Members of the Black Mambas militant group have threatened to set ablaze over 500 tankers if nothing was done by the Federal Government, by today, to alleviate the suffering of commuters on the Calabar-Ikom Road.
Leader of the group and coordinator of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Front (NDPVF), Asu Simeon Mbi (also known as General Simba) said his men were determined to execute the operation, if nothing urgent was done to alleviate the suffering of transporters and other road users.
Mbi, in a statement, yesterday, vowed that, if nothing was done at the expiration of the ultimatum, Federal Government would count losses.
“I will set fire on those tankers queuing along Calabar-Ikom Highway because of one bad spot the government cannot fill. No matter the security in place, we will execute it. Just watch and see. Then, the federal government should get ready to count losses again,” Mbi declared.
The group also warned Biafrans and other communities around the vicinity to relocate by October 16 “for their own good.”
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has, once again, intervened on the failed portions of the Calabar-Ikom highway, after a successful emergency repairs of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot-Ekpene-Aba federal highway.
The acting Managing Director, Ibim Semenitari said an urgent intervention was necessary to alleviate the problems facing commuters and transporters on the road.
She said despite funding constraints, the commission was ready to take up the challenge of providing relief for those using the road and stated that NDDC’s engineers would commence rehabilitation work immediately.
…Embrace peace, FG
•Avengers demand probe of soldiers’ death
From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa and From Ben Dunno, Warri
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (retd) has, again, appealed to former agitators in the region to toe the path of peace and dialogue in resolving differences with the Federal Government
He said government was aware of the plight of the people of the Niger Delta, particularly the youths and was making efforts to tackle the problems.
Former agitators, miffed by the non-payment of their allowances, had threatened to stage a violent protest and destroy building belonging to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since the apex bank had been blamed for the delay in the payment.
But Boroh explained that it was improper for beneficiaries of the amnesty programme to issue such a threat on the apex bank, as it only remitted monies to the appropriate commercial banks on receipt of funds from the Consolidated Revenue Account.
According to him, the Treasury Single Account (TSA) being an automated payment system created to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in the country should not be associated with the CBN, as the paying bank in this regard.
General Boroh, who described as fabricated, an alleged text message emanating from his office on the delays in stipend payments, advised the youths to use their imagination and time on useful and rewarding undertakings.
He said now that peace building efforts were in top gear, it would be counterproductive for the peace ambassadors under the Presidential Amnesty Programme to threaten the peace in the Niger Delta over outstanding arrears.
Boroh advised the former agitators to seek peaceful ways of resolving issues through meaningful dialogue with the appropriate authorities, stressing that his office was working on different initiatives and programmes that would directly benefit the amnesty beneficiaries, with a view to reintegrating the 30,000 former agitators into the society with identifiable sources of livelihood.
Meanwhile, the dreaded Niger Delta Avenger (NDA) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the death of four soldiers in the ongoing special operations in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Crocodile Smile.
The soldiers who were on a training exercise died last week when their boats capsized in the Bayelsa creeks.
But the militant group blamed the accident on “negligence, administrative greed and corruption within the top military hierarchy who have compromised professionalism for party politics.”
NDA, in a statement entitled: “The great white shark”, signed by its spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo, described the military exercise as a scam.
“The mission ongoing in the Niger Delta is a brainchild of orchestrated military corruption. Mr. President. Operation Crocodile Smiles is nothing but a conduit pipe for military contracts, political profiteerism and patronages designed for the stress of your administration’s scarce resources,” it said.
The group, however, reaffirmed commitment to the ongoing peace process through a genuine dialogue with some prominent elders and leaders of thoughts from the region to bring about sustainable peace and development in the region rather than the obvious warpath the Federal Government had chosen with the ongoing training of troops in Amphibious warfare across the coastal states.
According to the statement: “The High Command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the entire membership, on behalf of the good people of the Niger Delta offer our condolences to the families and Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, C-In-C of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the soldiers murdered in the ongoing military operation cum exercise codenamed “Operation Crocodile Smiles.
“Mr. President, from available facts, the untimely death of these four fine soldiers in the creeks of Bayelsa and another 16 that was recorded during the first four days of the exercise along the River Ethiope, in Delta State, but was earlier covered up, is nothing more than act of murder. Their death is due to negligence, administrative greed and a corruption within the military constructed and perfected by the ascendant APC political class from the Niger Delta and some Abuja paid and bought up interest.”