A militant group, Ijaw Freedom Fighters (IFF), and a non-governmental organisation, Ijaw People’s Development Initiatives (IPDI), yesterday, warned Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), to steer clear of Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Several civil rights groups have scheduled a rally for that day in the city to protest against what they see as repeated assaults on democracy in the state by some people.
IFF and IPDI said they cannot guarantee the safety of Soyinka, Falana and other non Niger Deltans if they decide to participate in the protest.
The two groups described the position of the civil rights groups on the Rivers crisis as vexatious.
IFF leader, Sese Gideon, in a statement, entitled ‘We will not take your coming to Rivers kindly’ said: “We are a group of youths along the creeks, waterways and uplands of the states in the Niger Delta region. We are committed to the protection of rights, privileges and freedom of the Niger Delta people.
“We met and observed with interest the continued frivolous and vexatious statements credited to perceived egg heads and civil activists like Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana and many others on the current crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“While we blame the political class in Rivers and Abuja for allowing such comments due to their indiscretion and show of shame, we will not allow non-Niger Deltans to add insult in a matter that can be settled without bloodshed. We have listened to the name-calling and tongue-lashing of the President and his wife by the civil society but what we will not take kindly to is the invasion being planned by the non-Niger Deltans in Rivers State.
“We cannot guarantee the safety of anyone interested and plotting to throw Rivers or any other Niger Delta States into turmoil”.
He said his group has met with over 50 civil society groups in Warri, Delta State and appealed to the people Rivers State to shun the protest to avert further bloodshed.
Professor Soyinka and Mr. Falana had previously condemned the Presidency, the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, the state Police Command and the five anti-Amaechi members of the State Assembly for their roles in fuelling the crisis in the state.