By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – Niger Delta agitators on Thursday formally withdrew the quit notice recently handed down to northerners and Yourubas from the south west resident in the coastal region.
Rising from a meeting Wednesday night, the agitators also declared their support to the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) whose leadership they had earlier disowned to lead the region in the ongoing negotiations with the federal government.
The agitators also announced the suspension of the planned attacks on the oil installations in the region whiling putting aside their intention to declare the republic of Niger Delta on October 1.
According a statement raised at the end of the meeting, a coalition of the agitators led by General John Duku said that the withdrawal of the quit notice amongst other threats was sequel to the intervention of PANDEF and Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF) led by its Acting National Chairman, Comrade Imoh Okoko.
The agitators in the statement made available to Vanguard however demanded the removal of the current Group Managing Director, GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Maikanti Baru from office.
Those who signed the statement included General John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs and Convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators); General Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers); General Osarolor Nedam
(Niger Delta Warriors); Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters); Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw
(Bakassi Freedom Fighters) and Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice).
Others were Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network); Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams
(Niger Delta Freedom Mandate); Major-Gen. Abiye Tariah (Niger Delta Development Network); Major-Gen. Joshua Ebere (Renewed Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta); Major-Gen. Jeremiah Athony (Movement for Actualization of Niger Delta Republic); Major Francis Okoroafor (Niger Delta Freedom Redemption Army); Colonel Nelson Okochi Walter and many more Representatives of major groups across the Niger Delta region.
The statement read in full: “After series of meetings yesterday between the high command of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators led by General John Duku and the leadership of the Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF) led by the Acting National Chairman, Comrade Imoh Okoko coupled with the intervention of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, which comprises of over 250 groups with their leaders and representatives present at yesterday’s meeting officially withdraw our quit notice issued to the Northerners and Yorubas living in Niger Delta region, call off planned resumption of attacks on Oil & Gas installations across the Niger Delta region and beyond from September 10, 2017; suspend October 1, 2017 declaration of the Niger Delta Republic, declare support to Pan Niger Delta Forum, demand restructuring and removal of Group Managing Director of NNPC.
“We have also resolved to work with PANDEF and give them our maximum support and we urge the federal government to continue dialogue and implement the 16-point demand presented by PANDEF on behalf of the Niger Delta region. This comes after an extensive consultation across the Niger Delta region, which we discover that it is only PANDEF has been working all round the clock to resolve the Niger Delta issues and have the people of proven integrity; it is a clear fact that working with any rival group such as Pan Niger Delta Congress (PNDC) is not for the interest of the Niger Delta.
“The meeting also resolved that the oil/gas companies should relocate their headquarters to Niger Delta region. We also resolved to put on hold the issue of the return of oil blocs own by Northerners and Yorubas to Niger Delta people and demand that the NNPC should revisit their recent appointments, urge the federal government to replace the GMD of NNPC with the indigene of Niger Delta for the interest of peace, equity, fairness and justice.
“We also thank the Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum, Pan Niger Delta Forum for the major role they played through series of meetings which result to our withdrawal of the quit notice and we therefore agree that from now on the Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum should be our Representatives, mediators and contact point.
“We mandate them to liaise with the Oil, Gas, Marine and Servicing companies operating in Niger Delta region, Government and Agencies, NNPC, NDDC, Amnesty Office to address the issues affecting members of the Coalition in particular and Niger Delta youths in general, most importantly Employment/Empowerment of the Niger Delta youths.
“We also use this medium to declare total support to the current board of Niger Delta Development Commission, as we warn all groups calling for the removal of the MD, His Excellency, Mr. Nsima Ekere to desist from it as such plan is evil and detrimental to the development of Niger Delta region; we therefore appeal to the Federal government to release funds owed NDDC for development, sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta region; NDDC has a major role to play in sustaining peace in the Niger Delta region.
“Finally, we call on all our partners, groups within and outside the Niger Delta region as well as all the agitating groups in the Niger Delta region to support PANDEF and give them all the needed support to enable them continue to dialogue with the federal government in order to move Niger Delta forward. Meanwhile, we wish to appeal to the Pan Niger Delta Congress to work with Pan Niger Delta Forum for the interest of the Niger Delta region; and we want to assure all the indigenes of Niger Delta and the general public that while we await the outcome of the dialogue between PANDEF and the Nigerian government, we shall not fail to respond to any issue that may threaten the collective well-being of the Niger Delta people.”