There’s No Ceasefire Between Us And Nigerian Gov’t – Niger Delta Avengers
The new militant group operating in the oil-rich region of southern Nigeria, the Niger Delta Avengers has refuted news reports that it has agreed on a ceasefire with the federal government.
ThisDay and several other papers reported on Tuesday, June 21, 2016 that Niger Delta militants, including Niger Delta Avengers had agreed on a 30-day ceasefire with the federal government has part of negotiations to end hostilities in the troubled region.
The group used its handle on micro-blogging website, Twitter to refute the report saying that the group has no agreement
Niger Delta Avengers Denounces MEND, Timpre Sylva, Oshiomhole
In a similar vein, the Delta Avengers has denounced the alleged role of “professional conflict merchants” former Bayelsa governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, defunct militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, and Edo governor, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole their alleged role in the Niger Delta crisis.
In a statement on the group’s website on Saturday, June 18, 2016 the militants named a former warlord and commander of MEND, Ebikabowei Ben, Boyloaf and Ayiri Emami, a man they call an “APC thug”, along with the two politicians and accused all four men of working for their political interests instead of that of the Niger Delta region
“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) condemn in strong term the continuous efforts of Mr Ebikabowei Ben (Boyloaf), Ayiri Emami, Timipre Silva, Adams Oshiomhole and their paymasters to link and catch-in our activities to promote their political MEND that has purportedly named a team to negotiate with the Federal government,” the group said on in the statement signed by its spokesperson, Brigadier General Mudoch Agbinibo.
“We are not however surprised by the resurrection of the defunct MEND by these personalities because these are groups of settled ex-fighters that they have been arming, regrouping and re-branding over the years.
“The people of the Niger delta knows that the likes of Timipre Silva, Boyloaf and Ayiri Emami are professional conflict merchants in the region, the only surprise entry is the outgoing Governor of Edo state Adams Oshiomhole which reason is not far fetched,” the group said.
The Avengers accused Oshiomhole of seeking assistant and machinery from the “criminal elements of the defunct MEND”. The group also said it was making a “last appeal and warning this so-called MEND” to excuse the group from “their criminal ways and gang up” saying that the Niger Delta struggle cannot be ambushed.
“We are making the last appeal and warning to this so-called MEND to excuse the NDA from their criminal ways and gangs ups.
“Nobody can ambush the struggle, the world knows that Boyloaf and his group of bank robbers have been settled since 2009 of which he is still collecting stipends for ghost names in the presidential Amnesty program (PAP).
“Please Mr. Victor Ben (Boyloaf) if you and your criminals want to resurrect the defunct MEND and negotiate with the Government that is your business but stop using ghost names to collect money from the Presidential Amnesty program. That is our only advice and remember we know all your activities.
“We once again, restate that we are not going to be part of any dialogue and peace that will achieve only “the peace of our time” what the NDA want is peace with honour which will enter the genuine framework in setting up the short , medium and long term action plan to the restoration of the essence of quality human life in the Niger Delta,” Agbinibo concluded.
Who are the Niger Delta Avengers
Niger Delta Avengers is a new militancy group that is operating in the oil-rich region of Southern Nigeria.
The militants say they are waging a war for a free Niger Delta Republic in what it tags, Operation Red Economy, with a view of halting crude oil production in Nigeria to force the government to grant the group’s demands.
The Avengers claim it has reduced oil production in the country to less than one million barrels a day. An analyst at VOA News corroborates the militants’ claims saying that oil production has dropped below one million barrels a day due to the waves of attacks on pipelines and oil installations.
The militant group has released its rules of engagement and says that it doesn’t kill anybody or attack oil workers or soldiers. The Delta Avengers called on all other groups operating in the region to abide by these rules of engagement. “We need God now, more than ever,” the group said in a statement.
The Niger Delta Avengers has presented an 11-point demand to President Muhammadu Buhari and the first is the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. [Download Conference report HERE.]
Pro-Biafra secessionist group, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has pledged “total allegiance” to the Niger Delta Avengers extolling the militant group for supporting the cause of a free Biafra. MASSOB embraces the tenets of nonviolence. It is led by Ralph Uwazuruike, a lawyer.
Last week, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, another secessionist group pledged its support for the Niger Delta Avengers, saying the groups’ ideal of freedom align.
The MEND Factor
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, is believed to be a defunct guerrilla militant group and one of the largest of the groups which waged a campaign against oil production in the Niger Delta region that successfully crippled the nation’s economy from 2005 till 2009.
Some of the leaders of MEND were Henry Okah, who is currently serving a 24-year jail term for the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja; Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo who is in a running battle with the Buhari government and has called on the Avengers to embrace dialogue with the federal government; Ateke Tom, whose Niger Delta Vigilante merged with MEND; and Ebikabowei Victor Ben, also known as Boyloaf who recently named Tompolo as the sponsor of the Niger Delta Avengers.
At the height of the war, the late President Musa Yar’Adua declared Tompolo as the most wanted man in Nigeria. The Niger Delta restiveness only ended when the late President Musa Yar’Adua successfully negotiated a cease-fire and launched the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme in 2009.
Leaders of MEND took the presidential amnesty and ended the conflict.