Niger Delta militant groups have been urged not to call off their ceasefire agreement with the Federal Government as reported in the media on December 31, 2018.
The appeal came from a Niger Delta-based presidential campaign support group for former Vice President, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Mr Peter Obi.
The group specifically called on Niger Delta Creek Warriors, Ogunuma Camp of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Republic Seekers and Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders to maintain the existing peace.
Through its National Coordinator, Team Niger Delta for Atiku and Obi, Chief Chris Biose, the group said promises by the Federal Government for sustainable development of the Niger Delta region was kept and there was the need to shun hostilities and violence ahead of the 2019 polls.
He said: “The claim of the militant groups that the Federal Government failed to take action to address the humble demands of our people made through the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, cannot be faulted. However, we strongly appeal to the militants to consider alternative mechanisms to address the issue.
“We are convinced beyond doubt that it is futile for the Niger Delta to expect any good from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. There was no need for PANDEF to take a list of demands to Buhari in the first place.
“When he became the 5th military dictator of Nigeria on December 31, 1983, he reduced the amount of derivation funds paid to oil producing states from five percent to a paltry 1.5 percent and left the off-shore oil revenues to the Federal Government. When he became civilian President in May 2015, he threatened to treat patriotic Niger Delta agitators as Boko Haram terrorists. He has since instituted a reign of brutal repression of Niger Deltans and ignored legitimate agitation for political and economic justice in the country.”
Biose further called on the youths to embrace the current democratic window for change in the Niger Delta, not because they were cowards but because it would be more cost-effective in producing the desired result.
He added: “Democratic change is the most civilized and peaceful way to restore our dignity, our human rights and our economic rights in Nigeria. In this regard, it is the historic duty of all Niger Deltans to mobilise massively to remove President Buhari by democratic process and replace him with former Vice President Abubakar as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the presidential election scheduled for February 19, this year. This is a golden opportunity to liberate ourselves from our oppressors through the democratic process.”