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Opinion / Editorial

Niger Delta Has Nothing to Offer Nigeria Anymore – by Joe Igbokwe

Niger Delta Militants
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Joe Igbokwe, Chairman of the Lagos Wharf Landing Fee Collecting Authority and Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the state has issued a threat the new Niger Delta Militant group, the Avengers.

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See Opinion piece written by Joe Igbokwe below:

Unless senior citizens of the Niger Delta and patriots rise now to talk sense into the empty heads of the people that call themselves the Avengers and the Concerned Militant Leaders, a full-scale war is imminent in the Niger Delta, and it is going to be bloody and destructive.

I have been an active advocate and supporter of people in the Niger Delta to get a fair share of the oil resources in Nigeria found 90% in their soil. In 1999 I wrote in my Book, Heroes of Democracy that: “I cannot pretend that I do not know the level of atrocities and man’s inhumanity to man that has been going on in the oil-rich region of the Niger Delta neither have I closed my eyes to the tragic stories of the bloodbath in the region.

The struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta, which has suffered 42years of criminal neglect did not start yesterday. On February 23, 1966, Major Isaac Idaka Boro with some 50 men of the Niger Delta Volunteers Service (NDVS) declared an Ijaw secession from Nigeria. Nigeria instead of listening to their grievances declared war on Isaac Boro and his men and eventually crushed the rebellion. Ken Saro-Wiwa picked up the campaign from where Isaac Boro stopped in the 80s and 90s until General Abacha murdered nine prominent Ogoni sons (including Ken Saro-Wiwa) and others in very bizarre circumstances. The tragedy attracted both local and international condemnation, but it was not enough to stop the human carnage and degradation in the Niger Delta.”

I have preached justice, equity, and fair play for the people of the Niger Delta but 17years after I am beginning to have a rethink about the inhabitants of the Niger Delta and their antics. Yes Nigerians asked for justice in the Niger and in the past 17years we saw the massive deployment of resources to that very important region via NDDC, Ministry of Nigeria Delta, and 13% derivation to oil producing States. In spite of all these huge interventions, I saw former President Obasanjo blackmailed.

I saw Former President Yar’Adua blackmailed and intimidated. Yar’Adua was compelled to negotiate with them, and he put together billions of naira for reconciliation, rehabilitation, training and financial support to enable them to stand on their feet without resort to violence and brigandage to get attention. I saw Former President Jonathan blackmailed to the extent that he had to cede oil wells and dole out billions of naira and dollars to the militants led by Tompolo, Asari Dokubo, Boyloaf, etc. in six years Jonathan was in power, these criminal militants thoroughly enjoyed themselves. They were big boys in town.

They talked tough, they walked tough and painted the cities of Abuja and Lagos, Bayelsa, and Port Harcourt red. They became laws unto themselves. Power, money, influence, position, connection, contacts, etc. began to becloud their senses of reasoning. During the 2015 Presidential Elections, they threatened fire and brimstone that if the rudderless and clueless Jonathan loses the election. They knew that no serious President will condone their excesses, blackmail, impunity, and brigandage if their man Friday losses. Oil or no oil, every ethnic group has something to put on the table in Nigeria.

There are no zero zones in this country. While the Niger Delta region produces oil and gas, the north of the country provides Shiroro Dam, Kainji Dam, cows, beans, yams, goats, Ram, potatoes, chicken, cucumber, watermelon, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, groundnut, onions a, etc. The North feeds Nigeria. Yoruba have offered Nigeria cocoa, commerce and industry, and in fact have provided some 40% of Nigeria’s workforce.

The technocrats, best lawyers and other professionals in Nigeria come from the Yoruba nation. They are the fathers and mothers of Newspaper industries, Radio and Tv stations. They were the first to receive the white man’s education. Their own Lagos is the undisputable center of civilization. They control all the professional bodies in Nigeria. In fact, there is no ethnic group in Nigeria better placed to show the light in Nigeria. And for the Igbo, let me reproduce here what the late Chief Gani Fawehnmi said about the Igbo in 1998. Hear Gani “ The Igbo by their contribution to the economic development of this country are otherwise called the Jews of Nigeria. They are very hard-working, very industrious, very innovative and very articulate people. The economic development of this country owes much to their contribution.

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I don’t like the way they have been treated since 1970. They still bear the scars of the Biafran crisis, and they are still being treated as if the civil war is still nascent, which is wrong. They have been kept out of the security forces of this country at the strategic levels, the law enforcement of this country at the most strategic levels, they are ignored, despised by the cabal. Even in the civil service, I do not know how many permanent secretaries are Igbo. I am not sure how many senior police officers are Igbo, and same goes for the Navy, Air Force, and the Army. They are one of the largest groups in this country. In fact, it is a nation within a nation. The major manpower pool of this country is being supplied by the Igbo.

I was so angry when Abacha came to establish the Provisional Ruling Council (PRC) and the Igbo were not represented; I went to court to fight the cause of the Igbo. It was after my suit in court, challenging Abacha and asking that PRC composition be set aside by the court until Igbo were given their rightful place that Abacha then reversed the composition of PRC and appointed some Igbo.” This country is what it is today because all have sacrificed something even blood to make it what it is today.

Now the Niger Delta militants are destroying oil platforms. They have crippled power stations that run on gas. They have destroyed their own landscape and polluted the waters and aquatic life. Apart from NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta and 13% deprivation, the militants from the region have been granted amnesty by the Federal Government and have been on the payroll for close to 10years now. Jonathan was the President for 6years, and he used the exalted position to provide massive empowerment to the people of the region.

Apart from making the militants multi-billionaires for doing nothing, people from the region were made Heads of juicy MDAs. What else do they want? There is no hope for these bloody idiots who call themselves the Avengers. They are a bunch of reprobates and common criminals. They are too small and too insignificant to hold this responsible and responsive government to ransom through blackmail and intimidation. They blackmailed Obasanjo, Yar’adua , Jonathan and now Buhari.

They have reached their final bus stop and the point of no return. If the president can crush Boko Haram, these useless Avengers are damned too small. I foresee war in the Niger Delta, and it will bloody and destructive. Niger Delta has nothing to offer Nigeria anymore except, criminality, sabotage, destruction of oil platforms, murder, brigandage, and corruption. This the time to stop the criminals who have had it call. Apart from Niger Delta Ministry, NDDC, and 13% derivation, the idiots and the leaders of Niger Delta have cornered oil wells; they have stolen crude oil worth billions of dollars, Nigeria has spent billions training thousands of the so-called militants and their cronies in Nigeria and beyond. Now this cycle of stupidity must stop. To me oil is nothing, and Nigeria is diversifying for good. Look at what these animals are doing to their environment in the name of avenging the federal government. Ah, ah, I see war. I see war. And I hope the human rights community are seeing the damage and the open confrontation.

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