By Emma Amaize, South-South Editor
•RNDA warns South-South govs
•21st Century Youths threaten oil companies
WARRI – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari and his foremost challenger, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have split Niger Delta militants, causing them to speak in discordant tunes over who the people of the region should support in next month’s presidential election.
President M Buhari and Atiku
Recently, a self-styled coalition, known as the 21st Century Youths for Restructuring, threatened to attack oil facilities in the creeks if the Federal Government did not stop the move to dock the Chief Justice of Nigerian, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, over alleged failure to declare his assets.
However, another assembly of Niger-Delta militants, led by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, and nine other militant groups, yesterday, said the former was working for Atiku Abubakar and warned governors of the South-South to stop playing politics with Onnoghen’s case.
The 21st Century Youths in a statement by its leader, self-styled “Gen” Izon Ebi, declared: “Niger Delta people want restructuring and anything short of allowing our people to freely exercise their rights and choose leaders that will restructure Nigeria to meet modern and current reality will give us no choice but to stop the activities of oil exploration and exploitation in our land and ocean.
“The current harassment, intimidation, assassination attempt, forcible dismissal and retirement of distinguished personalities and leaders of the Niger Delta from the affairs of this country is no more acceptable.
“Our wealth will not be allowed to be used freely to run and sustain a system and a country that does not appreciate and respect the people whose wealth is used to sustain this country called Nigeria.
“The six-count charge the federal government preferred against Justice Onnoghen by the Code of Conduct Tribunal bordering on false declaration of assets is another act of dictatorship.
“This unfortunate action of the APC and President Buhari’s administration to intimidate the judiciary and undermine the rule of law and separation of power in our democracy is unacceptable in this 21st century.
“It is now clear to all Nigerians that this administration is completely out of tune with the reality and situation we find ourselves concerning the 2019 general election and the position of Niger Delta people whose lives and existence are being threatened by the activities of oil exploration and the insensitivity of the federal government.
“The 2019 general elections next month will determine a new Nigeria or break the false marriage held in the Nigerian state without the consent of Niger Delta people that gave birth to Nigeria in 1914.
“We applaud our distinguished Niger Delta leader, Pa E.K. Clark, governors of the South-South and the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, especially for their stance because it reflects and represents the current reality and happenings that are no more acceptable to Niger Delta people.
“Anything short of a free, fair, credible and acceptable election will give us no choice but to seek self-determination and destiny take over.
“The 21st Century Youths of Nigeria for Restructuring and the 21st Century Youths of the Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience will not sit on the fence to watch the demonic and barbaric script of some few unpatriotic, tribal and selfish leaders that are out of tune with reality and civilization.
“We, therefore, call on all patriotic youths and fellow Nigerians to stand up and vote out the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari in the general elections next month and restore their dignity and liberty as a people because the APC and President Buhari are synonymous with hardship.”
But rising from a meeting with various unit commanders at Benin River, Delta State, RNDA, led by self-styled “Major- General” John Mark Ezonebi, aka Obama, urged President Buhari and the Presidency to ignore and disregard the purported empty threat made by the 21st Century Youths for Restructuring in totality.
It described them as “criminal elements of youths, who do not exist anywhere in the creek of Niger Delta and being used by some disgruntled looters of our national treasury, who are supporters of Atiku/PDP Presidential Movement.”
Ezonebi noted further: “RNDA, hereby, warns the coalition to desist from their incessant careless empty threats, otherwise the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers with the coalition of the nine militant groups, will smoke them out from their hiding places in the cities and expose their sponsors and co-travellers in their ill-fated journey.
“They should not forget so soon how the RNDA with its affiliates brought the defunct Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, activities to stand still in the creek.”
Cautions S’South govs
The RNDA, however, warned South-South governors “not to politicize the issue of non-declaration of assets by the CJN, who is the head of an arm of government saddled with the responsibility of interpreting the constitution, more so when the petitioner alleged that $3 million was found in one of his foreign accounts.
“It is a grievous criminal offence being committed against his highly exalted office, according to the sections prescribed in the Code of Conduct Bureau established in the 1999 constitution as amended.
“The South-South governors made up more of PDP governors should not support any form of illegality and should not compromise corruption allegations on grounds of ethnicity, but look at the matter based on its merits and holistically.
“As a group, RNDA is not surprised at the stand of the South-South governors on this matter because their mismanagement of resources has led to the under-development of the Niger Delta.
“We expect the South-South governors to join hands with Mr President to fight corruption because corruption is the reason the region is not developed over the years, despite its huge economic importance to the country, particularly during PDP’s wasted years of misrule.
“More so, the governors of the Niger Delta have not been able to account for the 13 per cent derivation funds from the proceeds of crude oil, which has amounted to trillions of naira that run into the pockets of governors and their cronies in foreign accounts abroad.
“In the first place, the funds are meant for direct development of the oil producing communities in the creek of Niger Delta. But the story is a sad tale against the constitutional provisions of this 13 per cent funds. At the appropriate time, when we get to the bridge, we are going to address this issue and the abnormalities will be corrected.”
On the reported abortion of the ceasefire between Niger Delta militants and government, the group said: “RNDA with the coalition of the nine militant groups in the creek that accepted the ceasefire agreement with the federal government, on the 21st of August 2016, want to use this opportunity to re-endorse President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office.”
It claimed that the endorsement was “to enable the president complete the good works he has done so far in the country, especially the anti corruption fight and rebuilding of decayed infrastructure in the country.”