Niger Delta militants under the aegis of the Niger Delta Volunteers (NDV) have stated that arrangements have reached an advance stage with other agitators to declare a Sovereign Republic of Niger Delta (SRND) on October 1, 2017.
Besides, the group has called on International Oil Companies (IOCs) to relocate to the region before the set date, failure, which would attract resumption of hostilities against oil and gas infrastructure in the region.
These threats were contained in a statement signed by the leader of the group, General Ekpo Ekpo, and made available to The Guardian in Uyo yesterday.He said the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other pro-Biafra elements should steer clear of Akwa Ibom, adding: “We are not part of Biafra; we belong to Niger Delta.”
The self-acclaimed leader of the group, who frowned at the action of some Niger Delta leaders who recently met with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo under the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), said: “We totally condemn the recent meeting of PANDEF with the Acting President and wish to state clearly that the delegates from Akwa Ibom State to that meeting did so on their own because they did not consult with relevant groups and therefore cannot claim to speak for everybody in the region.”
In another development, leaders of the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Delta South and Central Senatorial District have said the call for a referendum by IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is a belated issue, saying that the Biafra referendum had since been conducted before the United Nations (UN) in 2004.
In a statement signed by MASSOB leaders, Joseph Odikpo and Pastor Francis Chigbo, the Elder In-Council and director of religious affairs, the body also described the call to boycott Anambra election in November this year as anti-Igbo, which should be condemned by well-meaning Igbo sons and daughters.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government says it has commenced efforts at gainfully engaging 50,000 youths from oil producing states for pipeline surveillance jobs in their communities.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Co-ordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Office, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, who stated this yesterday during a media interaction in Abuja, said nine governments of the oil producing states had forwarded an aggregate of 10,000 names to his office for the take-off of the initial stage of the programme.He noted that the aim was to get the youths in those communities engaged to stem the tide of militancy, kidnapping and other vices in the region.
Boroh also used the occasion to present certificates to three beneficiaries of the amnesty programme who recently graduated with First Class degrees from the Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radio Electronics.