Femi Folaranmi, The SunNG
Fresh trouble is brewing in the volatile Niger Delta region as nine militant groups under the aegis of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) have backed out of the ongoing peace talk with the Federal Government over the non-volatile approach to issues of the continuous operations of oil and gas facilities.
In a veil threat to resume hostilities, the militants have issued a stay-away order to foreign oil vessels warning them not to venture into the region or face dire consequences for violations.
The peace talk an initiative of the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, had come under threats following the recent appointment of Mr Akwa Effiong Okon as sole administrator for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the non-recognition of the Niger Delta region in the policy statements made by President Muhammadu Buhari during the January 1 national broadcast.
The militant groups that made up the RNDA, in a statement by its national coordinator, Major General Izon Ebi (aka Obama) threatened that on January 7, its strike force units in the nine states of the region would kickstart bombing and destruction of oil facilities, major oil ships and vessels coming from Lagos to the creek of Niger Delta.
“The major vessels and ships are advised to withdraw their services to Warri ESCRAVOS waters, to Bonny NLNG Port Harcourt waters from the Gulf of Guinea to Nigeria water ways should stop there services henceforth and any of the ships and the vessels that refuse to comply with our directive will meet with the fire power attack from the dreaded strike force units of the RNDA Militant groups,” Izon Ebi declared.
According to the group, the operation is code named “Operation No Mercy Alfa Piper zero oil” to save NDDC from the hands of politicians including the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the sole Administrator, Mr. Akwa Effiong Okon and some presidential aides involved in the plot to hold the Niger Delta to ransom.
The RNDA, however, commended the efforts of the Deputy Senate President, Chief Ovie Omo Agege, over his efforts at rallying round all stakeholders in the region including traditional rulers, the leadership of Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) and the various agitating militant groups in the region for building bridge of peace among all ethnic nationalities in the region.
It noted regrettably that Omo-Agege’s efforts could not stop the planned action of the group as it can no longer tolerate the disrespect being meted out to the people of the region by the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio and other vested interests.
The group expressed disappointment that rather than ensure the inauguration of a substantive board, Buhari is supporting the illegal contraption of a sole administrator despite opposition by governors of the region, leaders and youths groups led by the Ijaw Youth Council.