By Emma Amaize
UYO â€” Former lead-ersÂ of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, yesterday, threatened to commence a â€œfresh oil war,â€ if President Goodluck Jonathan does not forward, within a reasonable time,Â a Bill to the National Assembly to expunge the Land Use Decree from the 1999 constitution.
The former militant leaders warned, â€œwe are ready to challenge this bad decree of the military government, which put our people in perpetual slavery with the last drop of our blood. President Jonathan must be ready to bear what we call â€œfresh oil warâ€ as a fall out of the post-amnesty programme, in which we expected a sincere approach to all grey areas to end arms struggle in Niger Delta region.â€
â€œWe have been saying that amnesty is not an end to the problem of the people of Niger Delta region, but a solution to the dimensions of the problems to correct over 50 years injustice and marginalisationâ€, they said in a statement by their spokesperson, MacAnthony.
â€œThisÂ portion of law (Land Use Decree)Â in the constitution has been the chief cause of the poverty of the people of Niger-Delta, where a military regime during the tenure of former Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, foisted it on us without consultation with our fathers, just to hijack the resources from our land through the barrel of the gun.â€
â€œThe essence of the passage of this bill into law by abrogating the Land Use Act,Â will be part of the legal aspect of a constitutional solution to stem further violence in the post-amnesty gains to the people of Niger- Delta and the entire nationâ€, the former militant leaders said.
According to them, â€œthe people of Niger-Delta face not only political and economic disadvantage, but also constitutional imbalances,Â where we were made slaves in our own land by mere military fiat to gain absolute possession of resources found in our domain.â€
â€œIt is sad to state that when cocoa, groundnut and other resources from the North were the main sources of revenue to the nation, these people were entitled to 50 per cent proceeds from the total gains of these resources, but when it came to oil and gas in the Niger-Delta, the Federal Government claimed all by mere military order and expect us to remain quiet at the point of the gun barrel.
â€œWe, the former-generals of MEND, believe that until the total amendment of the Nigerian constitution, which was made by the military government to favour sections of the country, Nigeria will remain a military state.” .