Militants threat: Gbaramatu leaders vow to deliver Avengers

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From: Ben Dunno, Warri

The ongoing war against the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) by Federal Government got a boost, on Monday, from a collective body of Ijaw host communities in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State as the communities vowed to arrest and deliver members of the dreaded militant group to appropriate authorities.

The NDA had reportedly threatened to resume hostilities in the oil-rich region by blowing up oil facilities in their areas.

Chairmen of the 25 host communities to major multinational oil companies operations gave this assurance in a statement made available to newsmen.

They said they had placed all the chairmen and vigilance groups in  areas on red alert to monitor and safeguard oil installations that pass through their communities.

Making the commitment under the auspices of Gbaramatu Communities Chairmen, the body disclosed that the resolve to take the policing of their areas seriously was reached at an emergency meeting held in Oporoza community, on Monday, where it was unanimously agreed by all stakeholders to ensure adequate protection for oil facilities on their land.

  The Chairman of all communities chairmen,  Comrade Johnbull Izirimi Demebi, said the decision to protect their areas was taken after due consideration of the psychological and mental trauma suffered by their people as a result of the massive military deployment in Delta creeks.

Speaking against the backdrop of last weekend’s deployment of an additional 20 gunboats to Delta creeks by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Abayomi Olonisakin, Comrade Demebi urged  the Federal Government to relax the military action in the communities as they are prepared to support government’s effort to rid the area of criminal elements.

While recalling the devastating experience of last Tuesday’s aerial surveillance of the communities by military helicopters that forced many of their indigenes to take refugee in bushes for fear of being attacked, Demebi also noted that up till now a reasonable number of the indigenes were still being missing due to that act of intimidation by the military.

His words, “Our people are not criminals and we are not at war with the government. We don’t know who are the members of the Avengers and we have demanded that they stay away from our land, as we are prepared to protect the oil facilities that passes through our community with everything we have.

“We have put in place our own internal security network to monitor oil facilities in our areas and we will not hesitate to arrest any vandal or criminals that comes to our community to commit any act of sabotage on oil facilities on our land and hand them over to the security agents for prosecution”.

“What we have repeatedly demand from the federal government is the development of our land and people and this, we shall continue to demand. Not even the intimidating presences of soldiers and military equipment on our land will stop us from making this demand. So government had better reconsider its military option and commence the process of developing our area”, he stated.

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