A coalition of Niger Delta militants on Friday called on the Federal Government to return all oil blocks being controlled by northerners to the people of the oil producing region.
The coalition comprises Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Volunteers, Niger Delta Peoples Fighters, Niger Delta Warriors, Bakassi Freedom Fighters, Niger Delta Movement for Justice, Niger Delta Fighters Network and Niger Delta Freedom Mandate.
Leaders of the eight groups said in a statement that the Niger Delta region shall declare its independence on October 1, 2017 and free itself from enslavement by the North.
The militant leaders include John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs); Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers): Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors) and Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters).
Others are Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters); Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice); Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network) and Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate).
In a statement released after their meeting in Port Harcourt, the militant leaders warned all companies operating on such oil blocks to vacate within three months.
The agitators explained that their action was based on the ultimatum given by some northern youth groups to the Igbo to vacate the North within three months.
The statement read, “A coalition of the Niger Delta militants met today in Port Harcourt to review the recent call by Arewa youth groups that the Ndigbo should vacate all the northern states within three months.
“We see the declaration by Arewa youths as a consultative declaration, which the northern elders, leaders, political elite, security heads from the North and governors were fully aware of.
“We demand 100 per cent control of our resources. We demand that the Federal Government should hand over all oil blocks owned by the northerners to Niger Delta indigenes. All the companies operating in such oil blocks/wells should vacate within three months.
“The Federal Government should immediately relocate the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and all the offices that have to do with oil/gas sector back to Niger Delta states and immediately replace the Group Managing Director (of NNPC) with an indigene of Niger Delta.
“All northern indigenes working in NNPC and any other board that has anything to do with oil/gas should be sacked with immediate effect.
“We demand an independent and sovereign Republic of Niger Delta. We are tired of living with the North under Nigeria. We are tired of the President’s sentiments to the Niger Delta people.
“The President can have time to receive the Chibok girls, but could not have time to meet with the Representatives of the Niger Delta agitators. Our money has been used to fund Boko Haram, a problem created by the northerners in order to use it as a conduit to siphon off the resources of Niger Delta.
“On October 1, 2017, we shall declare our independence, come rain, come shine. We shall take our destiny in our hands and free ourselves from the slavery of the North as they are tired of one Nigeria.”
They maintained that all the companies and businesses owned by the northerners in Niger Delta should be vacated within three months, saying, “From October 1, 2017, we don’t want to see any northerner close to (the) Niger Delta; any attempt to penetrate shall meet fierce resistance. This time, we are not going to play defence, but attack.”
They also called on all agitating groups to resume attacks and bombings of all oil and gas pipelines, especially the exporting lines across the Niger Delta region with immediate effect, saying the measure was aimed at ensuring zero oil and gas production before October 1, 2017.
They further said, “We also demand that the Federal Government should immediately replace the Inspector General of Police with an indigene of the South-West, the Director-General of the Department of State Services with an indigene of South-East, and the National Security Adviser with an indigene of South-South.
“The Speaker, House of Representatives should voluntarily resign and hand over to an indigene of the South-South.”