed Niger Delta Summit —Oritsejafor
Written by Sam Eyoboka
Saturday, 19 July 2008
LAGOS—A FEW days before the Federal Government decided to jettison its controversial Niger Delta Summit, the National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, expressed his opposition to the idea of a summit, saying it was no longer necessary.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, Pastor Oritsejafor also enjoined the Federal Govern-ment to re-examine its strategies for resolving the Niger Delta crisis by involving well meaning religious leaders from the area who, he said, could pacify the militants to submit their weapons as a pathway to peace in the area.

He also gave thumps down for a military option, as some people have canvassed, saying that his greatest fear in that direction is that so many innocent persons may be killed while countless others will be displaced.
“Military is not an option,” Oritsejafor, who played a prominent role in the resolution of the Warri crisis, said, adding “the problem that will come out as a result of that option will be too enormous for the government to handle, especially given the terrain of the area.”

Oritsejafor further suggest-ed that government should now refocus its attention at addressing the real issues of the area, by involving religious leaders who still command the respect of these boys and they (the religious leaders, together with a committee set up by government to harmonise past white papers on the Niger Delta issue) will negotiate an amnesty for the militants in exchange for disarmament in the region.

According to him, the cynicism that greeted the Niger Delta Summit stem from mistrust of government intentions for the area that has been described by UNDP as the poorest and most back-ward oil producing area in the world. The issues at stake are no longer new to anybody, he said.

“Instead of another jamboree that will gulp money and time, government should take another look at all the white papers of past Commissions, harmonise them into one workable document and begin implementation.
“The demands of the Niger Delta people are not too much.” he continued “The people want massive deve-lopment of the area that produces the wealth of the nation or you allow them to control their God-given resources as it was done in the days of cocoa, palm oil and groundnut pyramids.”

He blamed successive governments for all the “madness currently going on in the Niger Delta region,” saying “it is a product of years of organized and sustained oppression of the people whose only means of liveli-hood- farming and fishing- had been taken away from them by decades of oil exploration and exploitation in the area. Different governments have come and made promises to them without fulfilling such promises.”

Oritsejafor, General Overseer of Word of Life Bible Church, Warri, Delta State, further lamented that the region’s problems were compounded by the role of local chiefs, some of whom have misrepresented the interest of different communities as they allegedly corner the monies paid by oil companies.

He maintained that when the youths protest the neglect of the area by the oil companies, the chiefs would be forced to declare a paltry sum after dialogue.

Fuming with passion for the untold degradation of the area, Oritsejafor said successive governments had set up different Commissions of enquiry to look into the problems of the area and several white papers have been submitted to the different administrations and, yet, there are no roads, potable water, electricity, schools and other social amenities for them.

“Their children have no access to good schools. Even employable youths of the area are denied employment for one reason or the other. And when the jobless youths of the area protest their endless years of servitude, they are labeled militants,” he added.

He also called for the inclusion of some militants in the implemention of a harmo-nised version of all the several white papers in the coffers of government saying, “con-cluding and presenting the issue to them will be improper.
“If the militants are part of the negotiation and an amnesty included in the submission, there will be peace in the area,’’ he said.

Anonymous said...

•Dokubo-Asari replies Arewa, Soyinka
•Re-states call for Sovereign National Confab
Monday, July 21, 2008

Photo: Sun News Publishing
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He was apparently vexed in spirit. As he talked, his pitch fluctuated depicting the bile in his spirit. Sometimes, it crested to high notes. He was very passionate about the issues raised. His tone betrayed such emotion. Though he was not wielding his AK 47 assault riffle which is one of his trademarks, it could be seen all the same imaginarily. Convinced about his struggle, he fired his salvos from all cylinders, occasionally sounding thunderous.

As he literally sprayed his bullets everywhere, he was ready to go on and on but the interviewer would not let him empty his bowel. Some of his statements were simply slanderous but Asari-Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), wouldn't care a hoot. He poured invectives on everybody who dared to oppose him and damned them to go to hell. “It is my land; get out of my land,” he effervesced in spontaneous fury.

He was expectedly explosive and at the end of the day, he affirmed that the struggle must continue until there is total liberation for his people.
From the presidential villa in Abuja to the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Port Harcourt, it is hard tackle all the way. Some northerners, who recently made vexatious comments on the Niger Delta situation and its oil,b also got a good dose of Asari's vitriol. He called them primitive, lazy parasites.

Now that Professor Gambari has opted out of the chairmanship of the steering committee of the proposed Niger Delta Summit, which is the way forward on the Niger Delta situation?
For me, the issue was not Gambari. If you have read my interviews, you will find out that I never talked about Gambari. Gambari was not an issue in opposition to the conference. The issues we are talking about are very fundamental. They are issues that concern our political sovereignty and self determination and we have stated clearly that it is only a sovereign national conference that can adequately address the issues.

Even as Gambari has opted out, who would you prefer to chair the summit?
I don't believe in the summit, so I cannot suggest anybody. We have stated that our minimum demand as I stated earlier is a sovereign national conference. Anything that does not have sovereign power, I think it is useless and a waste.

You were quoted as saying that deployment of troops by the Federal Government to the region will not change the situation in the Niger Delta. What exactly do you mean by this statement?
It will not solve anything. The era when they intimidate people with troops is over. In this world, nobody has exclusive preserve of terror. If they think that they will terrorize us and fight us, that time is over. It is gone and it is gone forever, so as long as they come into our land to attack us, we have every right; inalienable right to defend ourselves.

You have accused the Federal Government of insincerity in the handling of the Niger Delta situation. How did you arrive at that conclusion?
Insincerity has always been there. It is not new. Any reasonable, discerning mind will know that the government is not sincere even in the relationship between the president and his vice president, Goodluck Jonathan. If the president is sincere, we will see it from his relationship with Goodluck Jonathan who is vice president; who unfortunately, is from the Niger Delta. The constitution of the Nigerian state assigns certain functions to him which Yar'Adua has refused to give to him. The ministers from the Niger Delta, their relationship with Yar'Adua in the executive arm, that is where it will start. Let us see it from them. It is when we see it from them that there is sincerity. This is the most powerless vice president in the history of the Nigerian state. He has no power. He is stripped of all powers. He is treated as if he is not part of the government and we see it even if the man does not see it. He pretends to cover it up. Everybody sees it. It is an open secret. Everybody knows that Yar'Adua has not been fair to Goodluck Jonathan and the ministers from the South-South and the South-Eastern states.

How do you react to some statements from some northerners that the Niger Delta is responsible for its problems and that oil belongs to all?
Why don't they go and say that oil in Chad or Cameroun or in Saudi Arabia or Lybia belongs to them? They are talking because our elders allow them to talk. It is their arrogance. First, they are parasites. They contribute nothing; absolutely nothing intellectually or resource wise to this entity they call Nigeria. They are only parasites. We all saw what happened to them in the last four years of Obasanjo when they lost virtually everything; how they were hunger-stricken and became beggarly, so their boast does not affect anyone of us.

They are men and we are men. If they send their men, we will defend ourselves. We will not only defend ourselves, we will carry the battle to them wherever they are. They cannot come to our land, destroy our land and kill our people and cause mayhem. We will take the battle to wherever they are. You take somebody else's resources and you have the temerity, instead of you to be begging, to pour invectives. Did they conquer us? What power do they have? The Biafran war they are talking, we fought it. Did they fight it? Did Murtala Mohammed not run away? Which of them fought the war? We fought the war to keep this dubious entity one. It was our blood and sweat and resources. They didn't fight the war. Who never knew about how Murtala Mohammed cowardly ran away at Asaba?

Would you say the attack on Bonga oil fields and other flow stations were justified?
I don't think that anybody will attack his own property. We are only re-possessing our property on our land. We have not gone to attack anybody. We have not attacked Kano. We have not attacked Ibadan. We didn't attack Enugu. We didn't attack Lagos, so how would we have attacked our own territory?

Professor Wole Soyinka has said that the region should engage in intellectual militancy instead of violence. How do you react to that statement?
So, what was Ken Saro-Wiwa engaged in when he was judicially murdered? Was he engaged in any other form of militancy or what is militancy? I'm not a militant. I don't know what Professor Soyinka meant when he said intellectual militancy. I don't believe in that. What I say is, this is my land. Get out of my land. It is as simple as that. You are in my land, I'm not in your land. Get out! If you don't get out, I will use everything-all that God has given me to send you out of my land. That's just it!

Some people believe that militancy in the region is politicized and that there are powerful individuals behind the militants. Do you agree with that?
I don't know who are the powerful individuals. The person I know is the people in government aided by Obasanjo which I know very well. Obasanjo was very instrumental with his security, with the SSS and military intelligence that worked with people like Henry Okah to discredit the struggle that I know. If there are other individuals who fund the movement; if they are Ijaw people, they have the right to fund the movement for their own liberation and the betterment of their people. So, I don't know about militancy. The patriotic struggle of our people is supported by the whole Niger Delta people even if they pretend; even those who are wining and dining with the opposition force.

Some youths in the region also accused the region's leaders of being sell-outs, is this true?
We know that for sometime now, our people - the governors and so on - are they elected by our people? Take for example the governor of Rivers State, who elected him? Seven Supreme Court judges elected him; a man who never contested election. Have you ever heard of such a thing anywhere in the world that seven Supreme Court judges imposed somebody who never contested election to become the governor of a state? Or is it in Delta State, Adamawa and Kogi where somebody was exempted from contesting election -was prevented by INEC but the issue of Delta State, uptil today, the case has not been decided? Or is it in Bayelsa State where the president is meddling in the affairs of Bayelsa State and did not allow the people of Bayelsa to decide who will be their governor? Or in Edo State where the Appeal Court has delayed pronouncement on the judgment between Oshiomhole and Professor Osunbor? It is all apparent that they put them there as the task masters of Pharaoh. Pharoah is in Abuja then he sent his task masters to force us to work without straw.

In a nutshell, what is the real problem of the Niger Delta and what does the region want?
(Cuts in) The problem of the Niger Delta is political. Our sovereignty was stolen from us by the British and that's what we are talking about. Until that issue is addressed at a sovereign national conference, all these half measures will come to nought. They will fail and the people doing it are not sincere at all. I met with them. I was in the committee set up by Ijaw people to go and meet with the government of the Nigerian state. I withdrew for about four months. I was persuaded by Ijaw people to return and I did. What are these meetings? “Look, my friend, go back to your people. Let them know that there are masters.

They are the slaves. If you accept that, we will leave you in peace. We will not come to turn your land into Odi, Odoma, Unekem, et cetera. We will not kill you as we killed Isaac Boro and Saro-Wiwa and others. Just go and tell them to accept that there are slaves. Period and we are their masters and overlords.” These are the meetings they held and nothing else. I was part of the meeting and I know the mindset of the people. I know the mindset of the present government. “Go and accept to be slaves” and we are not ready to be slaves. We either die than accept to be slaves.

If you are asked, what does the Niger Delta region want, how would you answer it in a nutshell?
I have told you. I said convocate a sovereign national conference. The decision of this sovereign national conference will be subjected to a referendum like it was done in Ethiopia when Eritrea left or as it has been attempted three times by Cubec in Canada. Convocate a sovereign national conference.
You talked about a Pharoah in Abuja. What kind of leader would you say Yar'Adua is?
As far as I'm concerned, Yar'Adua will be worse than Obasanjo.

What gives you that impression?
It is very obvious seven-point agenda. Niger Delta is one of the seven points according to him. He made a budget. Four hundred and something million for security in the Niger Delta, sixty something million for NDDC. NDDC’s money that is two hundred and something billion has expired but the Lagos State money that Obasanjo held did not expire. He paid Lagos. So, I know the mindset of the man. The man is not even pretending about it. It is very clear. He cannot give NDDC’s money to them. They are constructing one road in Abuja for N50 billion but nine NDDC states will share a budget of N70 billion. One single road in Abuja for N50 billion. It is only people who are friends and brothers of Satan that can do that.

You have not been as vocal as you used to be and some people feel you have been compromised. What's responsible for your new stance?
(cuts in) What is being vocal? So, what I am saying, what do you expect me to say? You want me to say what? That they should kill somebody or they should do what? What is being vocal? I've stated my position clearly everywhere at every forum, everywhere that I address people from the grassroots to the town hall meetings and everywhere and people say I am not as vocal as I used to be. So, how would I be vocal?

Have you ever entered into any deal with the Federal Government past or present to back down?
I've never as a person entered into any deal with anybody to jettison the struggle of my people. That was why I was sent to prison because I made it clear to Obasanjo that this is the position of our people, that except for a sovereign national conference, there will be no solution. He thought it was a joke. He put me in prison and he saw it that it was not possible except they convocate a sovereign national conference; except there is sincerity on the part of the people like what happened in South Africa. Except there is that level of sincerity, all these things will come to nought and if Zionist Israel could not suppress Hammas and Islamic Jihad, it could not suppress Hezbollah. If America with all her power could not suppress the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan, how do they think that these primitive, lazy, parasitic people will be able to suppress and subdue the resistance in the Niger Delta. It is not possible.
How would you assess the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up by the Rivers State government?
It is part of the diversionary tactics. Amaechi received N89 billion last month from what they call federation account.

So, he wants to divert the attention of people. Let Amaechi show anything he has done with all the money he has collected since he came. He wants to divert people's attention and malign those who were there before him, a government in which he was No. 3 man. He wants to extricate himself from that government. There was no differing opinion. Everybody was saying Odilli, Sekibo, Odilli, Sekibo until I came and brought an alternative view and from then, have you been seeing them airing it live again? They cut the programme. They brought people to come and malign people. That is what they do. They pay people to come and malign. It's one of the grand designs. He was not elected by Rivers people. He was imposed. It was a coup against the people of Rivers State. He was imposed on us. So, all that he was doing, he only provided me a platform to state my case under legal cover. I took oath, I stated the demand of our people. I thank him for that. Apart from that, this thing (the commission) was set up to witch hunt people.

So, what do you make of the revelations from the commission?
There is no revelation. What revelations are there? Did you hear any revelation? People come and lie. You see people lying; saying all sorts of lies. When they are asked questions, they circumvent them and they leave. Go and get my tape and listen to it and even where it will affect me, I stated the facts as they were. I was not taking sides with anybody. They don't want that. Everybody ought to support Amaechi. The billions are there.

You had an altercation with Marshall Harry's son at the commission and the situation nearly went out of hand. Why?
Yes! That young man is paid. He is a junkie. You can make your investigation. He is paid to come and malign people and we all know. He made several attempts to kill his father. His father is a member of my house. After his father's death, he fraternized with Odilli and even said that if his father was alive, his father would have supported Odilli to become president. So, when did he suddenly realize that Odilli was the killer of his father? I was the first person to openly come out to accuse Odilli and Obasanjo of having a hand in the killing of Marshall Harry.

That was in May 2004 in my second letter to Rivers people. The letter is there. Even your paper published extracts from it; Kaima confession. Where was he then? If I was not afraid to accuse the powers that be when they were in power, is it now that they have left office that I will be afraid of them? He agreed that he held a meeting with Odilli where he demanded that Odilli should pardon him for his criminal activities when he stole and was duly convicted and he went to prison. Amaechi has an agenda. He wants to remove Tonye Harry. Sekibo took him to court, so he is fighting Sekibo. So, why is he accusing only those who are anti-Amaechi as the killers of his father?

You have made some strong statements at the commission, even now, can you justify them?
I was in Kuje Prison with the people who were arrested and accused of killing Marshall Harry. The young man has never met then. They said they never killed; police only gathered them and gave them a cheque and told them to go and pay it after that they will leave. These people are not dead. They are still in Kuje prison. I met the investigation officer. He was the one who was in charge of my case, DSP Bello. Even though he said they were the killers, I met with him. The so-called Marshall Harry's son has never met him. So, I'm better positioned to say what happened to Marshall Harry than that fellow who is looking for money. Everybody knows him that he is looking for money.

So, on a final note, concerning the Niger Delta crisis, for you, would it be right to say that the struggle continues?
The struggle will continue until the political issues are adequately and totally addressed. Until that issue is resolved, whatever half measure taken or proffered will fail.

Anonymous said...

Let's take charge
Ijaw leader, Clark says N'Delta wants to control its resources
Friday, July 25, 2008

•Chief Edwin Clark
Photo: Sun News Publishing
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The ultimate goal of the people of the Niger-Delta area is to take effective control of the natural resources emanating from the area, so says Ijaw leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark.

In an interview with Daily Sun, Clark predicted that the crisis in the area would continue to escalate until oil producing states had taken total control of funds from the proceeds of oil sales. Such states, he stated, would then pay taxes to the Federal Government.

“There must be true federalism. We insist that oil producing states must take control of their oil money and pay taxes to the Federal Government. It is pertinent that every oil bearing area must develop their communities,” he said.

While regretting the shabby treatment being meted out to the oil producing communities, the Ijaw leader noted that every part of the country depended on oil money without having any regards to the development of the area that produced the nation's wealth.
He vowed that leaders from the South-South would never relinquish the struggle for control of the area's resources.

“How can we drop the issue of resource control? That is our life. In fact, we are still pushing for an increase to between 25 per cent and 50 per cent in the next five years,” he stated, while noting that that was part of the recommendations made by the area in the report submitted by General Alex Ogomudia to the Federal Government.
According to him, past reports and recommendations on the Niger-Delta since 1958 should be collated and acted upon rather than wasting time, energy and money to convene conferences that would yield no positive result.

The Ijaw leader also said that leaders from the region had already made presentations to the Federal Government that three committee members should come from each state in the region with one from each senatorial zone.
“As long as we want a forum for dialogue we had already told the Federal Government to use the 2008 budget to develop the Niger-Delta. The region must be protected and nothing will be too big to earmark for the development of the area that produces the oil wealth of this nation, if the government is really sincere on the development of the region,” he said.

The ex-Information minister urged President Umaru Yar'Adua to show genuine interest in the Niger-Delta question, insisting that the leaders would continue to maintain their stand on the issue.
“The only way out of the numerous violence and all forms of criminality in the area is the sincere infrastructural transformation of the battered region that has been in abject poverty and want. All we are saying is that President Yar'Adua should be sincere in this direction,” Clark said.

Anonymous said...

Hand-over Bakassi, risk impeachment, Arigbe-Osula tells Yar’Adua
By Our Reporter
Tuesday, July 29, 2008

•President Yar'Adua
Photo: Sun News Publishing
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Barely two weeks to the scheduled hand-over of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Camerounian authorities, the Federal Government has been told to perish the idea. Hon. Emmanuel Arigbe-Osula, a former member of the House of Representatives who gave the warning at the weekend said President Umaru Yar’Adua would be committing an impeachable offence if he goes ahead to handover the oil-rich region.

The former All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) governorship candidate in Edo State said before Bakassi or any other part of the country listed in the first schedule of the 1999 constitution can be excised, the constitution must first be tinkered with.

“Bakassi is a part of our constitution in first schedule and section 8 (4) and section 9 (3). The president will be breaching the constitution and committing impeachable offence if he supports this lawlessness of his predecessor, while irredeemably rubbishing his supposed commitment to the rule of law,” he noted.

Last week, Yar’Adua while receiving the new Camerounian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Salaheddine Abbas had said the deal between Nigeria and Cameroun over the oil rich Bakassi Peninsula was irrevocable and insisted that his administration will for no reason go back on the issue.
According to him, Nigeria was ready and fully committed to a successful handover of the disputed Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroun on August 14, 2008, in accordance with the Green Tree Agreement signed between Nigeria and Cameroun.

“We must ensure that the August 14 handover goes ahead, in accordance with the Green Tree Agreement, and then we shall continue to work together to further strengthen our existing very cordial and brotherly relations,” Yar’Adua had said.

But a visibly concerned Arigbe-Osula told Daily Sun at the weekend that the treaty, which purportedly relocated Bakassi was not only a farce, but was against the spirit and letter of the constitution which Yar’Adua has sworn to defend and uphold.
“Treaties, even when in compliance with section 12 of the constitution cannot controvert the supremacy of our constitution nor circumvent it”, he reasoned.

He continued: “Treaty, no matter how good the intention, an international body, no matter how big, including the UN, cannot legislate for Nigeria, particularly if such legislation is inconsistent with the provision of our constitution.

The supremacy of our constitution cannot be undermined by anyone who has a serious and valid democratic credential and regard for the rule of law. Consequently, those members of the National Assembly who support the seccession of Bakassi without the amendment of the constitution in line with section 9 (3) are committing a sacrilege. The president will be breaching the constitution and committing impeachable offence if he supports this lawlessness of his predecessor, while irredeemably rubbishing his supposed commitment to the rule of law.

“The NASS, by itself, cannot amend the constitution nor make a law inconsistent with the constitution valid even if they passed it. Bakassi shall remain a part of Nigeria until all constitutional conditions are met before it can be ceded away. It is, therefore, still the responsibility of Nigeria to ensure their welfare and security.

We can do the right thing now or go the lawless part and plunge our country into an avoidable crisis.”
According to Arigbe-Osula, by backing down from handing over Bakassi, Yar’Adua will be remedying one of the most hideous crimes of Obasanjo’s administration against Nigerians who in a desperate bid to perpetuate himself in power ceded away part of the nation ostensibly to hoodwink other world leaders that he was peace-loving and the solution to the Africa insecurity.
“The international communities will respect us if we do the right thing,” he maintained.

Anonymous said...

Militants attack JTF Logistics Base
By Sola Adebayo and Ibanga Isine
Published: Monday, 4 Aug 2008
More deaths have been recorded in the restive Niger Delta as militants on Saturday night attacked the Logistics Base of the Joint Task Force in Bomadi, Delta State and a drinking spot in Onne, Rivers State.

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Photo file
Warship, insets, Gen. Andrew Owoeye-Azazi & Vice-Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye

Apart from killing five people in the two incidents, the militants abducted two French nationals and seized two JTF gunboats as well as sophisticated weapons.

Investigation by our correspondents on Sunday showed that the militants stormed the JTF base from a neighboring coastal community.

The base was established by the pioneer Commander of JTF, Brig.-Gen. Elias Zamani, in 2003 to coordinate the operations of the security outfit in Bomadi, Patani, Burutu and neighboring riverine communities in Bayelsa State.

Our correspondents learnt that JTF operatives made futile attempts to ward-off the militants whose mission was to seize arms and ammunition to fortify their armories.

A source told our correspondents that many residents of Bomadi were forced into the bush during the more than one hour gun duel between the operatives and the militants.

“During the gun battle, a woman and two people were killed by stray bullets. Some members of the JTF were also injured,” the source said.

Another source claimed that the militants abandoned the seized gunboats at Okwagbe Waterside, Burutu Local Government Area, after taking weapons in them.

According to the source, the bandits abandoned the boats because of lack of competent hands to pilot them to their camps.

The boats were expected to be escorted back to Bomadi by an air force helicopter on Sunday.

Report from Bomadi showed that the road leading in and out of the Ijaw community had been sealed off by the JTF operatives.

Before 10 truckloads of troops and gunboats departed the 93 Batttalion, Effurun for Bomadi on Sunday, the JTF Commander, Brig.-Gen. Wuyep Rimtip, held a crucial meeting with top officials of the Force to review the development.

Six gunboats were also deployed in a militant camp in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State where a reliable JTF source quoted Rimtip as claiming that he was in possession of intelligence report linking the attack on the base to the camp.

The Co-ordinator of the newly-created Joint Media Campaign Centre in the JTF, Lt. Col. Rabe Abubakar, confirmed the Bomadi incident.

He said, “Yesterday (Saturday) night, there was an encounter between our troops and militants at our duty location at Bomadi and no single casualty on our troops.

“The Commander of the JTF condemned this development and warned those behind it to stop or we will be left with no option than to pay back, which will be catastrophic.”

In Rivers State, one of our correspondents gathered that the abducted French men were crew members of Bourbon Absara, a vessel working for Adax Oil Nigeria Limited.

They were said to be in a drinking spot popularly referred to as “Bush Bar” when the gunmen arrived and started shooting inside.

A source said that one of the Nigerians in the bar tried to escape but was gunned down.

He said, “Just after the man was killed, a phone held by one of the ladies inside the place rang and the gunmen opened fire and she fell down and died.

“They took the two expatriates to a waiting bus outside the bar and drove to the waterside. They escaped with a speedboat after setting the bus ablaze.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Spokesman for the JTF, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, confirmed the attack.

However, he did not confirm the killing of the two Nigerians but said that the command was awaiting details of what happened at the bar.

He said, “We have received report on the attack on a joint in Onne where two expatriates are said to have been abducted by hoodlums.

“The hoodlums went to the area in the night through the waterfront and also escaped through the waterfront. We are yet to know the identities of the hostages.”

Anonymous said...

Niger Delta speaks with one voice
Written by Leke Adeseri
Thursday, 07 August 2008
Nigerians in general and people of the South-South region in particular are in the throes of history as the two-day South-South legislative retreat (exclusively Vanguard) kicks off today at the prestigious Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Eggheads, political leaders and opinion moulders from the nooks and crannies of the region will be led to the retreat by the six South-South governors.

Initiated by Vanguard Newspapers and a media consulting firm, Bridgelink Limited, the talks will also feature no fewer than 250 personalities made up of serving and past governors of the six South-South states, all Senators and House of Representatives members from the zone; all Speakers and leaders of the six state Houses of Assembly in the zone, all the leaders of the South-South Zone; eminent opinion leaders and personalities; Federal and state lawmakers and legal luminaries.

The specific focus and agenda will be the eight federal laws identified as being inimical to the overall social and economic development of the South-South zone.

According to the chief convener, Mr. Sam Amuka, Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, the success of the retreat will be a major boost to Vanguard Newspaper as the clear leader in the Niger Delta market.

Today’s event will start with the opening remarks by the Chairman, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte; welcome address by Mr. Sam Amuka, keynote address by Governor of Rivers State (Chief Host); Goodwill message by Vice-President Goodwill Jonathan and solidarity messages by governors of the South-South.

There will be three papers during the afternoon session including: "Revenue Allocation, Fiscal Federalism and the impact of the Abolition of Dichotomy Act, 2004 on the Niger Delta Region" to be delivered by Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN). The Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva, will give the executive perspective on the topic while Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly will lead the discussion. Justice Karibi-Whyte will chair the session.

The second paper will be presented by Dr. Joseph Abugu on "Solving the Niger Delta Problem; the law and the people ... the Land Use Act as a case study." Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (Governor, Delta State) will give the executive perspective; Chief Abel Ubeku will chair the session while the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly will lead the discussion.

The final paper for the day on "The Petroleum Act 51 of 1969 and the imperatives of evolving true Federalism in Nigeria," will be presented by Dr. Michael Ibanga (Senior Lecturer, Law, University of Calabar). Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State will give the executive perspective at the session to be chaired by Chief Philip Asiodu, while the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly will lead the discussion.

Legislation considered to have negative impact on the socio-economic development of the region are:

•Petroleum Act Cap. P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

The Petroleum Act Cap. P10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, is an Act which provides for the exploration of petroleum from the Territorial Waters and the Continental Shelf of Nigeria and to vest the ownership of, and all on-shore and off-shore revenue from the petroleum resources derivable therefrom in the Federal Government of Nigeria and for the regulation of all other matters incidental thereto.

This Act further states that the entire ownership and control of all petroleum resources in any state in Nigeria shall be vested on the Federal Government.

•Lands (Title Vesting, etc) Act Cap. L7 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

The Lands (Title Vesting, etc) Act Cap. L7 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, is principally to provide for the vesting of the title of all land within the 100 metres limit of the 1967 shoreline and all land reclaimed near the lagoon, sea or ocean bordering Nigeria exclusively in the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Act specifies the conditions in which allocation of land may be invalidated, namely, that any lease purportedly granted by any state or local government, individual or any body corporate or unincorporated or any agency of the state or local government, in respect of such land, before the commencement of this Act shall abate, be null and void and of no effect whatsoever.

Additionally, the Act deals with the regularisation of leases. Therefore, it provides that the holder of any lease purportedly granted before the commencement of this Act shall be deemed to have been granted by the Federal Government based on its terms and conditions.

•Minerals and Mining Act Cap. M12 LFN 2004

This Act provides for the control of and establishment of proprietary rights in minerals and regulation of mining activities in Nigeria. It makes provisions for mining incentives and assistance to corporate bodies, small scale miners, individuals or foreign investors.

It also contains provisions relating to the acquisition of prospecting titles and rights in respect of an area, minerals, and its disposal, duration of the right, renewal and surrender of such right. The Act also made provisions regarding water pollution, i.e., pollution in the course of mining, compensation to be paid and the grant of a water licence.

There are provisions on the possession and purchase of controlled mineral; compensation to be paid to owner or occupier of land and prevention of pollution of the environment. Under the Act, provisions are made on the appointment of mine officers, their duties and powers, offences and penalties for breach of any provision.

This enactment further provides for the revocation of titles to mining leases, trading in diamond, gold and other precious metals including quarry operations payment of royalties. Also, the Act, provides for the establishment of Tin Production and Development Revolving Loans Fund as well as the Small Scale Mining Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund.

•National Inland Waterways Authority Act Cap. N47 LFN 2004

This Act establishes the National Inland Waterways Authority, with the responsibility to improve and develop inland waterways for navigation in Nigeria. It provides for the appropriate statutory mechanism for the untilisation of the nation’s waterways.

•Exclusive Economic Zone Act Cap. E17 LFN 2004

This Act delimits the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria being an area extending up to 200 nautical miles seawards from the coasts of Nigeria. Within this zone and subject to the universally recognised rights of other states (including land locked states), Nigeria would exercise certain sovereign rights, especially in relation to the conservation or exploitation of natural resources (minerals, living species, etc.) of the sea bed, its sub-soil and superjacent waters and the right to regulate by law the establishment of artificial structures and installations and marine scientific research and the applicability of criminal and civil laws within the zone.

•Land Use Act Cap. L5 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

The Land Use Act vests all land comprised in the territory of each state (except land vested in the Federal Government or its agencies) solely in the Governor of the State, who would hold such land in trusts for the people and would henceforth be responsible for allocation of land in all urban areas to, individuals resident in the State and to organisations for residential, agricultural, commercial and other purposes while similar powers with respect to non-urban areas are conferred on local governments.

The intention of the Act was to “make land available to all Nigerians irrespective of where they live or their state of origin.” It was intended by its provisions to preserve the existing land holdings or ownership created by the existing laws before its commencement and operation.

The Act made the governor of each state a trustee (vis-a-vis the people) who holds the land in trust and administers same for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in his state and does not become the beneficial owner of the land.

By this Act, the structure and nature of land ownership was changed drastically to deny communities and groups that historically-owned and controlled their land the traditional rights associated with the ownership of land in favour of the government.

•Territorial Water Act Cap. T5 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

This is an enactment which determines the limit of the territorial waters of Nigeria and for other matters connected thereto.

The Act defines the nation’s territorial water. Under the Act, acts or omissions considered as offences are triable as if they occurred within the territory of Nigeria. It also states the prosecutorial restriction to try offences committed by foreigners at the open sea within the Nigerian territorial water as such trials can only be commenced with the consent of the Attorney-General, who issues a certificate that such offender shall be tried.

•Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, etc.) Act Cap. A15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004

This Act determines the basis for distribution of revenue accruing to the Federation Account between the Federal, State and Local Government Councils in the States.

It further provides for how the revenue of the various states will be distributed amongst the existing Local Government Councils in the States and the proportion of the revenue of the states which should be paid into the State Joint Local Government Account

Anonymous said...

Insist on 50% resource control, Uwazuruike tells N/Delta leaders


Leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has charged leaders of the Niger Delta region to insist on 100 percent control of their resources rather than 50 per cent being advocated.

He said the people of the region should be free to negotiate with the oil companies and only pay tax to the federal government in line with current global trend. According to him, the regions during the first republic shared the revenue from their resources with the federal government on 50: 50 ratio.

He therefore argued that if regions had control of 50 per cent of their resources during the era of groundnut, cocoa and palm oil why must they be calling for 50 per cent today. "The era of 50:50 is gone. The world is not static. The current trend all over the world is that people are in control of their resources.

"They only pay stipend to the government. This should be the case in Nigeria ", he said.

Uwazuruike who spoke with newsmen in his Freedom House Okwe, Imo State" on the movement’s planned sit-at-home protest scheduled for August 28, gave kudos to the Niger Delta militants over their resistance to Nigerian authorities in their quest for resource control, saying that freedom fighters will always emerge in a place where there is injustice.

He said that the United Nations has made it clear that ethnic nationalities have a right to self determination even by violence and use of force. He said: "I say bravo to militants. But what I hate to hear is that Niger Delta leaders are calling for 50 per cent control of their resources. No, they should call for 100 per cent and pay tax to the government. The militants should take a step further to mount pressure on the federal government for their demands".

The MASSOB leader who blamed former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for the crisis in the country said that his movement has engaged the services of international lobbyists in the United States of America to press for the prosecution of Obasanjo over the killing of about 2000 activists of the movement during his eight year tenure.

Chief Uwazuruike who noted that Obasonjo’s regime witnessed the worst abuse of human rights insisted that ex-president be tried for genocide against Ndigbo. While he refused to disclose how much MASSOB has committed to the project, he stated that the lobbyists are seriously working to get OBJ brought to book.

He said he has no doubt that the former president would one day face the law for his crime against Ndigbo Although, he said that MASSOB chose non-violence means to achieve its objectives, he nevertheless, noted that if violence will work out for the militants they should stick to it. On the planned stay-at –home exercise on 28th August, Chief Uwazuruike stated that it was conceived by his movement to provide an agenda for which the Igbo will come together.

According to him, his concern for the unity of the race informed his decision to introduce the silent protest to serve as a rallying point for the Ndigbo who he said have suffered terribly in Nigeria.

He said that no security agent can stop the exercise from holding as planned. He was very optimistic that the exercise will cripple activities in the country within the hours it will be observed.