Niger Delta creek warlords under the auspices of the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers ( RNDA ) on Monday backed the second term ambition of President Muhammadu Buhari .
The militants declared that Buhari is the only Nigerian President that has shown practical commitment to peace and willingness to develop the Niger Delta region.
The Leader, RNDA, ‘Maj.-Gen’. John Mark Ezenobi aka Obama in a statement said they took the decision to support Buhari at a crucial meeting attended by the group’s service commanders in Benin River of Egbema in Rivers State.
The RNDA said it reviewed the activities of past presidents including those of former President Goodluck Jonathan and came up with a verdict that Buhari remained the best among them.
The RNDA, a coalition of nine militant groups, said the Niger Delta region suffered from under development and massive looting of oil resources under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
It described the 16-year administration of the PDP including the period Jonathan administered the country as a disaster.
The group said despite ongoing devilish efforts to damage Buhari’s reputation, his integrity and sustained fight against corruption stood him out as the best candidate for the Presidency in 2019.
RNDA said it was unfortunate that “self-acclaimed” leaders of the Niger Delta region and “so-called” PDP South South Governors were still celebrating looters, who contributed to the under-development of the Niger Delta region.
It dismissed members of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) as a group of failed and corrupt PDP members and self-acclaimed fathers to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
RNDA said most of the people parading themselves as PANDEF misled Jonathan and the likes of former ministers of Petroleum and Niger Delta Affairs, Diezani Allison-Madueke and Godday Orubebe and looted the funds meant for the development of the region.
The statement said: “The RNDA with the coalition of the nine militant groups in the creeks has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for another term in office.
“This endorsement is because of the President’s integrity characterized so far in fighting against menance of corruption to standstill in the country because the it is corruption and bad leadership that have contributed to the under development of the Niger Delta region and the country at large,
“Buhari-led Federal Government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has shown much commitment to address the under-developmental challenges facing the Niger Delta region for decades caused by the corrupt previous bad administration of PDP, which wasted 16 years of governance.
“RNDA note with regret that the six years administration of former President Good luck ‘Badluck’ Jonathan was characterised by massive corruption, looting, favouritism and gross non-supervision of his appointees with no completed project in the long-neglected region.
“Jonathan’s government took the people of the Niger Deltaand region back to the stone age of under development”.
“RNDA accepted the Federal Government’s ceasefire agreement in 2016 for dialogue. This led to the remarkable and sustained peace process in the region following renewed destruction and bombing of oil installation and facilities that crippled the nation’s crude oil output and eventually led to recession.
“Most worrisome and painful is the fact that Former President Jonathan’s administration goofed on the development of the region as he was unable to complete the road to his Otuoke community in Bayelsa State.
“RNDA is pleased with President Buhari’s willingness and commitment to the development of the Niger Delta since he came on board in 2015 inspite of the economic recession that greeted the emergence of his administration as the crude oil price hit an all time low of N35 per barrel.
“President Buhari fight against corruption which was the signpost of the previous PDP administrations clearly defined his stand on the development of the region.
“We commend him for the smooth take off of academic activities at the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, and we commend the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi for the approval for the dredging of the Escravos River to enable cargo vessels access Warri which will in turn boost economic activities”.
The militants, however, urged the Federal Government to look into the implementation of the three percent gas fund to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
They appealed to Buhari to expedite efforts in the construction of Bonny inland roads, completion of the East West road, approval for the deep Sea Port project at Akwa Ibom State, Gas Flare penalty fund and pipeline surveillance jobs.
Others they said required government’s attention are, proper funding of the NDDC and release of 10 licences for modular refineries as well as the relocation of the headquarters of multinational oil companies to the Niger Delta.
The militant coalition identified good leaders of the region saying their superlative efforts brought the peace and development in Niger Delta.
The named the leaders as the Paramount Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom and National leader of the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNPDC), HRM Pere Charles Ayemi Botu (Former National Chairman of TROMPCON), the Ibenanaowei of Ogulagha Kingdom, HRM Elder Captain Joseph Timiyan and Alabo Graham Douglas.
Others are former Minister of Aviation, High Chief Francis Inegbiniki, Jude Tabai, son of retired Supreme Court Justice, Elder T. k Ogoriba, HOSTCOM National Chairman, Dr. Mike Emuh among others”
The group described them as men of integrity who staked their lives for the peace of the region and appealed to President Buhari to begin dialogue with the individuals.
But RNDA asked President Buhari and the office of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) to be wary of some self-acclaimed leaders of the Niger Delta such like Mike Loyibo.
He said such persons parade themselves in Abuja on behalf of the region to curry favour but have never pushed for any form of development for the region.
“While we wish to work with the new Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Professor Charles Dokubo, he should be mindful of Members of PANDEF .
“PANDEF misled the immediate past Coordinator of PAP, Retired General Paul Boroh and abandoned him when the tide was against him despite spending millions of naira on the group made up of failed and corrupt PDP politicians”, the group said.