Niger Delta Avengers’ threat unnecessary, demands addressed — Presidency

Femi Adesina

The Presidency has reacted to the threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to attack oil and gas installations, saying it is “unnecessary” considering it came less than 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with the leadership of the Niger Delta and Ijaw National Congress over major concerns.

In a statement on Sunday, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina reproduced a speech by the president at the meeting with the Niger Delta leaders on Friday.

The statement read, “The media was Sunday awash with threats and demands by a group, Niger Delta Avengers, to embark on economic sabotage through bombing of critical oil and gas installations unless certain demands, including development of the Niger Delta, and restructuring of the Federation, were met.

“It is, however, curious that the threat was coming less than 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with the leadership of the Niger Delta and Ijaw National Congress, at the Presidential Villa, and the germane issues had been responded to, especially call for restructuring of the Federation, and the inauguration of a Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission.

“For clarity and record purposes, below is full text of the speech by President Buhari on Friday, June 25, 2021, which renders any sabre-rattling rather unnecessary.”

In the reproduced text, Buhari told his guests that he was aware of the 10-point demand which the national executive of the Ijaw National Congress made to the Federal Government and assured them that this regime is frontally addressing them.

The president also said he was concerned about the rate of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta and reminded his guests that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project had started work with remediation efforts in Ogoni land.

In addressing their call for restructuring, Buhari had said, “The National Assembly whose responsibility it is to ensure that our constitution responds to the call for a restructured Nigeria has already concluded regional consultations and as soon as they finalise the process, necessary action would not be delayed on my part.

“In the same vein, your call for the creation of two additional states and more local government areas for the Ijaw people is a legislative matter, which should naturally be handled by the National Assembly and seeking concurrence at the state levels.”

He said based on the mismanagement that had previously be-devilled the Niger Delta Development Commission, a forensic audit was set up and the result is expected by the end of July 2021.

On fair and balanced appointments to reflect federal character principles, Buhari said, “I re-affirm that this has always been my focus and would continue to be because I have always seen Nigeria as a country where everyone should be given equal opportunities.”