Buhari says Nigeria’s unity not negotiable as Avengers bombs NNPC pipeline

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    ABUJA — AS Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, struck again, yesterday, blowing up Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipeline at Eleme, Rivers State, President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that Nigeria’s unity was not negotiable. He also warned looters of the nation’s treasury to return their loot for peace to reign, saying government would continue to ask for the funds until they were eventually returned.

    President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by the Chairman FCT CAN, Pastor Israel Akanji (2l) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo while the Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh (3r); Chaplain, Aso Villa Chapel, Pastor Sheyi Malomo (r); the Deputy Chief Imam of the National Mosque, Alhaji Ibrahim Makari (2r) and others during Eid-el-fitr visit by selected groups from the FCT at the State House, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida But the NDA claimed, yesterday, that the Federal Government was negotiating with fraudsters, distancing itself from recent violent attacks in the South-West.

    President Buhari, who gave the warning while receiving a cross section of Nigerians, most of whom were Muslims, in his official residence located within the Presidential Villa, Abuja to pay him sallah homage, recalled the famous quote of former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on the indivisibility of Nigeria. According to him, the task of keeping Nigeria as one united entity is a task that must be done. He said: “We have to concentrate on the militants to try to know how many of them, in terms of groupings, try to get in touch with their leadership to try to persuade them to please give Nigeria a chance.

    “I assure them that when we were very junior officers, we were told by our leaders, by the Head of State, who was Gen. Gowon, that to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done…we never thought of oil. “What we were after is one Nigeria. Please, pass the message to the militants that one Nigeria is not negotiable. And I pray they better accept it. The constitution is very clear as to what they should get and I assure them there would be justice. “Please persuade those who have plenty of money that do not belong to them to try and negotiate, return it in peace so that both them and us will be in peace, otherwise we will continue to request.

    ” Hunger in the land Noting that there was hunger in the land, the President expressed optimism that the country would soon start feeding itself as the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and 13 states were working hard to ensure that Nigeria achieved self- sufficiency in the production of rice. He said the programme had reinvigorated confidence in many farmers, who had already returned to the field. Mess of the past administration In his remarks, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo noted that the last one year of the administration was dedicated to cleaning the “mess of the past administration.

    ” He, however, expressed hope that Nigeria would be placed on a sound footing in the months ahead, even as he prayed God to give President Buhari the wisdom and strength to continue to work for the country. Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello, who led a delegation of most FCT residents, prayed for good health and God’s guidance on behalf of the President.

    Those who attended the sallah homage included Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal; Primate of the Church of Nigerian (Anglican Communion), Nicholas Okoh; Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar; National Security Adviser, Babagana Mongunu; Acting Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Others included Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), FCT Chapter, Israel Akanji and Dr. Kabir Adam of the National Mosque, Abuja.

    Avengers bombs NNPC pipeline in Eleme Meanwhile, Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, yesterday, shifted its hostilities from Delta to Rivers State, blowing up NNPC pipeline at Eleme leading to the Nigeria Liquefied National Gas, NLNG in the state, saying government was negotiating with fraudsters. The militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying on its Facebook page, NDavengers:  “By 3.00 am, yesterday, strike team 2 carried out a major strike, bombing NNPC pipeline at Eleme, leading to NLNG. You won’t stop us.

    ” The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, also yesterday, threatened to set seven flow stations ablaze in Bayelsa State. This is as Egbesu Boys of Niger Delta, a militant group, said the ongoing warfare in the Niger Delta was an Ijaw fight for self-determination and not Niger Delta struggle as generally assumed by many. Before the Rivers attack, NDA daringly posted at about 8.12 pm on its Facebook page: “Another major pipe about to go up in flames! Brass, LNG, Boom.

    ” The group said any attack by the Nigerian Army might result in human casualties, stressing that it wouldn’t want to take life, hence it was not daring the Army. “For every life you take, we take two. We have our reason, we play cool, we are ready, and we must cripple the economy. Boom, Share,” the group added. Govt negotiating with fraudsters On negotiation, the NDA spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, said:  “We, the Niger Delta Avengers, have not negotiated with anyone.

    If they (Federal Government) have been negotiating with anybody, it clearly shows they had been negotiating with fraudsters.’’ We’re fighting Ijaw, not N-Delta struggle —Militant group The Reformed Egbesu Boys in a statement by the General Officer Commanding, GOC, Intelligence, self-styled General Tony Alagbakereowei, said: “We wish to state that the current crisis is purely and truly an Ijaw self-determination quest involving grievous issues, which predate the current administration.

    The militant group said:  “As a matter of fact, we wish to state that the crisis is centred around Ijaw communities in the western flank and central axis, including Gbaramatu communities in Warri South-West Local Government; parts of Ogbe Ijoh communities in Warri South West Local Government; parts of Egbema in Warri North Local Government; and Ogulagha kingdom (Forcados Terminal) in Burutu Local Aovernment. “Others are Brass and Nembe Ijaw communities in Bayelsa State. These are exclusively Ijaw territorial communities and boundaries within the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “In this connection, we wish to state that any other group or group of persons outside these properly identified Ijaw areas masquerading as negotiators are only deceiving themselves and the Federal Government.

    “In this wise, we wish to  alert the Federal Government, particularly the Minister of Defence, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Director-General, Department of State Services, that the purported MEND  negotiators are not known to the Ijaw nation and they do not have our mandate in this subject matter. “In fact, the so-called Niger Delta is synonymous with the Ijaw nation- the historical and traditional home of the Ijaws in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

    This does not exclude the fact that there are other minor ethnic groupings, but we have always played the role of big brother to them. “Consequently, we will not allow meddlesome interlopers and our traditional antagonists, who have always constituted cogs in the wheel of progress to the Ijaw nation to take credit for our sorrow, tears and blood.

    “The Federal Government allowed miscreants and meddlesome interlopers seeking relevance in Abuja to gain pipeline contracts and appointments to deceive key actors of the government. “We are terribly angered by the antics of Ayiri Emami, we wish to call the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought and their monarch to call him to order as we are watching his excesses. We are serious.” On the call for dialogue by the Federal Government, Egbesu Boys said the claim by the Secretary to the Federal Government that government could not trust and negotiate with militants in the region because they were too numerous with no clear leadership, was not only preposterous but smacked of a predetermined mindset.

    However, it said there was some truth in the SGF’s claim, adding that to resolve contentious issues, government should address the Nigerian Maritime University, NMU, Okerenkoko, issue and explore political solution in the case of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo. Group’s demands The militant group demanded, among other things, increase of derivation to 50 per cent and payment of the 50 per cent derivation fund directly to the host communities through appropriate structures and renegotiation of oil blocks’ allocation in the ratio of 60-40 per cent in favour of Ijaw nation and other interest groups.

    It called for the creation of Niger Delta Development Bank to fast          track regional development, oil majors, including SPDC, Agip, CNL, ExxonMobil, PTDF, NNPC and NPDC to create 6,000 jobs for the youths of the six states of the Niger Delta, release of all detained persons in connection with the crisis and dropping of all charges connected therewith.  JNDLF threatens to destroy 7 flow stations The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, NDLF, in a statement by the Commander, General Duties, Akotebe Darikoro, said:  “The oil and gas pipeline running from Ogboinbiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State to Obrinkon in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, is to be finally cut off from transmission.

    “The flow stations of Ogboinbiri, Oporoma, Peremabiri, Tabidaba, Nembe, Brass, Chevron platform in Koluama, Okordia-Zarama and Biseni, including Gbarain-Ubie gas gathering plant, are to be set ablaze since the oil companies are a major hindrance to the development of the region.

    “We further warned those staying around and within to please leave those areas because our mission is to cripple the economy of the country and not to kill any human being on earth. “The Nigerian security, which claims to be securing the oil facilities in the region, should stay in their dwelling places and see whether their safety will be guaranteed on those days.

    “We thank the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources for the bold steps he personally took to resolve the injustice created and sponsored by the wicked companies and government in Nigeria. “The initiative he took has been relegated to the background by the self-acclaimed Minister of Petroleum Resources, Muhammadu Buhari, who has no knowledge about the suffering of the people in the Niger Delta, but only with a mission to milk the region and pay deaf ears to the plight of the region.

    “Our struggle is beyond monetary gains and we cannot be bribed by the Nigerian government to the detriment of our suffering people and the struggle is unstoppable until justice is done to the region. “Our field commanders have been instructed on what to do and those who are on standby in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta and Cross River are to wait after Bayelsa State operations.

    “We further warn that, henceforth, if any attack is launched on Ijaw communities or person(s) by the military or para-military body in the region, we will not hesitate to order our shoot-on-sight squad to attack any uniform personnel in the region. “For the records, Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, are not in Delta State, we only go there to strike and return safely to the struggle base in Bayelsa State.” Warns Dickson on  workers salaries The militant group also warned the governor of Bayelsa State to pay the salaries of workers.

    It stated: “We are warning Governor Henry Dickson of Bayelsa State to, without further delay, commence final payment of all workers, including the old pensioners, being owed several months of salary. “Dickson is to pay these workers/pensioners in full and not 50 per cent or half of their legitimate salaries. He will not lay claim to no funds to pay them, the funds are with him, based on the allocations he received from the federation account known to the people.

    “No fund but the government is busy doing projects and erecting personal buildings within and outside the state, while these workers are dying in abject poverty in the state. “This is unacceptable and it must stop forthwith in the region because our parents, brothers and sisters are not to suffer unnecessarily simply because they work for government.

    “Enough is enough, he should go and bring money from wherever he is keeping it, and fully pay these workers and pensioners before the end of this month. “His mother, who is over 70 years, is a staff and still drawing salaries from Sagbama Local Government council.  What type of injustice is this?”

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