…NDVGG backs ultimatum
By Emma Amaize, Samuel Oyadongha & Ozioruva Aliu
There is indication that Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio is reportedly awaiting further directives from President Muhammadu Buhari on the inauguration of the substantive board of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
This came as a coalition of militant groups from the nine states of Niger Delta led by the Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters, SEFF, yesterday, said: “There is no going back on the seven days ultimatum handed by the foremost ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo alias Tompolo to constitute a substantive board for NDDC.
To this end, SEFF has urged Akpabio to call off the stakeholders’ meeting on the recent protests in the region and the looming rage over the NDDC issue.
Meanwhile, Niger Delta Volunteers for Good Governance, NDVGG, has pledged its support to Tompolo on the ultimatum given to Federal Government to inaugurate a substantive board for NDDC or face adverse consequences.
The minister, through the Permanent Secretary, had initiated moves to stop Tompolo, from fulfilling his threat of a catastrophe in the oil region if the government did not inaugurate the substantive board for the interventionist agency by June 6.
An official of Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, said: “The minister briefed the president on the demand by Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, which issued a 30-day ultimatum to government to inaugurate the board before Buhari’s last trip to France.
“The President asked the minister to wait only to behold another seven-day ultimatum by ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, last Sunday.
“Buhari cannot be forced to act because Tompolo issued a seven-day ultimatum, they should withdraw their ultimatum and wait for Mr President because action is being taken already on the matter.”
IYC engages Ijaw leaders, others
Meanwhile, Ijaw National Congress, INC, the apex group of Ijaw ethnic group in Niger-Delta led by Prof. Benjamin Okaba, is engaging IYC, Ijaw leaders and other stakeholders at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, to evolve ways of scaling back violence in their course of action.
However, the Ovie of Idjerhe kingdom, Delta State, HRM Obukowho Monday Whiskey, yesterday, said: “The continuous control of NDDC by Akpabio is a clear indication that there are external collaborators to undo Niger-Delta and NDDC mandate areas.
“It is nothing but a clear demonstration to the critical stakeholders of NDDC that their views and patriotic concerns no longer count as far as the interest of the collaborating cabals is continuously satisfied with the Niger Delta peoples’ commonwealth.”
No going back on ultimatum
But the Supreme Egbesu Freedom Fighters, in a statement by its leader, self-styled “Major General” Agadagba 1 also known as Thunderstorm, advised Akpabio to call off the meeting as it would not stop actions already put in place to shut down oil exploration activities in the region in line with the seven days ultimatum handed by Tompolo.
SEFF said: “We have resolved in the creek that there is no going back on the proposed ultimatum to resume fresh hostilities in the creeks to shut down oil flow stations and to bring down crude oil production to zero level, if the presidency refuses to yield to the outcry of the general populace of Niger Delta including traditional rulers, the elder statesmen, South-South governors, respected clergies with the agitating militant groups in the creeks who have been calling on the federal government to inaugurate the NDDC board.”
Group backs ultimatum
NDVGG’s President, Ben Bowei, who spoke in Benin City, Edo State, said: “We have concluded that after the seven-day ultimatum given to Federal Government by our well-respected leader, Tompolo, elapses, we are going to crumble all economic activities particularly oil exploration in the entire Niger Delta.
“We have vowed to shut down all facilities which will crumble the economy of the nation unless the Federal Government does the needful by correcting the injustice meted out on the people of the Niger Delta.”