The Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, with the coalition of nine militant groups in the region has endorsed the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in office.
The endorsement is contained in a statement on Monday via electronic mail by ‘Major General’ Mark Ezonebi, on behalf of other militants after their emergency meeting in the creeks.
The coalition contended that Buhari’s endorsement for second term was born out of the President’s integrity with regard so far to his fight against the menace of corruption in the country. The militants argued that it was corruption and bad leadership that had contributed to the under development of the Niger Delta and the country at large.
The coalition said, “President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress Federal Government has shown much commitment to addressing the under developmental challenges facing the Niger Delta for decades which have been attributed to the corrupt previous bad administrations of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“We note with regret that the previous administration was characterised by massive corruption, looting, favouritism and gross non-supervision of its appointees with no completed projects in the region that have set the people and the region back to the stone age of under development.
“We have appraised the situation in the creeks vis-a-vis the efforts of the President Buhari-led APC Federal Government to the development of the Niger Delta and have found out that he means well for the people of the region.
“We hereby issue stern warnings to enemies of the region. We want to reiterate that we accepted the Federal Government’s ceasefire agreement in 2016 for dialogue because we are optimistic that there will be a better deal for the people of the region.
“So far, the ceasefire has remarkably sustained the peace process for the development of the region in the wake of renewed destruction and bombing of oil installations and facilities that crippled the nation’s crude oil output which eventually led to recession.
“Most worrisome and painful is the fact that the former administration goofed on the development of the region as it was unable to tame the corrupt disciples in the administration, some of whom were sons and daughters of the Niger Delta.
“We are pleased with President Buhari’s willingness and commitment to the development of the Niger Delta since he came on board in 2015 in spite of the economic recession that greeted the emergence of his administration as the crude oil output hit an all time low of $35 per barrel of oil.”
The coalition maintained that President Buhari’s fight against corruption, which was the signpost of the previous administrations, had clearly defined his stand on the development of the region.
The militants commended him (Buhari) for the smooth take-off of academic activities at the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, for the approval of the dredging of the Escravos river to enable cargo vessels to access Warri which would in turn boost economic activities.
The coalition, however, urged the Federal Government to look into the implementation of the three per cent gas fund into the Niger Delta Development Commission, construction of Bonny inland roads, completion of the East-West road, approval for the deep seaport project at Akwa Ibom State, gas flares penalty fund, pipeline surveillance jobs, proper funding of the NDDC and release of 10 licences for modular refineries.
They also urged the government to take seriously the issue of relocation of the headquarters of multinational oil companies to the Niger Delta.
The militants also acknowledged the efforts of some major stakeholders in the peace and development process in the region.
They rationalised that the endeavours of the relevant stakeholders had contributed to the peace being enjoyed currently that resulted in the stoppage of the destruction of oil pipelines and other facilities in the creeks that eventually brought Nigeria out of recession with crude oil output rising from 900 barrels to 1.8 million barrels per day.
The militants urged the President to open dialogue with authentic leaders of the region and the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress under the leadership of King Pere Ayemi-Botu on the way forward for the region.