By Emma Amaize and Egufe Yafugborhi
WARRI – ITSEKIRI leaders in Warri, Delta State, Wednesday, handed a strict warning to the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, the militant group that had claimed responsibility for the series of bombings on oil installations in the state, lately, to avoid Itsekiri land.
Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILoT, an umbrella body of the Itsekiri ethnic group, gave the notice in a statement by the secretary, Mr. Edward Ekpoko and two others.
The leaders said: “We watched with surprise and anger the re-emergence and/or increase in insurgency in Warri area in particular the Niger Delta in general by a group, which calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers.”
“Its goal as claimed, among others, is to cripple the Nigerian economy if their selfish demands are not met. True to its promise between February and now major oil & gas pipelines have been vandalized bringing down our oil production to 1.65million bpd as against the 2.2million bpd estimated 2016 budget, the lowest in 22years
“Following these unpleasant developments, the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought met and took the following resolutions: That the Itsekiri ethnic nationality condemns the criminal activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and dissociates itself from the demands of the group.
“We can say that no Itsekiri person is a member of this nefarious group and we call on all our sons and daughters to assist the military and other law-enforcement agencies in arresting these criminal activities,” the leaders asserted.
According to them: “Niger Delta Region is not the home to ijaw ethnic nationality alone; several others including the Itsekiri, Urhobo, Bini, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Anang, Efik etc. are occupying it and most of the vandalized oil and gas facilities so far are on Itsekiri land. We warn those behind this heinous crime to leave off Itsekiri land.”
They also noted, “The agenda of the group is selfish and self-serving and does not have the support of the well-meaning people of the Niger Delta.”