By Emma Amaize
WARRI—NIGER Delta agitators, yesterday, picked holes in President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year speech, saying he did not show signs of seriousness, action plan and responsibility to really implement the agreement reached with the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, and even the 25-point palliatives of the Federal Government.
Under the auspices of 21st Century Youth of Niger Delta, the agitators, in a statement by the spokesperson, W O I Izon Ebi said: “We want to warn that the days of rhetorics and empty promises are over in the Niger Delta because we are equally aware of the plan and reason behind the one billion dollars excess crude withdrawal. The 21st Century Youth of the Niger Delta and the amalgamation of agitators with conscience disagree with Mr. President’s New Year speech because there is no sincerity, action plan and commitment to truly implement the agreement reached with PANDEF and its own 25-point palliatives, rather than verbal commendation.
“The 21st Century Youth of the Niger Delta and the amalgamation of agitators with conscience reject President Buhari’s 2018 Greek gift of mockery and deceit to the people of the Niger Delta region. You cannot criminalise our bravest, the symbol of peace in the Niger Delta, intimidate and insult our distinguished elders with impunity and expect us to keep quiet, as if the Niger Delta has been conquered, thereby making us slaves and inferiors to the North. We reject it and demand the immediate withdrawal of all trumped up corruption charges against the voice of the voiceless, philanthropist, human rights activist, and the symbol of peace in the Niger Delta, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
“We equally demand an unreserved apology to the leadership of PANDEF if President Buhari means well for the people of the Niger Delta and truly appreciates the efforts and sacrifices of our distinguished elders, political leaders and stakeholders, who put in all energy to sustain the prevailing peace that the government is currently enjoying. The peace it has used to exploit us the more without anything to show for in the Niger Delta region since the inception of this administration till date,” they said.
They cautioned: “Any planned attempt to invade any community in the Niger Delta in any guise or any planned assassination attempt against Tompolo will be resisted with devastating consequences for the brutality meted out on our distinguished father, Pa Ekpemupolo, which led to the amputation of his leg and his untimely death is still fresh in our minds. We, therefore, call on the International Community, United States, United Nations, Nigerian Senate, ex-Presidents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, political, religious leaders and all stakeholders, to prevail on President Buhari to redirect all plans against Niger Deltans to the Fulani herdsmen that have become more deadly and sophisticated Boko Haram terrorists.
“This is because our agitation in the Niger Delta is for equity and justice. We cannot be in the midst of plenty and be impoverished with devastation and pollution that has cut short the life expectancy of Niger Deltans and still be treated with verbal promises and rhetorics as if we have been conquered and made slaves in our land because of our God-given resources,” the activists said.