By Emma AMAIZE, Warri
Runaway leader of the militant Niger-Delta Liberation Force, NDLF, John Togo, Friday, gave four conditions for the cessation of hostilities by his group.
The group in a statement by its spokesman, “Captain” Mark Anthony said:
*The first condition was for President Goodluck Jonathan to “immediately convene a proper conference of all aggrieved ex-militants who have accepted amnesty before going out to the creeks to negotiate fundamental issues affecting the Niger -Delta people and Nigerian government as a completion process of late Yar’dua amnesty programme for permanent peace to reign”.
*The second condition is “demilitarization of the Niger- Delta region for proper negotiation.”
*The third demand is ‘immediate removal and probing of Mr. Timi Alaibe and Chief Godsday Orubebe from their exalted positions as the duo do not represent the interest of the Niger Delta people.”
An ex-militant leader, “Commander” Frank Akiefa, alias Ebi Kokos said, “There is no way any sane person will demand the removal of Mr. Alaibe as coordinator of the post-amnesty programme because he is the one that has stabilized the programme”.
“Those making the call for Alaibe’s removal don’t know what they are talking about; they think it is easy to manage ex-militants, even they cannot manage themselves, which is why they have gone back to the creeks after accepting amnesty, and they should stop making baseless demands”, he asserted.
“They should leave Alaibe alone, Alaibe is not the person that introduced the post-amnesty programme, it is the Federal Government. They should channel their grievances to the Federal government and if the government wants to take action, they will do so,”he said.
*The fourth condition is: “immediate release of all detained people in the wake of the second phase of oil war”.
The group, however, said despite all odds, it was not withdrawing its support for President Goodluck Jonathan 2011 general presidential election, which victory is part of the success story as freedom fighters. May God bless Nigeria and Niger Delta”.
But it expressed shock that the President ordered the JTF to launch offensive on them, saying, “Our dear brother and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it gladdens our hearts to read on pages of newspapers that you too have joined other enemies of the Niger Delta to have called us criminals in the face of our oddities sleeping in the thick forest of the swampy mangrove creeks across the Niger Delta in our undaunted and unruffled stance against continued internal colonialism and slavery”.
“And that today you have placed an order that all freedom fighters be fished out and be executed with the JTF executioners’ sword. Remember that if we are being slaughtered by you, it will make an interesting historical record in the sands of time.
“For record purpose, it is the armed agitation of this Niger Delta youths over the years whom you have called criminals that triggered the pressure for the agitation of South South president in 2007 between the Niger Delta leaders and the Northern political leaders which at the end, former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo employed his ingenuity and wisdom to handpick you from nowhere as running mate to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua under PDP to compensate the South South people for their armed agitation.
“As God always designs His things; the number one seat of this country which had eluded the people of Niger Delta came by rare chance after the sudden and painful death of President Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua. The death of Yar’Adua is a divine arrangement as the man Yar’Adua is an epitome of good will for Nigeria as he brought us out from the same mangrove creeks under presidential amnesty pardon which we have returned”.
“The amnesty process collided with the ill health of late President Musa Yar’Adua and his subsequent death stalled all forms of negotiations as whether “ Okah’s Aaron team” or Tompolo or Boyloaf committee of negotiation had a brick-wall as power tussle ensued among top players of the Niger Delta struggle as there were accusations and counter accusations.
“Our dear brother and President don’t also forget that despite series of in-fighting among ourselves late President Yar’dua showed concerted effort to create a forum of negotiation between federal government and various groups of Niger Delta ex-militant leaders for permanent peace in Niger Delta. But nobody is above the call of nature, that was why the good will of Yar’dua did not last, he bowed to super forces”, the group said
“By invoking the constitutional power of necessity”, it continued, vice president Goodluck became President of the federal republic of Nigeria and all hopes were on him that an Ijaw president may find time to convene a conference of all ex-militant leaders, either to be represented by a strong delegation on behalf of the ex-militant leaders to negotiate fundamental issues that stemmed from the violent armed struggle.
“Upon all expectations and efforts to draw the attention of the presidency through the presidential adviser on post-amnesty Mr. Timi Alaibe and other Niger Delta leader, including Chief E.k Clark, to our chagrin, the federal government employed divide and rule system by lobbying some disgruntled elements among us who were mere ceremonial heads with money and oil contracts, thereby ignoring all our calls for proper post-amnesty negotiations.
“President Goodluck had made the world to believe that after lobbying these handfuls of misguided ceremonial ex-militant leaders, believing that all is well in Niger Delta and that permanent peace has been restored. Abandoning the real fighters or (the executioners) walking without knowing what has come off with post-amnesty”, it asserted.
The group stated, “There were good analysts who had, earlier last year, affirmed that the process of the post amnesty is more difficult than the real amnesty and disarmament. The federal government relied on the fraudulent fake peace building approaches of greedy Niger Delta leaders whose corrupt practices added to our current plight by selectively patronizing few ex-militant leaders”.