A coalition of Niger Delta militants has issued a warning to Nigerians stating that they should prepare to exist without their region’s oil. The threat is in connection to the Presidency’s plan to arraign the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for corruption charges.
Onnoghen is accused of omitting to declare his assets and also illegally operating five domiciliary accounts in various foreign currencies with Standard Chartered Bank since 2011.
In a statement released, the militants revealed that the CJN is being bullied for being part of the minority.
Among the signatories were: General John Duke (Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators), General Simply Benjamin (Bakassi Strike Force), General Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors) and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters).
“The CJN is suffering just because he is from the minority area of the South-South, the Niger Delta region. This is definitely a petition plotted by the Presidency to forcefully remove the incumbent CJN from office and replace him with a northerner,” it said.
“In the first instance, President Muhammadu Buhari was not disposed to Justice Omnoghen’s appointment to this position, which is why he refused to confirm the appointment after so many months of serving in acting capacity.
“It was during the period of his sickness, while in Britain, that the acting President, Prof. Osinbajo, confirmed the appointment.
“We wish to also recall that in August last year, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa of Bayelsa State, who was the most senior and most qualified officer at the time, was appointed to the position of acting Director-General of the Department of State Security by Prof. Osinbajo, only to be replaced with a retired and junior officer to Mr. Seiyefa, Mr. Yusuf Magji Bichi, by President Buhari, as soon as he resumed duties. We hereby vehemently resist any attempt to remove CJN, Walter Omnoghen from office.
“These go to confirm that there is a high level of hatred, injustice, discrimination and marginalization of the Niger Delta region by the APC-led government over the past three years.
“Before the 2015 elections, we can recall several events that took place in the political arena which can now be confirmed were done to discredit the government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“During the campaign for re-election in 2015, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan a South-South indigene was attacked in Bauchi State. We also witnessed how northerners and Yorubas embarrassed him, even those he trusted betrayed him and did everything possible to remove him because he is from a minority tribe in Niger Delta.
“This goes to confirm without any iota of doubt that the protests against the Jonathan administration were embarked upon basically because he is from the Niger Delta region.
“Similarly, protests against the Chibok girls’ abduction, and complaints about widespread corruption, high prices of commodity items, and others, were the order of the day. They declared that they needed “change”; thus, they ganged up, humiliated and betrayed Jonathan out of office and brought President Buhari to power.
“But, today, the much desired changed has metamorphosed into “chains” and those so-called activists and civil rights protagonists are keeping mum even in the face of human rights abuses, and deployment of draconian laws reminiscent of the military era.
“We also call on all the northerners and Yorubas, who own oil wells in the Niger Delta to prepare to vacate immediately; we also want to warn our Niger Delta brothers, who are working for Buhari to watch their back and know that we are watching them and their family members. We warn them to stop campaigning for Buhari in the Niger Delta. Be warned.
“Therefore, we want to inform Nigerians and the international community that any attempt by President Buhari to continue in office beyond May 2019, will be resisted by all means necessary.
“If they succeed in rigging election and bring back Buhari, then, Nigeria should prepare to exist without the Niger Delta oil. Niger Delta will not be part of Nigeria anymore.
“The northerners should also prepare to leave the Niger Delta if President Buhari continues beyond May 2019; we are prepared to strike once and for all and declare our Sovereign Niger Delta Republic.
“What, however, surprises us is the fact that the same people and groups that protested against the petroleum subsidy removal and increases in prices of the petroleum products are the ones who gave President Buhari the nod to commence the subsidy removal without any record of protests,” the agitators stated.