A band of militant groups in the Niger Delta demanded that Abuja stop working with the Pan Niger Delta Forum to find a lasting peace solution and announced a plan to restart its attacks on oil facilities to begin an official separation from Nigeria.
The statement from the militant coalition also asks Nigerians from the northern and southwestern areas of the country who are living in the delta to leave before October 1st, while all oil companies active in the delta and the nationalized Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) must relocate their headquarters to the delta, according to the demands.
The coalition is made up of eight militant groups in the Niger Delta, though the Niger Delta Avengers, the largest and most notorious of the category, is not part of the arrangement. Signatories to the statement provided to Nigerian reporters include Niger Delta Watchdogs, Niger Delta Warriors, and Niger Delta Peoples Fighters.
“At the general council meeting of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA) involving surveillance department, intelligence department and commanding officers held today to deliberate on the recent development in the Niger Delta and Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) meeting with the Acting President, after hours of careful deliberations, we unanimously resolved to commence Operation Zero Oil in the Niger Delta from September 10, 2017 as a preparation for the actualization of Niger Delta Republic,” the statement read, suggesting an emerging separatist movement.
“We totally condemn the recent meeting between PANDEF and the Acting President; we see it as another plot to deceive the Niger Delta people. First and foremost, the meeting was marred with inordinate greed of the PANDEF as they did not involve the representatives of the Agitating groups and youths leaders,” it added.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo became Acting President back in May, when President Muhammadu Buhari left for London for an unspecified medical treatment in early May. No date has been announced for the 74-year-old leader’s return.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…