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HomeWorld NewsNigeria NewsMilitants give FG ultimatum to release $1bn for N’Delta devt

Militants give FG ultimatum to release $1bn for N’Delta devt

WARRI- Niger Delta militants have demanded the release of $1bilion by the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Account for the Niger Delta region to tackle development the same way it approved $1bn to fight insurgency in the North-East or they will begin massive destruction of oil pipelines and facilities.

The threat to destroy oil facilities across the region in a well coordinated attack, tagged ‘’Cripple the Economy with Zero Crude Production,’’ sparked a major fear, as any destruction could mean lack of funds to finance the 2018 budget. Threat of attacks Leader of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, a coalition of nine militant groups, self-styled “Major General” Johnmark Ezonbi, aka Obama, in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, said: “We demand our own share of the $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account for the development of the Niger Delta within four weeks.” They vowed to deal with South-South governors who were part of the decision, warning all foreign nationals to leave the region as all its unit commanders had been put on red alert to resume operation zero oil producing on the expiration of the four-week ultimatum. The group said: “We will ensure that anything that stands on our way will be crushed without mercy. All foreign nationals are hereby advised to leave the region as all our unit commanders have put on red alert to resume operation zero oil production on the expiration of the four weeks ultimatum. “The governors of the South -South will not be spared for being part of that decision to approve $1bn to combat insurgency, while our region suffers. The golden hen that lays the egg has nothing to show for what she gives. “We want to warn the Federal Government not to take the current ceasefire, which the country is enjoying with the daily crude oil production of between 2.2 to 2.4million barrels of crude production amounting to billions of naira on daily basis for government and which has helped the country get out of recession for granted. “We want to state categorically that the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Government is wicked, callous, insensitive and practically negates the principles of natural justice by using resources derived from a neglected region to combat insurgency in the North East in the senseless Boko Haram war to the tune of $1bn from the Excess Crude Oil account. “Why not Excess Account from the sale of agriculture in the Northern part of the country, why from the creek of the Niger Delta? The Federal Govern-ment’s insensi-tivity to the Niger Delta region development has obviously reached its crescendo, which we will not take, but resist with our might, as this broad day light robbery against the Niger Delta people and ethnic nationality will not be accepted by us. Resistance We are going to resist this perpetual injustice against our long neglected people in the region. “Imagine up till now, the N6 billion approved for the take off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, has not been released while there is no hope of starting an academic session in the institution this year. Is this how we will continue to live in a country where injustice reigns supreme? “The four-point agreement that was reached with the Host Communities of Nigeria by the Federal Government has not been approved up till date; the 10,000 pipeline surveillance jobs has also not been approved. Government has not endorsed the gas penalty fund for the Host Communities and 10 licenses of the modular refineries as we speak. “Even the 16-point demand submitted to Mr. President has not seen the light. That is the reason the Federal Government is skeptical to implement any of the 16- point demands, the group added.” Caution The militants also cautioned the Federal Government against some Niger Delta jobbers parading Abuja, using the Amnesty Office, Ministries of Niger Delta and Petroleum Resources as their farmlands. They, however, said: “We must not fail to place on record the genuine efforts of some Niger Delta leaders and stakeholders who have contributed in no small way to the peace process that the Federal Government is enjoying today, including Jude Tabai, son of retired Supreme Court Judge. He brought the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, to the creek. “RNDA cannot also forget the contributions of Chief Francis Inegeniki of Edo State, a stakeholder in the region, who played major role to persuade us to lay down our arms and accept the federal government’s ceasefire in the interest of the development of the region. ‘’We also note the Pere of Seimbiri Kingdom and former TROMPCOM national chairman, His Majesty Pere Charles Botu, who also made frantic efforts for peace to reign and had been at the forefront fighting for the emancipation of the Niger Delta region. “The Federal Government should know that the countless efforts of persons like elder statesman, Alabo Graham Douglas and former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo have helped to sustain the existing peace in the creek. Government’s policies and programmes in no way point to any form of development in the long neglected region despite the huge resources the country gets from the region.” Saraki on $1bn ECA fund Saraki’s statement came on a day Niger Delta militants demanded the release of $1bilion by the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Oil Account for the Niger Delta to tackle development the same way it approved $1bn to fight insurgency in the North East or they would begin massive destruction of oil pipelines and facilities. Before Saraki’s speech, senators had protested vehemently against his refusal and that of leadership of the Senate to allow for open debate on the issue. The atmosphere in the Chamber became tensed and it was uphill task for the Senate president to persuade other senators to accept his plea that the debate be shifted to next year. It would be recalled that at Wednesday’s plenary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East, had cited order 42 and spoke on the Nigerian Governors’ approval of $1 billion from excess crude account, adding that the issue had become a matter of urgent national importance, demanding serious debate by the upper chamber. He had sought the leave of the Senate to bring it as a motion on another legislative day which ought to have been yesterday as approved by the Senate. Trouble, however, started yesterday after the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, rose and drew the attention of the Senate to the fact that yesterday’s Senate Order Paper was silent on the matter, despite the fact that the Senate had on Wednesday agreed to debate it, yesterday. Shortly after Senator Ekweremadu raised the matter, most of his colleagues became agitated and wanted a positive response from Saraki. However, when Saraki noticed the mood of his colleagues, he painstakingly explained why the motion could not be taken but did not explain why the motion was not on the Order Paper. He explained that the fact that Anyanwu was not in the chamber, yesterday, had made it difficult for the debate to commence but his explanation failed to stop the push as the murmur from senators grew louder. Saraki then devised another means, deploying humour to say that his present political party APC, would not agree that monies be spent without due process. Consequently, he assured his colleagues that immediately the Senate returns from the new year break, a debate would be opened on the motion. Saraki said: ‘’This matter should have come up today (yesterday) but Senator Sam Anyanwu was not able to present his paper today. He sought more time and I agreed with him that it will be taken care of in the next legislative day. (Jeers and laughs by senators) “No, no, no, no. As you can see, he is not here. And unfortunately, we have put it down. (Murmur from senators)…. Our next legislative day is…. When we resume, it will be the first item on the Order Paper (more jeers from senators). ‘’He is not here. We can’t take it when the person who moved it is not here. And it’s a very important motion that needs to be delivered very well, it cannot be delegated. “We are pushing for the next legislative day but we will take it. I can assure you that we will take it; I give you assurance that we will take it (jeers from PDP senators continued).’’ When he realized that senators were insisting that the motion must be taken, Saraki said: ‘’No no, no, no, no. Our party does not do things like that. We will not spend money that does not follow due process. I am assuring you that that money will not be spent until we come back here and debate it.” Meanwhile, the Senate has adjourned plenary till January 16, 2018, after resumption on January 9. Curiously, Senator Samuel Anyanwu surfaced shortly after the announcement of adjournment without a word on why he stayed away from the chamber to present his motion.

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