Tag Archives: ​Niger Delta

​Niger Delta: Exercise Crocodile is not about guns, boats alone – Army

The Nigerian Army said yesterday that the military training exercise involving hundreds of soldiers, military gunboats and other weaponry, under “Operation Crocodile Smile” is not solely about launching attacks on militants.

The army said other aspects include providing medical outreach programmes, assisting infrastructure rehabilitation as well as other essential services.

A statement signed by Col Sani Usman, Acting Director, Army Public Relations said, “The military training exercise embarked upon by the Nigerian Army to train its Special Forces, formations and units located in the South-South geo-political zone of the country, has commenced in earnest.

“Recall that we have shown pictures of the massing up of the troops on Tursday.

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  4. Source: Vanguard

​N-Delta leaders defuse tension with new initiative

THERE was comprehensible dissonance among militant groups in the Niger Delta beforelast Friday’s eventful consultative meeting of Niger Delta leaders in Warri, Delta State, where a pan-Niger Delta platform of all ethnic nationalities was established to dialogue and negotiate with the Federal Government.

Former Federal Commissioner for Information and Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark, convened the one-day consultative stakeholders’ meeting of monarchs, elders and leaders of Niger Delta coastal states, which intervention has reduced the tension in Niger Delta. .

Barely 24 hours after the meeting, which called on militants to sheath their swords, the most deadly group in the region, Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, unpredictably ceased hostilities in deference to the leaders.

Three other militant groups, the Reformed Egbesu Fraternities, Niger-Delta Revolutionary Crusaders, NDRC, Asawana Deadly Force of Niger Delta, ADFNG and  Niger Delta Development Movement, NDDM, agreed with Avengers and ceased hostilities.

However, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, which was already dialoguing with the federal government and had made some inroads despite the ill feelings about the organization and its role, totally rejected the involvement of the leaders that gathered in Warri in such an undertaking.

Another militant group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, NDGJM, which blew up a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, 24 hours before the meeting of last Friday, has also teamed up with MEND in rejecting the outcome of Warri meeting.

Avengers proffer reasons

While the Avengers’ spokesperson, self-styled Brig Gen Mudoch Agbinibo, said: “We are going to support any collective/negotiation team emerging from the Chief (Dr.) Papa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders’ conference to engage with the federal government of Nigeria.

“We promise to fight more for the Niger Delta, if this opportunity fails. Therefore, we will give our Niger Delta elders and genuine stakeholders that tacit support to the dialogue table with the government and the Multinational oil Corporations whenever the enabling environment prevails.”

NDA welcomed the involvement of representatives from the home countries of all multinational oil corporations and neutral international mediators “that will be focused on achieving the short, medium and long- term frameworks and objectives to de-escalating conflicts in the Niger Delta.”

Reformed Egbesu throws light

On its part, the Reformed Egbesu Fraternities, said: “We commend the convener, Chief Dr Edwin Clark and all the royal fathers, who participated in the meeting, which came at the most auspicious time. Most importantly, the pan Niger- Delta composition of the meeting cutting across all the ethnic nationalities is to say the least a step in the right direction.”

It said in a statement by “General” Tony Alagbakeriowei, GOC (Intelligent) and another: “We have been pressured and appealed to by the Niger Delta Coastal States stakeholders’ consultative meeting, convened by Chief Dr E K Clark and most importantly, the Niger Delta Dialogue Contact Group, led by HRM, King Alfred Diette-Spiff.

“Nigerians from all shades of opinion, elder statesmen, royal Majesties, elders, chiefs, members of parliament, bureaucrats, technocrats, diplomats, ministers, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, key government functionaries amongst numerous others, pleaded that we come to the negotiation table, so we have to oblige,” he added.

MEND, Greenland counter

However, MEND stated unequivocally: “The attention of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has been drawn to a meeting of the Niger Delta Coastal States held in Warri, Delta State on Friday, August 19, 2016. The meeting was jointly convened by elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark and Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.”

Its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, asserted: “MEND hereby advises the Federal Government to ignore the communiqué, released at the end of the meeting for the following reasons: The communique failed to categorically condemn the criminal and treasonable activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). This was principally because notable promoter of the meeting was recently named by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) as a major supporter of the NDA.

“None of the persons who attended the stakeholders’ meeting convened by Chief Clark and Governor Okowa have (sic) the capacity to persuade the people of the Niger Delta region to support the current efforts of the Buhari Administration to bring peace and development to the region.”

The NDGJM, on Monday, threw its weight behind MEND, saying: “So much as we have tried not respond or just let things pass, we find it really difficult to ignore the charade that was recently convened in Warri, Delta State, by the Ijaw ethnic national leader, Pa E.K. Clark and the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the conference of Niger Delta stakeholders.

“He does not have the mandate to convene a meeting or speak on behalf of the Niger-Delta. The Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate is not in support of that so-called stakeholders’ meeting, which by the way was populated by the same gang of breast-pocket politicians, who in the six to seven years of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency, ruled with him, looted the nation and raped the Niger Delta,” its leader, “Gen” Ado Agbalaja said.

How Clark lampooned militants

Apparently, unknown to the MEND, one of the first things that Clark did at the Warri meeting was to berate the NDA and other militant groups for blowing up pipelines in the region, insisting that it was a heinous offence.

. MEND does not exist b — Ayemi Botu

Former national chair of the Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, HRM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, aka Lion of the Niger, who attended the meeting, told

Vanguard in Warri: “MEND does not exist anymore, it used to exist between 2005-2009, but when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua granted militants amnesty, it died.

“If anybody says he is representing MEND now, let him come out or is it Henry Okah and his brother, Charles, that are in prison that is MEND?

He said that fifth columnists were using MEND to set up Niger Delta for a kill and asked those using the faceless group in government to say all manner of things about Niger Delta leaders to desist.

His words: “I read MEND saying that Chief Clark had not condemned bombings of pipelines by militants, this is not true. He had criticized them on several occasions in the past. The truth is that we saw that something was going wrong and if the monarchs and leaders from the ethnic nationalities did not come together to address the problem, it will consume all of us. Our fear before the meeting was how the militants, who are our sons, will hear the plea of us, their fathers.”

“I thank God that the Avengers responded quickly to our call that they should stop bombing pipelines, which the meeting totally condemned. I, therefore, appeal to other militant groups to sheath their swords, We, their fathers are saying that we want peace in our region and to avoid ambiguousness, we have decided to set up a pan-Niger Delta platform to reach out to the federal government,” he said.

HRM Ayemi-Botu said it would be fatal for royal fathers and leaders to be alive and allow militants to overrun the region, adding: “That is really the reason we had to intervene to save the region from becoming a laughing stock.”

Intention and motive very clear — Ikponmwen

Former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army and South-South leader from Edo state, Brig General Idada Ikponmwen (retd.) told Vanguard on phone: “The list of people invited for the meeting was very exhaustive and it included all those, who have been involved in the struggle for a very long time.”

“Though, some of them did not attend, but the intention and motive of the meeting are very good and it was on the spot that delegates suggested that we come up with a pan-Niger Delta group. However, some of us have been saying it for the past 15 years that the coastal states of the South-South must form a regional group like Arewa, Afenifere.

Crucial thing is to provide good leadership

Ikponmwen stated that it would be wrong for the leaders of the region to remain silent when things were going wrong. He, however, said: “The militants are our children, they are our boys, we are their fathers, they cannot lead the region, we are supposed to give them direction and that is what their fathers have done by telling them to sheath their swords.”

He admitted that some things went wrong in the past, but there was no questioning the important position of Chief Clark in the region and it would be scandalous for militants to speak for the region, as if those that chose to tread the path of non-violence were senseless.

The former army officer said: “What is important now is that with the formation of a new pan Niger Delta group, the direction must be clear and focused. The leaders must provide a good leadership that will carry others along without which the ship will run aground. In fact, people are watching to see how the leaders are going to navigate the ship.”

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  4. Source: Vanguard

​Niger Delta: Another militant group emerges, vows to bring down refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri within 48 hours

muslim militants

The last is yet to be heard on the militancy in the Niger Delta as another group has emerged.

This time, the group which prides itself as Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, NDGJM, has threatened to bring down the Refinery in Eleme, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as well as the Warri Refinery.

They equally vowed to bring down the Utorogun gas plant in Otu-Jeremi in Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State in few days should the federal government fail to listen to them.

Making their grouse known, the group which is not happy with on-going negotiations with other militant groups said, “the federal government and oil companies have started yet another round of negotiation with the Ijaw front, in the name of all the people of the Niger Delta. This will not work.”

They have, therefore issued a 48-hour ultimatum to oil multinationals still in the upland of the region, especially in the Ogba/Egi axis of Rivers state, Urhobo/Isoko/Ndokwa axis of Delta state and other upland oil producing areas to evacuate their personnel.

They decried that all the people of the upland Niger Delta, under whose watch the largest and most critical oil assets are located, have been ignored over the years as government and the oil companies pander to every whim and cough of those who have violently engaged the state.

In a statement by its Spokesman, self-styled Gen. Aldo Agbalaja, he declared that “We have keenly watched developments in the country in recent times, developments that are most depressing, very much depicting the marginalization and subjugation of the hapless people of our region.

“We have thought very deeply about the ongoing shenanigan and play-acting going on between the federal government and some self-styled ‘Niger Delta agitators’ and thought if we fail to make our own statement now, then there will be no future for the larger Niger Delta region.

“For the avoidance of doubts, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate is not in the mold of the various criminal gangs that have so far paraded themselves as fighting for the interest of the people of the Niger Delta, but who indeed have been engaged in fight for personal enrichment.

“We are not one of them. We are out to tell the world that there is a Niger Delta that is made up of many tribes and tongues, the people of whom have so far suffered both local and national oppression.

“We have come at this point to ensure that our oppressors, being the federal government, the state governments in the six core Niger Delta states who have received billions of dollars over the past years but have brought little or no development to the region and the so-called super-ethnic nations, who have yielded to greed and wickedness and have exposed the rest of us in the oil-rich, but deeply impoverished region, to crippling squalor.

”The Federal government and the oil multinational companies have been making a very grave mistake by equating the interest of the Ijaw people as that of all the tribes of the region. Indeed, this is a mistake that is about to take a more devastating toll than has ever been seen or experienced in the history of Nigeria.

“Any moment from now, we shall be making a loud statement which we believe should be loud enough for all to see and take seriously and then afterwards state our demands.

“We have considered this ‘coming statement’ reluctantly inevitable because of the recalcitrance of federal authorities, as well as oil giants; they both have decided to ignore calls to reason and have made violence the only option.

“Just as in the 2009 experience, the federal government and oil companies have started yet another round of negotiation with the Ijaw front, in the name of all the people of the Niger Delta. This will not work. Since they do not regard the assets in our areas important enough to be protected, we shall root them all out of the length of the Niger Delta. We don’t want to make this mistake any longer, violence pays as it has become the only voice that government gives hearkens to.

“Finally, we are asking all the oil multinationals still in the upland of our region; AGIP, TOTAL, SHELL, MOBIL, SHORELINES, NECONDE, E.D WESTERN, SEPLAT and others to commence the evacuation of their personnel from the region, especially in the Ogba/Egi axis of Rivers state, Urhobo/Isoko/Ndokwa axis of Delta state and other upland oil producing areas, within the next 48 hours.

“We also want to bring it to the attention of the federal government and the NNPC that the refineries in Warri (Urhobo land) and Port Harcourt (Eleme) and the gas plant in Otorogun will all come down in few days from now.

“We just hope that the Nigerian government will continue ignoring us so that we can perfect what those in the riverine area started”.

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  3. Source: DailyPost

​Niger Delta Peace Deal: MEND Says Nigerian Govt Has Agreed To Release Nnamdi Kanu, Okah Brothers, Other Concessions

In a statement issued today, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed that a team negotiating on behalf of the Federal Government for a return of peace to the oil-rich delta had agreed to release several detained or imprisoned militants, including Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Henry Okah, a MEND chieftain serving a jail sentence in South Africa, Charles Okah, and Obi Nwabueze. The statement disclosed that Mr. Kanu and other detained IPOB activists would be released on condition that they renounce their agitation for secession.

According to MEND, ex-Senator Adolphus Wabara had introduced the compromise to secure the release of the pro-Biafran agitators.

MEND also stated that the government’s negotiators had agreed not to arrest or harass fugitive ex-MEND militant, Government Ekpemupolo (popularly known as Tompolo), “whenever he makes himself available as a delegate of the MEND Aaron Team 2.” In addition, the group stated that the government would review the life sentence meted out on Edmund Ebiware.

MEND declared itself the only militant group from the Niger Delta region presently engaged in a dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria, adding that oil companies and security agencies were representing the government in talks aimed at brokering peace in the region which has witnessed increasing attacks on oil facilities since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in May 2015.

MEND stated that the agreement called for a review of “criminal charges against Urhobo freedom fighter, Mr. Kelvin Prosper Oniarah,” and the review of life sentences handed to seven soldiers in 2008 for supporting the Niger Delta struggle. The affected soldiers are Major Suleiman Alabi Akubo, Sergeant Mathias Peter, Lance Corporal Alexander Davou, Lance Corporal Moses Nwaigwe, Lance Corporal Nnandi Anene, Lance Corporal Taatihi Emmanuel, and Private Caleb Bawa.

Declaring the deliberations “fruitful,” MEND seemed to back military reprisals against the Niger Delta Avengers should the group refuse to stop attacking oil installations in the area. MEND’s statement declared, “one of the most immediate and urgent fall-outs of the ongoing dialogue is the imperative for the Federal Government and MEND to jointly and separately take proactive steps to rescue and secure the region in the event that the recalcitrant Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) continue on their senseless and politically-motivated path of attacks on the country’s oil assets.

“To this end, both parties agreed that the Special Forces of the Nigerian Army should commence the purely routine but strategic military exercise code-named ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’; while MEND would commence a meet-the Government-Actors-and-People tour of the Niger Delta region code-named ‘Operation Moses.’”

The statement continued: “While ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ is aimed at ensuring the combat readiness of the Nigerian Army in Amphibious and Internal Security Operations in the Niger Delta as well as check

criminal activities like kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, piracy and other forms of criminal activities spearheaded by the NDA in the region, MEND’s ‘Operation Moses’ is essentially to inform, educate and generally sensitize the citizenry in the Niger Delta, particularly the Government, the youth, oil companies, elders and militant community on the need to ceasefire and support the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration in its determined bid to proffer sustainable solutions to the current Niger Delta crisis.”

MEND urged all states, local governments, oil and gas companies and the people of the Niger Delta region “to go about their lawful and legitimate concerns without any iota of fear as we have received FIRM ASSURANCES from the Federal Government that ‘Operation Crocodile Tears’ is an innocuous exercise in the national interest.”

It added, “Meanwhile, MEND’s ‘Operation Moses’ shall be anchored by the AARON TEAM 2 Dialogue, Peace & Development Initiative jointly led by Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN) and HRH King Alfred Papapreye Diette-Spiff, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass in Bayelsa State.

“’Operation Moses’ shall commence with a visit by the distinguished members of the AARON TEAM 2 to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja between August 22, 2016 and August 26, 2016.

“Thereafter, the Team shall hold sessions with top executives of major indigenous and international oil & gas companies operating in Nigeria, including the state oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on August 29 and 30, 2016 in Abuja. The focus of those sessions shall include, to wit: Local content development; Petroleum Industry Bill; Corporate Social Responsibility/Host community relations, etc.

“On September 5 and 6, 2016 in Abuja the MEND Aaron Team shall hold sessions with the top echelon of security agencies in Nigeria as well as the top management of the intervention agencies in the Niger Delta, namely: Ministry of Niger Delta; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Presidential Amnesty Office. The Minister of Justice/Attorney General of the Federation is expected to personally attend these sessions. The focus of the sessions shall include: Extension of presidential amnesty to certain categories of political prisoners in Nigeria; Fundamental Human Rights; NDDC Act in focus; Presidential Amnesty Proclamation 2009 in focus; collapse of federal infrastructure in the Niger Delta in focus; Calabar-Lagos rail line in focus; East/West Road in focus, etc.

“After these critical sessions, “Operation Moses” shall move to tour the 9 states in the Niger Delta region, commencing with Rivers state between September 12, 2016 and September 14, 2016. Between September 15, 2016 and September 18, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Bayelsa state. Between September19, 2016 and September 21, 2016 the Team shall be in Delta state. From Thursday September 22, 2016 to Sunday September 25, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Akwa Ibom state. Between September 26, 2016 and September 29, 2016 the Team shall be in Abia and Imo states. And finally, between October 3, 2016 and October 7, 2016 the Aaron Team shall be in Edo and Ondo states.

“The central clearing house for all activities connected with “Operation Moses” shall be the MEND Aaron Team 2 secretariat. Accordingly, the Secretary of the Team, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, Esq., shall duly communicate with all concerned persons and institutions.

“Ultimately, peace and development in the Niger Delta region is the final destination of the ongoing dialogue between MEND and the Federal Government.”

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  • Source: SaharaReporters

​Niger Delta New militant group emerges in Imo

NDRS also claimed responsibility for the attack on a Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) facility in Awarra-Ohaji/Egbema local council area of Imo State

A new militant group, Niger Delta Red Squad (NDRS) has emerged in Imo state with threats to bomb government facilities and oil installations in the state.

The group’s spokesman, General Don Wannie, alleged that oil producing communities have nothing to show for years of providing for the nation.

The militant leader, also issued a statement saying “Oil companies started operation in our community since 1957, but up till date, we have nothing to show as benefit. For Imo State Government, we will make sure you make no further gains from Ohaji/Egbema.

“Since God’s creation, neither Imo State Government nor oil companies have remembered us. We have been neglected and abandoned. No electricity. No tarred roads. No drinking water. No hospital. No youth employment or empowerment. We shall destroy everything in Imo State that was built with our oil money

“We will let them know that the security which they claim to have is insufficient. So, they should go and hire more because we are coming to launch attack on them any moment from now.

“The group further warned that if the federal and state governments think “we are joking, we will shock them.”

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