- The New Delta Avengers who planned to attack major oil facilities in Delta state from June 30, 2017, have rescinded their decision
- The group said its decision to make a U-turn followed the intervention of Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark who intervened and pleaded through PANDEF
- The group accused Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state of underdeveloping the oil producing areas of the state while pushing development efforts to his Ika land
Barely two days to June 30, 2017, the day given by members of the dreaded New Delta Avengers to blow up major oil facilities in Delta state, following the alleged underdevelopment of Delta oil producing communities by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, the group has rescinded their decision.
According to a statement allegedly addressed to Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clarke, the group agreed on Wednesday to drop the idea, saying for the intervention of Chief Clarke and for the respect they have for him, they have no option than to shelve the planned attack on oil facilities in Delta state.
The statement read in part: “In deference to your authority on issues involving our development and efforts to change the tide of perpetual underdevelopment and treatment as 2nd class citizens of this nation, the highest command of the NDA has decided to shelve our planned attack on major oil facilities in the region from June 30, 2017.
“Sir, you are aware that we have earlier withdrawn the timeframe of our propose strike. This was done with the intention to take the government unaware and to prove to all and sundry that we are not all about bark, we are more than able to accompany our noise with louder action.
“But your personal intervention and plea through PANDEF has made us take a second thought as we are now calling off the planned strikes. Without prejudice to any ongoing discussion with the federal government, we hope that the window of peace will afford you time to take up the issues as you promised with Delta state government.
“We are not oblivious of your concerns that our activities are capable of further causing adverse effects on the crude production and derail your ongoing engagement with the federal government. But as we have said in several of our past statements, our grouse is not with the federal government.
“Our anger is with the present Delta administration's deliberate neglect and deprivation of oil bearing communities in the state and underfunding of the oil producing areas development commission, DESOPADEC since the swearing in of this government in 2015.”
The group said it was in its plan to wrestle oil producing communities of Delta state from the grip of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration just as it described Governor Okowa as a recalcitrant governor.
The group accused the governor of planning to scrap DESOPADEC in 2015 when he was sworn in, adding: “We were told that he will do this so that money will be available for him to develop Ika land and other parts of Delta north.
“Despite the denials, all indications now point to the truth of those statements, because since Okowa became governor, the commission has been starved of fund and all resources available to the state are now being used to develop his homeland, yet he continues to sing his ‘Ego Aria’ songs to other parts of Delta.”
NAIJ.com reports that the group called on Chief EK Clark to examine the projects the governor is executing in his area and what he is doing in the Itsekiri, Isoko, Ijaw, Ndokwa and Urhobo areas of the state, adding that because of their stand against the government of the state, it enjoys support from every tribe and clan that produces oil and gas in the state.
The statement that was signed by the group’s high commanders from the five oil producing areas of the state include Ujato Etomi, Itsekiri; Ederikumor Brandy, Ijaw; Ekpeme Ujiro, Isoko; Andrew Ighotoja, Urhobo and Ebendo Eguogo, Ndokwa, said despite the clear signals, the governor accused them as being foreigners and people from other states.
It said: “Our plan is to prove him wrong and show him and the federal government that we are sons and daughters of the land who have seen our fathers and mothers, friends, brothers and sisters die from deprivation and hunger.
“We want to show the governor that we know the land and how to hit where it hurts most. Oil producing areas of Delta state and in the Niger Delta as a whole have been suffering in the past but our pain and torment have not been so strong that we have become totally hopeless.
“Those who have contracts cannot pay their workers, the communities where projects are located cannot benefit so the projects become a problem to them. We are suffering and dying our father, but it is better to die fighting than lay prostrate as our leaders, elders and the likes of HOSTCOM have been doing to the Asaba power instead of speaking the truth.”
On Okowa’s statement that the avengers are not from Delta but foreigners, the group ask: “Which foreigners can be so touched and committed to the suffering of people outside their land that they want to put their lives and resources on the line for the welfare of the people the man who aim to governor has abandoned?
“Nonetheless, we have decided to give peace a chance as directed by you, our father, to show our respect and support for your commitment and dedication despite the odds. Though we want to reiterate that our retreat is not total; it is bound by the time we face.
“Sir we are giving you the requested window for your intervention, but we will not demobilize our armaments, hard wares and men from locations where they have been camping since they were dispatched three weeks ago until we are sure of positive results from you.”
Meanwhile, following the tension in the nation, Nigerians have reacted to the possibility of the country ever uniting again. Watch the video on NAIJ.com