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Abraxas
Jan 28, 2007, 09:16 AM
Hi, folks!

For over one week or so now, MEND has been holding some 24 South Koreans, and their cargo ship that was hijacked from the Chanomi Creek in Warri South-West local government, as hostages, and yet, the Federal Government of Nigeria wants to delude itself, and at the same time, convince Nigerians and gullible foreigners that it is in full control of the security and safety of life and property in Nigeria, and that everything is OK.<o>

</o> But then, how can the Nigerian navy, air force, and army be so incompetent and impotent that a WHOLE cargo ship has been in the custody of anti-government insurgents for so long, and without any hint of effective resolution of the stand-off between MEND and the Nigerian armed forces?

Incidentally, Chanomi Creek, in Warri South-West local government, happens to be were the pipeline systems supplying Kaduna Refining & Petrochemicals Company (KRPC) and Warri Refining & Petrochemicals Company (WRPC) were sabotaged over six months ago, and have remained inoperable ever since, because of the insistence of MEND operatives to shut down those pipelines. Meanwhile, the so-called “restive youths”, (or is it “militants”), in their so-called “rascality”, according to OBJ, have continued to sabotage refining operations at KRPC and WRPC, and with the Nigerian armed forces NOT being able to counter their audacity: “So-so talk, and no action!”<o>

</o> Maybe the emperor has no clothes after all! Maybe the Nigerian armed forces are one massive 419 gambit on the nation’s treasury. Who knows?<o>

</o> Muchas gracias.<o>
</o>
Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)



Hostages: MEND warns negotiators (http://odili.net/news/source/2007/jan/26/307.html)
<!--------- STARTING VANGUARD REPORTER ------>By Emma Amaize
The Vanguard Newspapers, Friday, January 26, 2007

<!--------- STARTING VANGUARD STORY ------>WARRI—THE Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), yesterday, warned all those masquerading as negotiators/mediators for the release of the 24 Filippinos that were kidnapped, last Saturday, at the Chanomi Creek in Warri South-West local government area to steer clear, as the group is not demanding for ransom from any quarters.<o>

</o> It said in a statement, signed by Field Officer Commanding, Tamuno Godwwill and Director (Operations), Onyiye Alaebi that the group “reviewed the execution of the 24 foreign workers on board the cargo ship in our custody sequel to a plea from the Federal Government and Ijaw elders that they are going to work towards the actualisation of our demands”.<o>

</o> “By this development, the cargo ship and the hostages will remain in our custody as we keenly monitor the efforts of the government and Ijaw elders”, they said. <o>
</o>
MEND, however, insisted, among other conditions for the immediate release of Chief Asari Dokubo and Chief D S P Alamieyeseigha, that the governors of Rivers and Delta states must give account of over 300 billion naira that have accrued to their respective States from the 13&#37; derivation fund from 1999 to date; and that no person from the current administration of the Rivers and Delta state governments should be nominated as a governorship candidate of these states by the PDP or any other political party in Nigeria as they are accomplices in the criminal and corrupt management of these states from 1999 to date”.<o>

</o> It also reiterated that the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) should pay the 1.5 billion dollars to the aborigines of Bayelsa state while warning the Chevron Nig Ltd to desist from the use of military escort in the <st1><st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region></st1> Delta water ways or face the wrath of the Movement.<o></o>


You are cordially invited to click here for some more information and interesting video clips>>> (http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0702/sights_n_sounds/index2.html)

denker
Jan 28, 2007, 10:14 AM
have just seen the videos...it's heartbreaking!

MEND, i take gods beg una, only a dead captured oil foreign worker in delta states is a good oil foreign worker...don't keep prisoners, just execute them immediately...!

Nonyellum
Jan 29, 2007, 12:30 AM
MEND, i take gods beg una, only a dead captured oil foreign worker in delta states is a good oil foreign worker...don't keep prisoners, just execute them immediately...!


Especially if they're Americans or British. I feel sorry for the other nationals, but they should know what they're getting into. You have to kill. Ken was murdered, and millions of our people have incurable diseases from drinking polluted water, breathing smog, and eating polluted food grown on polluted soil. The Fed Govt in collaboration with Oil Co are killing us slowly. I'm surprised we're still standing.

Yeye government with no backbone. Could not even defend Bakassi against Cameroun, OBJoke hightailed it out of Bakassi. But you(OBJoKE) wan muscle your own people wey you swear for Bible say you go protect; useless coward and ingredient.

EezeeBee
Jan 29, 2007, 01:28 AM
Thank you, Abraxas, for that link. I hope that it is a permanent link though I suspect that from an organization like National Geographic which depends on subscriptions, it might soon expire.

I am energized anew in the struggle against the injustice wrought on the people of the Niger Delta.

I hope people like N.A.R. who have had much difficulty understanding what people of the Niger Delta are complaining about can finally put to rest his request that the people of the Niger Delta blame only their Governors and not necessarily hold the Government at the center responsible.

I just finished reading Harold Smith's 'Squalid End to Empire: British Retreat From Africa' (http://www.libertas.demon.co.uk/autobio.htm) and it made for painful reading.

I already knew a lot of the information contained therein and what I didn't know, I had long suspected. The British deliberately sabotaged Nigeria by leaving their most 'colo-mental' knaves in positions of 'leadership' when the 'left Nigeria to it's independence'. We are still suffering as a nation from that poisoned pill that is lodged deep within the body politic of Nigeria.

That said, we have long known what the problem(s) is(are): What are we going to do about it?

Truly, those who make peaceful change impossible make violent change inevitable!

Personally, at the end of this month, I proceed to Nigeria to make my meagre contribution to improving that nation for generations to follow me.

If a person like Pat Utomi can courageously step forward to offer himself as the country's No. 1 public SERVANT, like Jesus, he will need disciples because he cannot possibly be everywhere at once. I will be one of his many disciples.

Disclaimer: Pat Utomi doesn't know me and is too busy to care about me as an individual. I am attracted to his substance and ideals, more than his person. He actually appears to make use of that gray mass within his skull and certainly has an enviable record of public service and private sector achievements worth emulating and extending.

Nonyellum
Jan 29, 2007, 02:01 AM
God bless you Eezeebee, I so want to follow in your footsteps. I feel the same way about Utomi, we cannot just "let" OBJoke make a mockery of us. Yar Adua is an insult on my sensibilities. What?

And the situation in the Niger Delta, makes me want to hook up with MEND!!!!!!

Good luck bro. I won't be too far behind.

Solid
Jan 29, 2007, 03:08 AM
People:

We have written, we have talked, and we have shown sympathy. If, we love Nigeria, now is the time to test our level of commitment by joining hands to fight[not arms] for our ideals, to "cast out" brute military tactics of inflicting untold hardship on fellow Nigerians. We must rise above party loyalty, tribe, ethnicity, religious differences and leave their followers behind, to embrace total freedom.

The so-called CENTRALIZED OIL REVENUE often lands on individual pockets, squandered and unaccounted for. WHY THEN MUST MINERAL REVENUE BE CENTRALIZED? Let freedom reign -- Allow each State SUPPORT HERSELF. Let Federal government live on taxation.

All our past leaders , put together, never realised the urgency of our national development. Each one put self, greed, private ambition, unholy wealth acquisition, above our national interest. The nation's army was/is and continues to be used as a tool for personal adventurism. We are sick and tired, and we must do something.

About our military establishment, I recommend that our lawmakers spend a well coordinated session to deliberate comprehensively the CRIME and subsequent DAMAGE it has caused our beloved country. And all ex-leaders who initiated this mis-adventure into Nigeria's polity, whether directly or indirectly, should be given appropriate reprimand as they deem fit. This will start our nations HEALING process. Doing nothing, will continue to reinforce a never ending vicious cycle.


Solid

Abraxas
Jan 29, 2007, 01:13 PM
Hi, folks!

.... Furthermore, the the true face of insurgency in the creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, found expression in broad daylight, at about 1:30 pm, on Sunday, 28 January 2007, when endless salvos of sporadic gunshots and dynamite explosions rocked, and rocked, and then over-heated the cool of the Garden City.

In the end, the central police station was razed down to its foundations, over 20 cars burnt, and with some corpses littering the main streets of downtown Pitakwa.

It is now very obvious that the revolution will not be televised! The revolution has already started.

Muchas gracias, mis amigos.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/printer_friendly/news_logo.gif
Nigerian militants in jail raid (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6308591.stm)
<!--Smvb-->
<!--Smvb--> By Alex Last
<!--Emvb--><!--Emvb--> BBC News, Lagos


About 50 members of a militant group have stormed through the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt and sprung a gang leader from jail, the group says. Sobomabo George was described by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta as a senior leader.
Eyewitnesses said the gang, armed with machine guns, stormed through eastern Port Harcourt and raided the police station where he was being held.

Officials said one passer-by was killed in the assault. This was a dramatic illustration of the Niger Delta's insecurity with Nigerian elections just months away.
The trouble began with the arrest of Sobomabo George, a gang leader with militant connections. He controls a gang called The Outlaws, one of many such groups operating in the Niger Delta.

Political links
Sobomabo George had been living in Port Harcourt, despite breaking out of jail last year, where he had been held awaiting trial for murder. Within hours of his re-arrest, at least 50 gunmen were out on the streets armed with machine guns and assault rifles.

Gunfire erupted as they made their way towards the police station where he was being held. Some reports say the security forces deployed helicopters and armoured personnel carriers to engage the group, though witnesses on the ground said police and soldiers eventually fled as the gunmen approached.

The government is yet to comment on the incident. Violence in Nigeria's oil producing region has been growing ahead of April's elections. Many of the armed groups in the Delta have links to politicians who have used them in the past to help secure victory at the polls.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6308591.stm

Published: 2007/01/29 01:29:50 GMT

&#169; BBC MMVII





Panic In <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1></st1:city> As MEND Stage Rescue Operation For Seized Fighter! (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1753)<o>

</o> By Sunny Ofili <o></o>
Date : Sunday, 28 January 2007 <o></o>
Last Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007<o></o>

The Movement for the Emancipation of <st1:country-region u1:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region></st1:country-region> delta (MEND), said it launched a successful rescue operation for one of its field commanders who was arrested yesterday by Nigerian security forces in <st1><st1:placetype u1:st="on"><st1><st1:placetype w:st="on">River</st1:placetype></st1> s <st1:placetype u1:st="on"><st1:placetype w:st="on">State</st1:placetype></st1:placetype></st1:placetype></st1>.

“Fighters of the movement for the emancipation of the <st1:country-region u1:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region></st1:country-region> delta, today Sunday January 28, 2007, staged a successful rescue of one of our senior commanders in <st1:city u1:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:city></st1:city>, rivers state of the <st1:country-region u1:st="on"><st1><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1>Niger</st1></st1:country-region></st1></st1:country-region> delta.” MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo said in an email sent to the media today.

“Sobomabo George was arrested in rivers state on January 28, around 1330hrs and taken under heavy armed escort to the SIIB in <st1:city u1:st="on"><st1><st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1> </st1:city></st1></st1:city>where he was held until the rescue which involved 50 of our fighters armed with machine guns, grenades and assault rifles.”

“Policemen and soldiers guarding the police unit where he was being held, were subdued after a one hour firefight in which the police employed the use of an armored personnel carrier and military helicopter gun ships.”

“We lost none of our fighters in the encounter which saw the destruction of the SIIB and the rivers state police headquarters.”
<u2></u2>
“Our fighters have since retreated to the creeks with our prize.”


This is a developing story. Details will be reported as they emerge.<o></o>



I'm Alive...Rotimi Amechi (http://elendureports.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=341&Itemid=33)
Written by Jonathan Elendu <o></o>
Sunday, 28 January 2007

<st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1> </st1:city>city is rife with the rumour of the assassination of Rotimi Amechi, the embattled speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly. Amechi had won the Peoples Democratic Part (PDP) Primaries. However there are speculations that the Speaker may lose the nomination to the State Governorship race under PDP.<o>

</o> Elendureports.com can authoritatively report that Rotimi Amechi is well and alive. Amechi, who had a brief chat report with Elendureports.com reacted to the rumors of his death thus: ‘I have an Army friend who says if you hear the sound of a passing bullet, it was not meant for you.” The embattled speaker told this reporter that he had not heard the sound of a gun and yet he has been inundated by callers wanting to know if he’s alive.<o>

</o> Rotimi Amechi is locked in a race for the governorship of <st1><st1:placetype w:st="on">Rivers</st1:placetype> <st1:placetype w:st="on">State</st1:placetype></st1> with the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representative, Austin Opara. These two have been friends for a long time and Amechi is reputed to have been instrumental to <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Austin</st1></st1:city> being the number two man in the House of Representatives.<o>

</o> The story of Amechi’s assassination arose from an incident that happened today in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1></st1:city>. George Sogbema, reputed to be lieutenant of Ateke, a Niger Delta warlord, was arrested on Sunday morning by men of the Rivers State Police Command.<o>

</o> According to our sources, the office of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police put out a statement imploring any division of the State Command who has Sogbema to indicate so. There was no response from any arm of the State Police Command. However, Elendureports.com can confirm that George Sogbema was arrested Sunday morning by officers of the Central Police Station, near the <st1:placetype w:st="on">University</st1:placetype> of <st1:placename w:st="on">Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital</st1:placename>, <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1></st1:city>.<o>

</o> When stories leaked that the warlord had been arrested by the Police, the top hierarchy of the State Police Command called the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) to inquire if he had Sogbema. The DPO said he did not know, according to our sources. He was given a picture of Sogbmema to make identification easy. The DPO did not respond until some dramatic incidents unfolded later.<o>

</o> George Sogbema’s followers protested his arrest and showed their anger by shooting sporadically. The shooting rattled <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1></st1:city> city which has experienced many incidents like this in the past two years. The shooting led to people in the garden city running for dear lives and looking for shelter outside of the city.

Several hours after the arrest of George Sogbema, his followers stormed the Central Police Station and forcefully released him. As at the time of filing this report, Sogbema is yet to be rearrested by the Police.<o>

</o> Yet the shootings led to speculations as to the whereabouts and safety of the Rivers State House of Assembly Speaker, Rotimi Amechi. Elendureports.com spoke with sources very close to the Speaker. We were also able to have a 30 second chat with the Speaker. Amechi who told Elendureports.com: “As you can see, I’m very much alive.” Our sources indicate that Amechi’s official residence in <st1:city w:st="on"><st1>Port Harcourt</st1> </st1:city>has been inundated by callers who want to confirm the Speakers sudden demise. According to our source, a staunch supporter of the Speaker, ‘they have tried all sorts of things and now they have resorted to this. I can assure you that Amechi has not heard the sound of a gun shot today, talk less of being shot.”

Obugi
Jan 29, 2007, 02:29 PM
Nonyellum,

OK, serious question. Do you KNOW about Ken Saro Wiwa? Hmmmm. I hope his ghost doesn't meet you on a darking plain. I no blame you sha, I too used to sympathize.


Especially if they're Americans or British. I feel sorry for the other nationals, but they should know what they're getting into. You have to kill. Ken was murdered, and millions of our people have incurable diseases from drinking polluted water, breathing smog, and eating polluted food grown on polluted soil. The Fed Govt in collaboration with Oil Co are killing us slowly. I'm surprised we're still standing.

Some might say that Ken Wiwa faced justice according to the law.



And the situation in the Niger Delta, makes me want to hook up with MEND!!!!!!

With an Igbo-sounding name like yours, you might want to make sure you clarify to the Delta people exactly what ethnicity you are before you join up - or you might end up getting shot in the back. The Fed Govt just might make amends over your dead body.

I still want you :o ......and my Hindu priest says my people can accept oil wells from your people as dowry, so nothing spoil. :lol:

!!!!!!! EGBESU IS LORD !!!!!!!!!

Get Yours!
Obugi.

Abraxas
Jan 29, 2007, 03:15 PM
Nonyellum,

OK, serious question. Do you KNOW about Ken Saro Wiwa? Hmmmm. I hope his ghost doesn't meet you on a darking plain. I no blame you sha, I too used to sympathize.



Some might say that Ken Wiwa faced justice according to the law.




With an Igbo-sounding name like yours, you might want to make sure you clarify to the Delta people exactly what ethnicity you are before you join up - or you might end up getting shot in the back. The Fed Govt just might make amends over your dead body.

I still want you :o ......and my Hindu priest says my people can accept oil wells from your people as dowry, so nothing spoil. :lol:

!!!!!!! EGBESU IS LORD !!!!!!!!!

Get Yours!
Obugi.

Hi, Obugi!

Thanks for the digression. Now, back to the theme of this thread: Liberation Politics in Nigeria's Niger Delta Region.

Mucchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Abraxas
Jan 30, 2007, 09:38 AM
MEND Frees 125 Criminals In Raid On Police Station (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1760&PHPSESSID=7a3cd962b3fc062afe6908d3a9046add)<o:p></o:p>
By Reuters <o:p></o:p>
Date : Monday, 29 January 2007<o:p></o:p>
Source: Times of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:country-region></st1:place>. (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1760&PHPSESSID=7a3cd962b3fc062afe6908d3a9046add)<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Nigeria, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Militants freed 125 suspected criminals when they stormed a police complex in the oil capital Port Harcourt, Nigerian police said on Monday. Two bystanders were killed on Sunday in the fierce, four-hour gun battle between militants and security forces in the densely populated old part of the city during which the militants torched a police building and about 10 vehicles.<o:p></o:p>
"They freed 105 inmates from the criminal investigation department and 20 from the central police station," said police spokeswoman Ireju Barasua.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The Movement for the Emancipation of the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niger</st1:place></st1:country-region> Delta (MEND) said it deployed 50 fighters to free one of its leaders, Sobomabo George, who had been arrested by police earlier in the day for a minor traffic offence.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The police estimated about 300 militants were involved in the attack, and said a man and a 10-year-old girl were killed by stray bullets.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The MEND, which says it is fighting for the impoverished people of the delta to gain control of the region's oil wealth, was responsible for a wave of attacks last February that forced the closure of a fifth of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>'s oil production capacity.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The group is holding three foreign oil workers hostage in the remote creeks of the delta, where anarchy is rising. A total of 38 foreign hostages are being held by different armed groups.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The delta accounts for all oil production from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>, the world's eighth biggest exporter.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The armed forces are unable to control the delta's maze of mangrove-lined creeks and major cities such as <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City> and Warri have also descended into anarchy.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Poverty fuels crime and militancy in the delta's neglected towns and villages, where people living without electricity or clean water feel cheated out of the oil wealth being pumped from their lands.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Violence surged in 2006, when about 120 foreign oil workers were kidnapped, and it has worsened since the start of 2007.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
A Belgian man working for a building materials company died of gunshot wounds on Saturday evening in Warri, in the western delta, after two gunmen ambushed him, police said on Sunday.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Police arrested his Nigerian girlfriend and driver on suspicion they hired the killers so they could keep the victim's property.<o:p></o:p>

Auspicious
Jan 31, 2007, 07:01 AM
Well, I don't really care much for Atiku's commentary but we cannot afford to take whatever either he or his garrulous boss say lightly. So, is the Obasanjo administration bent on stubbornly bulldozing its way into the swamps and creeks of the Niger-Delta?

Auspicious.


Obasanjo okays $2 billion for arms to suppress Niger Delta, says Atiku

Presidency denies alleged plot for emergency rule

From Madu Onuorah and John Abba-Ogbodo, Abuja

THE political supremacy battle between President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, took another dimension yesterday with the latter accusing the former of approving $2 billion (about N260 billion) for buying weapons for the purpose of suppressing the violence in the Niger Delta region.

He made the allegation at the official commissioning of his presidential campaign office just as the National Chairman of the Action Congress (AC), Chief Bisi Akande, raised an alarm that the 2007 general elections were already being rigged by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Also yesterday, the Presidency described Atiku's assertion that Obasanjo was planning to impose a state of emergency on the country as a ploy to extend his tenure beyond May 2007 as lacking an understanding of the constitution.

Addressing his supporters at the premises of the campaign headquarters located on Jimbia Street at Area 11, Garki District of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Vice President said the struggle was a peoples battle against double standards, hypocrisy and those who played God in the country. He reiterated that the struggle for tenure elongation was not over.

Atiku said the way the constitution of PDP had been amended, it would provide the ground for Obasanjo to still rule the country through the backdoor after leaving office.

The AC presidential flagbearer disclosed that the President approved $2 billion for buying of weapons to suppress the people of the Niger Delta, adding that if the money was channelled to development of the area, there would not have been violence on the scale it was.

He called on Nigerians to rise to the challenge by ensuring that evil machination of those against genuine democracy was not given any chance. He pointedly said that voting for PDP in the next elections would mean voting for Obasanjo to continue in office.

Abubakar's words: "The journey to this hour has been very tortuous and challenging. But if those who made it so hoped that it would distract, intimidate and demoralise us they were mistaken. We are here, we are marching forward and no one can stop us. The struggle for democracy is usually a difficult one but it is one that patriots must engage in if they hope to be free. To avoid the struggle for freedom for whatever reason is to run away from freedom. No human being and no nation must run away from freedom.

"This is not just a campaign headquarters. It is also the centre of our people's struggle for democracy, rule of law, fairness and equity. It is the headquarters of our people's struggle against double standards, hypocrisy, and the impunity of those who play God. Fortunately, there is only one God.

"The basic rights which we fought for over the years are seriously being eroded by those who think that holding unto power is their birthright. Nigerians are progressively being sidelined and neglected in the scheme of things. Their welfare has been forgotten. I promise to use my position as president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to restore true democracy in this country.

"A few weeks ago, this government approved over $2 billion to buy weapons to suppress the people of the Niger Delta, not to develop the area. I will channel that money to the development of the area because if the area is developed, the people will not carry guns.

"We must ensure that elections take place as scheduled. Let us work to ensure that people cast their votes and their votes count. We must stop those who want life presidency through the back doors.

"Let us campaign hard . Let us tell our people the truth. Our people are not asking for too much. All they ask for are basically recognised human rights - the right to life, good education, freedom of expression, jobs, decent living, especially those whose environment is being ravaged by the exploitation of natural resources such as those in the Niger Delta."

In his remarks, Akande raised an alarm that the 2007 elections were already being rigged by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in favour of PDP. He cited the instance of the further elongated voters' registration, alleging that the initial scarcity of materials and the adjustment in the exercise towards the end were indications of rigging.

He said: "At first, the registration machines were made scarce and largely inadequate for the voters' registration exercise throughout Nigeria. This provoked massive protests towards the end of the exercise. The machines suddenly began to surface in the private residences of PDP officials and illegal registration centres sprouted up everywhere for the registration of fake voters' names including those of the under-aged persons. It is now clear that even when millions of Nigerian voters have been disenfranchised through their inability to get registered, notable PDP officials using INEC to conduct multiple registration for their loyalists in their premises.

"In otherwise, the scarcity of the machines from the onset was artificially being manipulated by PDP officials in collusion with the INEC. The response of the police to this monumental fraud has been deliberately lukewarm and evasive. The outcry of the nation over the discovery of these revelations of fraud is also being ignored by the PDP President Obasanjo who vowed very loudly not to rig elections in favour of the ruling party."

He said based on the situation, "we hereby express our serious doubt about INEC's ability to organise a credible, free and fair elections in April."

Akande also called on the police and the National Assembly to investigate the alleged irregularities while INEC should repudiate the verification exercise and come up with the voting system to be used for the elections. He also called on the international community and civil society organisations to show more interest in the electoral process.

The pioneer national chairman of PDP, Chief Solomon Lar who explained that he was fighting his last battle for democracy because of his age, said "those who are thinking of rigging the elections will not be there to hear the results of the elections and their families will be sad to hear the results."

The immediate past national chairman of the party, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the umbrella had been torn into shreds by political rascality occasioned by bedroom heroes, adding that it was time for everybody to get involved in the "struggle to establish true democracy."

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, said despite the hostility of the Presidency to Atiku, he would carry on with the campaign to "free" Nigeria.

Governor Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State urged the National Assembly to carry out the necessary amendment to the 2006 Electoral Act so that manipulations in the next elections could be checked.

The governor who led the crowd in anti-Federal Government songs said the ruling party had failed the nation on several fronts and should be voted out.

The Vice President later commissioned the office and inaugurated the Presidential Advisory Committee led by Alhaji Lawal Kaita.

Dignitaries at the occasion included members of the National Assembly and other prominent politicians.

The Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, also urged Nigerians to join in the "struggle."

Dismissing the allegation of a plot for a state of emergency, the Presidency said Obasanjo had last night dismissed Atiku as "lacking knowledge of the Constitution."

The Presidency claimed that Atiku only succeeded in displaying ignorance of the provisions of the constitution, which stipulate that the President cannot single-handedly impose emergency rule without the National Assembly approval.

Special Assistant to the President (Public Affairs), Malam Uba Sani, quoted Obasanjo as saying: "(Vice President) Atiku and his hirelings could only meaningfully talk of such a development if they had plans to engender any or all of the conditions stipulated by the Constitution for such a proclamation.

"If they have any such plans, let them be warned, however, that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on anyone who attempts to disrupt public order and public safety."

The President, he said, had noted the "unfortunate attempt" by the Vice President to paint a most derogatory, pessimistic and negative picture of the on-going political transition in his interview with visiting foreign journalists on a fact-finding mission to the country.

Sani said despite Atiku's "false claims and allegations", the President remained irrevocably committed to handing over to a democratically elected successor on May 29, 2007.

"He has already delivered valedictory addresses to the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union. This is certainly not the act of a President intent on remaining in office beyond his tenure," Sani added.

Abraxas
Jan 31, 2007, 01:27 PM
http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/images/greenleaf/editor/menupop.gifhttp://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/printer_friendly/news_logo.gif
Nigeria 'squandering' oil riches


Officials in Nigeria's oil-rich Niger Delta have been accused of squandering funds that should have been used to provide services for the poor.

"Public schools have been left to fall apart and health care facilities lack even the most basic of amenities," Human Rights Watch said in a report.
Violence has risen dramatically in the area where militants are demanding a greater local share of the oil wealth.


The US-based group said the unrest was due to a failure to deal with graft.
Nigeria's is Africa's biggest oil-producer, but much of the population live on less than $1 a day.


'Extravagance'
The report used case studies from the country's top oil-producing state, Rivers, to show how millions of petrodollars have either been misused or stolen by public officials in Africa's biggest oil producer.




<table> <tbody><tr> <td width="5">
</td> <td class="fact"> <!--Smva--> Much of this windfall has been lost to the extravagance, waste and corruption that characterize state government spending
<!--Emva--> <!--Smva--> Human Rights Watch <!--Emva--> <!--So-->
<!--Eo--> <!--Smiiib--> </td> </tr> </tbody></table>


"One local government chairman habitually deposited his government's money into his own private bank account. Another has siphoned off money by allocating it towards a 'football academy' that has not built," the report said.


HRW says Rivers state is just an example of what is happening across Nigeria.
Rivers, in the volatile Niger Delta region, accounts for most of Nigeria's oil production.
As an oil-producing state, Rivers receives an extra share of oil revenues which have surged thanks to high oil prices.


In 2006 alone, the Rivers state government's budget was $1.3bn, larger than the budgets of many countries in West Africa.


"But that windfall has not translated into efforts by local governments to bolster basic education and health care systems," the report says, listing schools without chalk, desks and books and clinics without medicines and beds.


Missed opportunity
Since the end of military rule, there has been a huge increase in funding to state and local government, particularly to the oil-producing states in the Niger Delta which receive 13% of revenues from oil produced in their state.


Increasing poverty and years of neglect have fuelled violence in the region with armed militant groups emerging to demand greater control of the oil being extracted from their land.


HRW said the Nigerian government had missed a unique opportunity from high oil revenues to address the deprivation at the root of the violence.
Local government chairmen use inflated contracts to generate kickbacks for themselves and contractors as well as unclear budgets to allocate hefty slices of revenue to themselves, the report says.
"Much of this windfall has been lost to the extravagance, waste and corruption that characterise state government spending," the report says.



Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6316771.stm

Published: 2007/01/31 12:20:53 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Solid
Jan 31, 2007, 02:02 PM
People:

Atiku makes SENSE; but, must he speak out only after he had been kicked out of his Abuja mansion? ..........his sincerity and integrity is under QUESTION ?

Now; Baba-Iyabonbo! Why not develop, instead of turning the region into a battlefield?
I sense a GOOD reason for extending Aso Rock's beyond May 2007.

Thanks

Solid

Abraxas
Feb 1, 2007, 04:25 AM
MEND Threaten To Escalate Action Over Obasanjo’s Statement: (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1771&PHPSESSID=05461e4eb858177a838ebed0b10c913f)<o:p></o:p>
By Sunny Ofili <o:p></o:p>
Date : Wednesday, 31 January 2007.
Source: Times of Nigeria. (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1771&PHPSESSID=05461e4eb858177a838ebed0b10c913f)

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has reacted to the revelation by Vice President Atiku Abubakar that the President has set aside the sum of $2b dollars to buy arms and ammunitions for the military to suppress the Niger Delta insurgency. MEND said it plans to escalate its attack on the oil industry to press for its demand for a greater control of the resources in the region.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
MEND said the president statement has confirmed their position that armed struggle remains the only viable option for the fight for justice in the region.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
“This latest act by the Nigerian government, confirms our position that armed struggle remains the only viable option to the oppressed indigenes of the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niger</st1:place></st1:country-region> delta. The people of the delta must brace up for an escalation in violence for this is the only way our freedom will be achieved.”<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
“The revelation of the Nigerian government’s recent spending for the acquisition of military hardware for use in the Niger delta is an affirmation of the government’s unwillingness to justly resolve the unrest in the Niger delta” spokesman for the rebel movement said in an interview with The Times of Nigeria.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
“Two billion dollars spent on roads, schools, industries etc would have gone a long way to restoring hope for millions of disillusion youth in the delta and positively signify the governments appreciation of the injustice done to the people of the Niger delta for the last fifty years.”<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Gbomo further described the President’s plan as a joke.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
“What kind of equipment does he intend to purchase for use in the creeks that the military doesn’t already have? It’s just another avenue to loot the treasury before he leaves office. We are undisturbed by these acquisitions. Perhaps the failure of the military to curb the unrest in spite of the billions spent on weapons will convince the government a change in strategy may be necessary.”<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The Vice President made his revelation while opening his campaign office in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Abuja</st1:place></st1:City> yesterday.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
“A few days ago, the president ordered the purchase of arms and ammunition worth $2 billion for the military to suppress the people of the Niger-Delta,” Atiku alleged.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
President Obasanjo has not reacted to the statement credited to his deputy.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 January 2007 )






<o:p></o:p>

Obugi
Feb 1, 2007, 05:05 AM
All,

A people can only take so much. Its time that all Nigerians resolve once and for all to STOP stealing from the people of the Delta, to restore to them TOTAL control over their lands, resources and governance and relate to them as equal Africans from now onward.

MEND is now seeing Nigeria for what it is. I've often wondered just what accomodation they expected from the FG. All the moderates and negotiators, where una dey?

Its appalling that every other people in Nigeria have been paying lip service to the resolution of the issues at hand. These people have been crying at least since Abacha's time for us to listen, but we've been too busy planning how to feast on their money. Every year is for the thieves, but just one month will be for the owner of the house.

People of the Delta, I'm with you. Don't give up. Its time somebody stood up to the Fed Govt and their foreign allies and showed them: enough is enough. Shikena!

Get Yours!
Obugi.

Auspicious
Feb 1, 2007, 05:52 AM
All,

A people can only take so much. Its time that all Nigerians resolve once and for all to STOP stealing from the people of the Delta, to restore to them TOTAL control over their lands, resources and governance and relate to them as equal Africans from now onward..

After you, SIR!

My memory serves me right; I remember quite clearly that you were once one of the loudest voices out there calling white Americans (and Nigerians in America) names for coming to America to live-off the loot that the "invading caucasians" have snatched from the much decimated American Indians.

Maybe you can start by showing us the example of getting out of America today so you won't have the blood and toil of those Red Indians on your conscience anymore. And when you get to Nigeria, stay in the jungle somewhere. Don't use their roads, don't use their epileptic electricity or anything financed with the money of the Niger-Delta oil.\

Then we can begin to take you serious. In the meantime, you will please save us your sanctimious balderdash!

Auspicious.

Obugi
Feb 1, 2007, 06:28 AM
Auspy,

Omo, how bodi? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


My memory serves me right; I remember quite clearly that you were once one of the loudest voices out there calling white Americans (and Nigerians in America) names for coming to America to live-off the loot that the "invading caucasians" have snatched from the much decimated American Indians.

And you were the one insisting herding them into reservations and giving them welfare cheques was good enough compensation. At least we know where we both stand. :lol:

Don't worry, I'll be leaving America very soon. It won't be long. I just need to chase down a few more extra stray dollars. Commot road before I jam you jare :wink:

Get Yours!
Obugi.

Abraxas
Feb 1, 2007, 12:38 PM
Hi, folks!

To enable you to appreciate the rot of corruption that has overwhelmed the business of governance in the Niger Delta region, you are cordially invited to click here (http://hrw.org/reports/2007/nigeria0107/7.htm#_Toc157225642)and peruse this tale of grassroots mismanagement in Rivers State.

Enjoy, ojare, my pipul.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Auspicious
Feb 1, 2007, 01:50 PM
Auspy,

Omo, how bodi? :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:



And you were the one insisting herding them into reservations and giving them welfare cheques was good enough compensation. At least we know where we both stand. :lol:

Don't worry, I'll be leaving America very soon. It won't be long. I just need to chase down a few more extra stray dollars. Commot road before I jam you jare :wink:

Get Yours!
Obugi.

Tank you Obugi, my bodi dey inside klot kampe!

Correction: You were the one who took good-natured humor and ran away with it, shouting "Eureka! Eureka!" as if you have suddenly found the lost Virgin Village Goat that was supposed to be sacrificed to the gods of Congo Shinning!

Sorry oh Bros, you have no idea about where I stand. I mean..even YOU don't know where YOU stand on anything for goodness sake! :rolleyes:

Dump Yours!

Auspicious.

nero africanus
Feb 1, 2007, 03:02 PM
Hi, folks!

To enable you to appreciate the rot of corruption that has overwhelmed the business of governance in the Niger Delta region, you are cordially invited to click here (http://hrw.org/reports/2007/nigeria0107/7.htm#_Toc157225642)and peruse this tale of grassroots mismanagement in Rivers State.

Enjoy, ojare, my pipul.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)



i think that mend needs to hold the local leaders accountable before they can record any real success.

my heart goes out to the people of the nd but i dont see what can be achieved if they are fighting for resource control only to increase the illegal largesse of odili goodluck and co.

it will simply be no work done.

i have been to senegal, it is a beautiful place to think that it is run with just a slightly more money than rivers state with double the population of river state is mind boggling.

the horrible thing is that the more sucesses mend achieves the closer nigeria comes to seperation because in all honesty it is only the oil that keeps us together.

mend should simply hold the governors to task..........................

if they get absolute resource control it will be for the governors ....................

13 percent , odili takes 90 %
26 percent odili will take 95%
52 percent odili will take 97%
100 percent odili will take 99%

i see no end to this unless odili is taken to task.................................

Abraxas
Feb 1, 2007, 05:56 PM
Hi, folks!



BREAKING NEWS!


We 're prepared for war, MEND dares FG

<!--------- STARTING VANGUARD REPORTER ------>By Emma Amaiz
Vanguard on-line, (http://odili.net/news/source/2007/feb/1/304.html) Thursday, February 1, 2007 <o>

</o> <!--------- STARTING VANGUARD STORY ------>Warri - RESPONDING to Vice President Abubakar Atiku's fresh charge that President Olusegun Obasanjo had approved $2 billion (about N260 billion) to acquire military hardware to contain the violence in the Niger-Delta, the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) said, yesterday that its freedom fighters were ready for "war" if that is what the Federal Government wants.<o>

</o> A MEND official who spoke to Vanguard yesterday said: "If the allegation by Abubakar is true, it shows that President Obasanjo is not sincere in his posturing all this while on the resolution on the Niger-Delta, and this is a clear example of the insincerity of purpose that we have been complaining about. Well, if that is the way they see it, our freedom fighters are also preparing for war just as the Federal Government is preparing".<o>

</o> Former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark said when contacted that he would want to find out the veracity of the statement before making comments but an Ijaw leader from Okerenkoko in Delta state, Prince Clement Bebenimibo asked why a whopping N260 billion should not be used to buy arms when the people were crying of underdevelopment. <o>

</o> The MEND source asserted: "We have watched the Federal Government since, last year, when it made promises to address our demands. Up till now, President Obasanjo has been treating the issues with levity, and that was why we took 24 Filipinos hostage on January 20. Some people thought we were in a hurry but you can see now that he is not sincere. Atiku's revelation has exposed Obasanjo's deception on the Niger-Delta crisis, he is only buying time and trying to deceive us but I tell you, we cannot be deceived anymore".<o>

</o> Bebenimibo who spoke in an interview with Vanguard in Warri said: "Well, I don't know whether the approval of $2 billion is true but what I am saying is that it is wrong for President Obasanjo to be thinking of military strength instead of concentrating on how to develop the area. Buying arms is not a way to make peace, it is a serious allegation and I want Mr. President to defend the allegation first".


Muchas gracias, mis amigos.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)
<o></o>

Afeni
Feb 1, 2007, 06:35 PM
I'm suprised people still don't get it. Nigeria cannot secure the Niger-Delta because Nigeria is a weak nation. The Nigerian armed forces is, and has shown many times in the past, to be good and at only one thing. And that is delivering "my fellow Patriot" speeches over the nation's air waves.

In all honesty, the British are to blame. In the olden days, it would have taken a War Chief of God-like stature to topple a sitting king. But these yeye republics that the British and French left on the African continent are akin to leaving a School Student government to run a country. How exactly the damn British didn't forsee an armed forces dominated by low-class, impoverished people being a threat to a government run by rich men cut off from their people by the GRA is beyond me.

Until Nigeria restructures itself to meet the realities on the ground, the nation will continue to have problems.

Abraxas
Feb 2, 2007, 07:01 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/filipino.jpgMilitants Show Hostages, Threaten Attacks.

Masked Nigerian militants armed with machine guns displayed 24 Filipino hostages in a patch of jungle in the remote creeks of the oil-producing Niger Delta and threatened new attacks.

The Filipino seamen were kidnapped on Jan. 20 from a German-operated cargo ship on a river in the western delta by gunmen demanding the release of Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, a militia leader jailed since Sept. 2005 who is facing trial for treason.

Dozens of militants, dressed all in black and with their heads covered in black balaclavas, brought the hostages on Wednesday to a hamlet of a few wood and straw huts, reachable only by boat through a maze of creeks.

The hostages, wearing blue, white or orange work overalls, appeared tired but in good health. They sat on white plastic chairs while the militants stood behind them, posing for the cameras armed with rocket launchers and machine guns.

"The boys have been taking good care of us but we need clean water," said Ruben Roble, who said he was the captain of the cargo ship that was attacked. He said the water they were being given to drink was not safe.

Roble denied reports that seven of the hostages were ill.

The abduction of the Filipinos was just one of a series of attacks in the delta, where violence surged in 2006 and has worsened since the start of 2007. A total of 38 foreigners are being held captive in the delta by separate armed groups.

Poverty, a complete collapse of public services caused by rampant corruption among government officials, and a breakdown in law and order have contributed to the spiralling violence.

Many residents of the delta resent the oil industry which has yielded huge revenues for corrupt Nigerian governments and for foreign companies but polluted their environment.

FIELD COMMANDER

"If the government doesn't listen to us, in 72 hours things will start happening," said Tamuno Goodwill, a masked militant who described himself as a field commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

He said he was referring to attacks on oil facilities and the security forces guarding them.

Royal Dutch Shell is the biggest producer in the area but its operations in the western delta have been shut down for a year following a string of MEND attacks last February. Shell is losing 500,000 barrels per day in output.

"We are going to drag the president into a civil war," said Goodwill, who did not reveal where the militants were keeping their Filipino captives.

Violence has caused thousands of foreigners to flee the delta in the past 12 months and forced the closure of a fifth of oil production capacity from OPEC member Nigeria, the world's eighth-biggest exporter.

Goodwill said his group were MEND fighters, although that is disputed by Jomo Gbomo, the person who has spoken for the faceless militant group since it first surfaced in Dec. 2005.

Gbomo has said MEND was not involved in the attack on the cargo ship. It is impossible to obtain independent confirmation of these details as the MEND has never offered details of its structure and leadership.

Gbomo says the group is fighting for the impoverished people of the delta to gain control of the region's oil wealth. He has also demanded the release of Asari, although he says Asari is not particularly important to the struggle.

Source: Oyibosonline: The Expats Guide to Nigeria. (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1406)

Son of the Delta
Feb 3, 2007, 11:24 AM
Have got nothing to say at the moment but please read this.

February 2nd, 2007
Nigeria major source of Shell, Exxon Mobil $64bn profit
E-MAIL THIS PRINT THIS Most Viewed


Nigeria featured prominently as a cash cow yesterday with the world's biggest oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil declaring huge profits and attributing the unprecedented gains to improved returns from operations in the country.

Shell reported record annual profits of $25.36bn (£12.94bn) for 2006 just as their United States counterpart Exxon Mobil declared a net profit of $39.5bn.

A representative of Shell told the BBC that growth in deep water gas production off Nigeria and strong operations in the US helped boost the fortunes of Europe's second-biggest oil company.

Exxon Mobil, the world's largest oil company, has reported the highest-ever annual profit by a US business. As for Exxon, its 2006 net profit totalled $39.5bn (£20bn), a 9% increase on $36.1bn in 2005. Its 2006 revenues rose to $377.6bn, from $286bn a year earlier.

Global oil prices hit a high of $78 a barrel last summer at the time of the conflict in southern Lebanon although they have since fallen back to $58.

Petrol prices have also since retreated after reaching highs of $3 a gallon in the US in August.

The decline in oil and petrol prices towards the end of the 2006 meant Exxon's profits for October to December dipped 4.3%.

Its net profit for the fourth quarter fell to $10.3bn (£5.2bn) from $10.7bn for the same period in 2005.

Exxon's 2006 profits were 69% higher than those of its Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell, which also reported its annual results on Thursday.

Abraxas
Feb 3, 2007, 03:03 PM
Hi, folks!

Leaders of the Niger Delta, on Friday, 3 February 2007, urged Vice-President Atiku Abubakar not to incite militants in the region.

They also declared that the region would not be drawn into the ongoing puerile feud between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

....The forum was at Aso Rock Villa to protest the emergence ...[Click here for more >>>] (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1409) Enjoy!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Abraxas
Feb 3, 2007, 11:25 PM
Hi, folks!

Militants Keep Party Supporters from Rally:
Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1411)
3 February 2007.

Militants stopped thousands of supporters of Nigeria's ruling party from attending a presidential campaign rally in the main city of Africa's oil heartland, delegates said on Saturday.

Dozens of militants dressed in army fatigues and armed with assault rifles and machineguns blocked the main road to Port Harcourt and turned back People's Democratic Party (PDP) supporters from three Niger Delta states, they said. [Click here for more >>>] (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1411)

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Abraxas
Feb 4, 2007, 11:36 AM
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/printer_friendly/news_logo.gif
Chinese workers freed in Nigeria


Nine Chinese oil workers abducted in Nigeria's Delta region have been freed after 11 days in captivity.

The men, from the offices of China's National Petroleum Company, were freed after "complex efforts", China's foreign ministry said.


All nine were safe and well and were handed back to their company in Bayelsa state, a ministry statement said.


About 100 foreign hostages, mostly oil workers, have recently been kidnapped in the oil-producing Niger Delta.


Many Niger Delta residents live in poverty, and taking hostages for ransom has become increasingly common.


Hostages are usually released after a ransom is paid, though some have been killed in gun battles between security forces and kidnappers.


There was no word about whether a ransom was paid to secure the release of the nine men.


Their release comes after the freeing of five Chinese telecoms who were held for 12 days in captivity.


China's President Hu Jintao is currently on an eight-nation tour of Africa aiming to boost trade ties with the continent.


Foreign workers from the United Kingdom, the United States, the Philippines, Italy, Lebanon and Nigeria are currently being held hostage in Nigeria.


The instability in the region has cut Nigeria's oil production by at least 20%, costing the country some $4.4bn (£2.2bn) last year, according to the government.




Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/6329077.stm

Published: 2007/02/04 10:58:50 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Son of the Delta
Feb 4, 2007, 07:13 PM
Instead of putting pressure on the Nigerian state to address the problems of the Niger Delta or to go on strike or better still resign.Nigerian oil workers are pitching their tenth with the government.This unwise move may lead to dire consequences on the part of the workers.




Provide More Security For Oil Workers, NUPENG Tells FG
PRINT THIS MOST POPULAR PDF VERSION


By Wale Igbintade
4th February


Worried by the high rate of hostage-taking of oil workers in the Niger Delta region, the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called for adequate security for oil workers.

The union also called on the Federal Government to build a big refinery in Lagos State to solve the perennial shortage of petroleum products in the country.

Speaking with Sunday Independent in Lagos, general secretary of NUPENG, Comrade Elijah Okuogbo, lamented that the oil and gas industry and Nigeria as a whole had lost human and material resources to the unending insurgency.

"We are worried by the way government is handling the situation because nothing has changed. It seems to suggest that some level of collusion exists with the perpetrators as a result of the desire to negotiate fat and undisclosed ransom with the militants".

According to Okuogbo, the situation in the Niger Delta had reached a level that required urgent attention, adding that President Olusegun Obasanjo should address the problem before he leaves office in May.

While he condemned what he called poor attitude of government to finding a permanent solution to the problem, Okuogbo said had government been proactive in its handling of the matter, the situation would have been different today.

On the incessant shortage of petroleum products across the country, Okuogbo advocated the construction of a refinery in Lagos that would serve the state and environs.

He urged government to invite multinational oil companies such as Shell, Mobil and Chevron among others and provide land for the construction.

Okuogbo said there should be agreement between government and the multinational companies that part of the refined petroleum products would be sold at a reduced price for local consumption while the remaining would be for export.

According to him, the proceeds from the oil sold at the world market would be shared between government and the company.

Abraxas
Feb 4, 2007, 07:18 PM
Inside MEND’s Den <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Story by EMMA AMAIZE. The Vanguard Newspapers Regional Editor, South-South <o:p></o:p>
Posted to the Web: Sunday, February 04, 2007 <o:p></o:p>
Source: Vanguard on-line (http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/headline/f104022007.html)<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
WHEN Sunday Vanguard left the oil city of Warri, Delta state in the early hours of Thursday, February 1, in company of two freedom fighters of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) for the hideaway of the militants in the creeks of Niger-Delta to speak with the Filipinos, 24 in all, who were taken hostage by the group, along the Chanomi Creek in Warri South-West local government area of the state, January 20, there was trepidation and foreboding about the journey, the location of the den, what it looks like, and in actuality, what the revolutionaries have up their sheaths.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
There are many reasons for such emotions. First is the myth of an unfathomable and impenetrable jungle, where the militants hold sway, and some place security agents could not dare. Secondly, the MEND top shot that was to lead us to the camp did a tactical disembarkation 24 hours to the D-day, and appointed another officer to carry out the assignment. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The departure from Warri was with soldierly exactitude and the journey with a speedboat into the creeks, evidently polluted by oil exploration and exploitation was done with the least conversation between the reporter and his point men.

(Click here for more ….) (http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/headline/f104022007.html)<o:p></o:p>

Abraxas
Feb 5, 2007, 10:22 AM
http://www.thisdayonline.com/images/logo_thisday.gif

N/Delta Millitants List Condition for End to Hostage-Taking

<TT style="COLOR: black">From Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt, 02.04.2007</TT>


Different militant groups in the Niger Delta have told the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Owoye Azazi that the return to 1960 Constituttion and the immediate and unconditional release of their leaders, Alhaji Asari Dokubo and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alameiseigha were the only conditions for the return of peace in the Niger Delta.
This is coming on the heels of information available to THISDAY that Dokubo may regain freedom this week following parleys with the Federal Government which had asked them to produce three sureties preparatory to arranging bail for him to help assuage the militant actions in the region.
If things go according to plan, Asari may be back to the Niger Delta before the end of this week where he would be expected to help stem the rampant vandalisation of pipelines as well as constant hostage taking of expatriate workers in the region by controlling the miliants.
THISDAY learnt that though it was said that his release may not immediately stop the militants from taking hostages which has turned out to be a lucrative business, it was reasoned that Dokubo has the capacity to secure their release without the payment of the huge ransome which has made the business attractive.
In the meeting with the different groups, Azazi was told that the continued detention of their leaders waas an affront on them by the Federal Government which controls the resources exploited from their place without adequate development to benefit the people.
Their insistence on the return to the 1960 constitution was to the effect that regions were allowed to control the resources in their regions and pay taxes to the Federal Government in a truly federal structured arrangement which still translates to resource control.
The militant youths, who collectively took exception to being addressed as militants, choosing instead to be called freedom fighters said the imbalance in the sharing of the resources of the country weighed heavily against their region which produced the resources which they said was not acceptable to them.
"We don't have militants in the Niger Delta. Rather we have freedom fighters. You cannot talk of peace in the midst of injustice. The Nigerian government wants our oil to flow but they don't care about our safety. See our environment polluted, see the level of poverty in the region. All we can say for immediate and temporal peace to return is that Asari and Alams must be released unconditionally."
"Government have not been able to try them for any offence. So they should be freed. Then to finally solve the problems the nation should either revert back to the 1960 constitution, which guaranteed regional autonomy or practice true federalism. Military laws as constitution will only continue to give us crisis. In Warri South West local government , wards were not properly created. We shouted yet nobody listened to us. This action has denied many their rights to participate in democracy for about eight years now", a spokesman of the groups said.
Speaking in the charged atmosphere of the meeting, Azazi insisted on his belief that dialogue rather than confrontation was a better alternative to solving the Niger Delta problem and called on the boys to continue cooperating with him as the project cannot afford to fail.
According to him, not many people gave the meeting with them any chance of sucess but stated that since they have gone into the second round of deliberations, things can only become better since those of them that have been attending will always take the message to the creeks.
The army boss said it would be wrong for anybody to see the peaceful approach he has adopted as an action borne out of cowardice, adding that rather than reduce the size of the military in the region, it was tactically correct to increase it.
He told them that their request that the military be pulled out of the region was not feasible but denied that there was a deal to use $2 billion as alleged by Vice President Atiku Abubakar to procure arms to decimate the region.

Abraxas
Feb 5, 2007, 11:38 AM
Hi, folks!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
There is this gist flowing around the pepper soup and ogogoro joints at the various watersides in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City> Garden City that I just have to share with villagers, for the sake of my health. Here goes, please enjoy:<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Insurgents (a.k.a. “militants”, “freedom fighters”, “restive youths”, “area fishermen”) in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niger</st1:place></st1:country-region> Delta region kidnapped an albinoid Nigerian half caste that they mistook for an original oyibo multinational oil company worker. But, he protested vehemently in Brokin, telling them that he was an authentic ogbologbo Nigerian, born and bred in the <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region></st1:place> Delta like them. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"Ol’ men, I no be oyibo-oh! I be indigene-oh. My mama na Yoroba-oh, and na only my papa wey be oyibo-oh. I just come Pitakwa come hustle-oh. I swear to God Almighty, I no be oyibo-oh!"<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
They thought he was trying to outsmart them, and told him to shut up until they took him to their hideout in the mangrove swamps, deep in the mosquito-infested creeks of the God-forsaken <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region></st1:place> Delta. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Suddenly, when he spoke very fluent Yoruba to one of the insurgents who understood Yoruba, they believed him and let him go immediately. <o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
MORAL: Even albinos are no longer safe in the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niger</st1:place></st1:country-region> Delta.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
Muchas gracias.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)<o:p></o:p>

Abraxas
Feb 6, 2007, 08:34 AM
Oil Workers Targeted As Nigeria Violence Grows:
Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1422)
(Reuters) - Lolo Oluchi has painted over the bullet holes in the ceiling of her karaoke bar in this Nigerian oil city, where gunmen seized seven foreign oil workers last August, but the regulars haven't come back.

Thousands of foreign workers and their families have left Africa's top oil producer since a faceless new militant group launched unprecedented attacks about a year ago on the places where they work, live and relax.

Those still left in the industry yards of Port Harcourt and on oilfields in the remote creeks of the surrounding Niger Delta are braving a surge in violence under a security clampdown.....[Click here for more >>>] (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1422)

Abraxas
Feb 7, 2007, 06:56 AM
Italian Hostages Speak Out (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1433)

http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/3%20Agip%20Hostages%202.jpg Three ENI oil company employees held hostage in Nigeria for the past two months are pleading with the Italian government for help.

ANSA said the three men, Cosma Russo and Francesco Arena of Italy and Imad Saliba of Lebanon, issued a plea Tuesday in the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto after a reporter interviewed the men on a canoe in the Niger Delta.

The hostages said, "We are disappointed with the government which is doing nothing to get us out of here, and disappointed by our company which has left us to rot in this jungle."

ANSA said the Nigerian rebels are demanding the release of former regional governor jailed for corruption and a Delta separatist leader being held on treason charges.

ENI said in a statement Tuesday that it is working "in close collaboration with the foreign ministry's crisis unit" to get the men released."

calist
Feb 7, 2007, 02:09 PM
"Ol’ men, I no be oyibo-oh! I be indigene-oh. My mama na Yoroba-oh, and na only my papa wey be oyibo-oh. I just come Pitakwa come hustle-oh. I swear to God Almighty, I no be oyibo-oh!"

They thought he was trying to outsmart them, and told him to shut up until they took him to their hideout in the mangrove swamps, deep in the mosquito-infested creeks of the God-forsaken Niger Delta.

Suddenly, when he spoke very fluent Yoruba to one of the insurgents who understood Yoruba, they believed him and let him go immediately.

MORAL: Even albinos are no longer safe in the Niger Delta.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


Lol na serious wah 4 u ohhhhhhhhhh

Honestly my heart bleeds 4 ND and d hell dey live in.

I hope dis issue is carefully handled, cos its really sensitive.

Abraxas
Feb 8, 2007, 02:37 AM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/breaking_news2.jpgBriton released, Filipina kidnapped in Nigeria
Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1435)

Gunmen released Wednesday a British hostage in Nigeria but a Filipina became the latest kidnap victim in the oil-rich Niger Delta where the taking of foreigners shows no sign of letting up.

The woman was abducted at midday from the center of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, the center of Nigeria's oil industry, by gunmen who immediately switched off her phone and took her to an unknown destination.

"She was probably on her way to the bank. She was taken close to a bank," Felix Ogbaudu, a state police commissioner, told Agence France-Presse, adding that she was married to a Filipino construction worker.

"As far as I know this is the first-ever female hostage in Nigeria, certainly in the last two years," a private security advisor told AFP, agreeing with Ogbaudu that the abduction's timing and location was unusually audacious.

It follows the abduction Tuesday of a Filipino employee of Netco Dietsmann -- the Nigerian arm of a Monaco-based oil services company -- who was seized from a company car heading for the airport in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.

The man, an instrumentation engineer working for Shell subcontractor Netco Dietsmann, was seized from a company car heading for the airport in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Esteban Conejos, citing a report from Philippine Ambassador to Nigeria Masaranga Umpa, identified the kidnapped Filipino as Winston B. Helera, 51, of Quezon City, the INQUIRER.net reported earlier.

The latest two incidents bring to 26 the number of Filipino nationals being held hostage in southern Nigeria. The other 24 were seized from a cargo vessel in Nigerian waters in January.

Their kidnapping prompted Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to slap a temporary ban on her nationals coming to work in Nigeria, where nearly 4,000 Filipinos are already employed.

One British hostage was released earlier Wednesday, but in addition to the 26 Filipinos, two Italians, one American and a Lebanese national are still being held by different armed groups.

A diplomat said the Briton may have been released because his captors were worried he was so ill he might die in their hands.

"He was pretty sick. His health was deteriorating," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

The Briton, who has not been identified, was seized along with an American as the two traveled to work by car in Port Harcourt on January 23.

The diplomat had no news of the American hostage, identified by industry sources at the time of the kidnap as Bill or Billy Graham.

He was also unable to say if the Briton had already been evacuated from southern Nigeria.

The past few weeks have seen a sharp increase in hostage takings in the Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria. The attacks are carried out by a mixture of separatist groups with a political agenda and criminal gangs lured by the attraction of easy ransom money.

Nine Chinese oil workers from the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) kidnapped January 25 were freed on Sunday.

Nigeria, which derives more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from oil, lost more than half a million barrels a day last year to unrest in the Delta. With an INQUIRER.net report

Abraxas
Feb 8, 2007, 03:16 AM
Militant leader warns: 'We will destroy lives'

Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1436)

http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Militants%204.jpgIn the remote mangrove swamps of southern Nigeria, 24 Filipino hostages appeared frightened and disheveled. Around them, dozens of militants, dressed in black and wearing black ski masks, danced wildly and fired their automatic weapons into the air.

The hostages, held in captivity since their cargo ship was seized January 20, sat on white plastic chairs, lined up in a row, not knowing if they would live or die. Some militants pointed weapons at them; others proudly brandished rocket-propelled grenades.

The Filipinos are the latest victims caught in the middle of a widening battle over Nigeria's oil profits.

"We're all OK, but only we want to be free. We want to be released," said Ruben Roble, the Filipino captain of the Baco Liner II.

Elmer Nacionales, the cargo ship's chief officer, added, "I have a family and we need to communicate with them."

CNN was recently taken to the hostages and one of the militant hideouts in the Niger Delta. It was an exclusive glimpse of a militant group that calls itself the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, which has ratcheted up its battle for what it says is the unequal distribution of the nation's oil wealth.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer. In 2005, it was the world's sixth largest exporter of oil, but the conflict there has cut distribution by an estimated 500,000 barrels per day, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The militants are threatening to hurt the oil sector even more.

"We are going to descend on all foreign interests in the Nigerian economy, either in the river or in the land," said a masked man who called himself Maj. Gen. Tamuno. He said he was the group's leader.

He gave the interview from the murky swamps where the militants have taken up arms, and said his group would soon launch "Operation Black Locust," aimed at key installations across the country. His militants claimed to have 200,000 fighters among them.

"We are telling all expatriates to leave Nigeria, not only the Niger Delta, but to leave Nigeria. We will take lives, we will destroy lives, we will crumble the economy," he said.

Since late 2005, MEND militants have carried out numerous attacks on Nigeria's oil sector and abducted dozens of foreign workers, releasing nearly all of them unharmed.

But in recent months, the attacks have become more brazen and more frequent. Two car bombings were carried out at oil company compounds in southern Nigeria's largest port town of Port Harcourt on December 18, and in January alone, militants abducted more than 30 people.

"The security situation in the Niger Delta region has deteriorated significantly over the past year. Travel to the region remains dangerous and should be avoided," the U.S. State Department said in its "travel warning" on Nigeria last month.

"Hostages haven been taken from oil facilities, public roadways, and within the city of Port Harcourt."

'Struggle for liberation'
The man who identified himself as MEND's leader said his group is fighting because of billions of dollars being made off the oil rich deposits of the Niger Delta, with very little of the profits making it back to the Nigerian people, especially those in the Delta where some of the world's poorest people live.

More than 2 million barrels of crude oil is pumped out of Nigeria every day, according to the U.S. Energy Department. International oil conglomerates from the United States, China and other countries have taken up stakes in the Niger Delta. Among the oil giants are Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and oil service companies like Schlumberger and Brazil's Petrobas.

The masked man said his forces are in the middle of a "struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta, the most devastated and the most threatened region in the world."

"Our fight is against everybody," he said.

Nigerian forces have struggled in the battle. The navy doesn't travel to the regions where CNN went because the waters are so dangerous, patrolled by armed militants in speed boats that quickly navigate through the swamps.

One person who is working to try to bring an end to the crisis is American-born Judith Burdin Asuni. She works for a nongovernmental organization called Academic Associates Peaceworks, which specializes in conflict resolution.

She says everyone bears the blame for what's happening in the Delta.

"The government, the oil companies and even the militants all share the blame," she told CNN. "The situation shouldn't have been allowed to deteriorate to this level."

And she said the militants should be taken extremely seriously.

"The militants are far more well armed than the Nigerian navy. They have bigger guns and speed boats that can practically go anywhere, even shallow waters," she said.

A week ago, the militants sailed into Port Harcourt and boldly made their way to the central police station in the middle of the town and shot their way out, rescuing 15 of their comrades who had been arrested by the navy.

"That's how bold they've become," Asuni said. "They rule the roost."

Former Nigerian military ruler and retired four-star general, Ibrahim Babangida, said the country's leaders must do something soon to try to bring about an end to the crisis.

"The window is closing fast," he said. "The Niger Delta crisis is solvable but our leaders have to act fast. I know the Delta, I spent some time there. Those militants can only wait so long."

Abraxas
Feb 8, 2007, 01:14 PM
Frenchman kidnapped!
Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1438)

http://i.cnn.net/cnn/interactive/world/0702/gallery.nigeria.koinange/gal.03.koinange.cnn.jpgFrenchman became the latest kidnap victim in the oil-rich Niger Delta when he was seized in Port Harcourt, Nigeria's oil capital, an industry source has said.

The unidentified man, married to a Nigerian woman and under local contract to French oil group Total, was picked up by armed men as he returned home, the source said.

Last week three Nigerian policemen were killed during an attack on a Total facility at Obagi in the southern Rivers state, in a fresh outbreak of violence against oil multinationals.

But this is the first time a Frenchman working on a local contract for Total has been seized in southern Nigeria.

Given the persistent lack of security, many companies including Shell have recently sent the families of expatriate workers away from Port Harcourt.

The past few weeks have seen a sharp increase in hostage takings in the Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria. The attacks are carried out by a mixture of separatist groups with a political agenda and criminal gangs lured by the attraction of easy ransom money.

The separatists want a bigger share of the oil revenue -- Nigeria is the world's sixth largest exporter -- for the local population, much of which lives in grinding poverty.

Gunmen Wednesday released a seriously ill British hostage in Nigeria but a Filipina became another kidnap victim in the Niger Delta where the taking of foreigners shows no sign of letting up.

The woman was abducted at midday from the centre of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, the centre of Nigeria's oil industry, by gunmen who immediately switched off her phone and took her to an unknown destination.

It follows the abduction Tuesday of a Filipino employee of Netco Dietsmann -- the Nigerian arm of a Monaco-based oil services company -- who was seized from a company car heading for the airport in Owerri, the capital of Imo State.

The latest two incidents bring to 26 the number of Filipino nationals being held hostage in southern Nigeria. The other 24 were seized from a cargo vessel in Nigerian waters in January.

Their kidnapping prompted Philippines President Gloria Arroyo to slap a temporary ban on her nationals coming to work in Nigeria, where nearly 4,000 Filipinos are already employed.

In addition to the 26 Filipinos, two Italians, one American and a Lebanese national are still being held by different armed groups.

Nine Chinese oil workers from the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) kidnapped January 25 were freed on Sunday.

Nigeria, which derives more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from oil, lost more than half a million barrels a day last year to unrest in the Delta.

Abraxas
Feb 9, 2007, 04:54 AM
Militants Disown CNN Report
Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1441)

http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/koinange.bmpThe Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has discredited the Cable News Network (CNN) report currently being aired where purported members were shown.

Spokesman of the militant group, Jomo Gbomo, while disputing the report threatened to release the correspondence between MEND and CNN Correspondent, Mr. Jeff Koinange if he dared dispute their claims.

The letter from MEND yesterday states: "On Monday January 22, 2007, we were approached by Mr. Jeff Koinange who implicitly acknowledged this email account to be the authentic voice of MEND.

"He requested we stage some scenes for a very important CNN programme which was supposed to air in the first week of February.

"We stated clearly we would not be disposed to fit into his tight schedule. Our struggle is much more to us than parading before everyone willing to film fighters. I'm sure the world has seen enough of that.

"What CNN has presented as the truth to its unsuspecting viewers, is a collection of thugs, pirates and bunkerers put together by Jeff Koinange and CNN to meet up with the deadline given to Mr. Koinange by his editors in CNN. It is far from the truth.

"The band of criminals paraded by CNN as MEND have nothing to do with MEND. They are indeed the kidnappers of the Filipinos and as earlier stated, carried out this act at the behest of politicians and some misguided so-called Ijaw leaders to prevent an Itsekiri man emerging as governor in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Delta</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>.

"It is astonishing that a network of high repute such as CNN would descend this low in its search for a sensational story. We are reluctant to release our correspondence with Mr. Koinange but will circulate this if our claims are refuted."

In an earlier release, Gbomo had stated: "From the inception of our campaign, all statements from MEND have been released through this email account only and we categorically denied taking the Filipinos."

Apparently refering to another group which claimed to have kidnapped the Filipinos, Gbomo said the so called Major General Tamuno "is unknown to us and is a fraud."
The Filipinoes, he said, "were abducted by a community in Gbaramatu with the connivance of FNDIC in Warri who were paid by local politicians to blackmail the government into annulling the PDP primaries in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Delta</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>.”

Gbomo said the FNDIC in a bid to "lend credence to their fraud and cover up this disgraceful act carried out in the name of the struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta, they added our original list of demands to their intended goals."

The struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta, he said in the release, "has no relationship with the PDP primaries for which the Filipinos are being held. This same group of frauds in their earlier release claimed to hold the Italian hostages as well. This has long been disproved".

Meanwhile, a French National, Mr. Gerrald Lapora working with Elf Petroleum <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region> has been kidnapped by an unknown group just as the Filipino woman abducted on her way to the bank on Wednesday was reportedly killed by her captors.

The French national was said to have closed from work and drove to the front of his home and while waiting for the gate to be opened, some unknown persons swooped on him and took him hostage. So far, no group has taken responsibility for the action. Also, the Filipino woman, said to be a karate instructor with a red belt allegedly refused to cooperate with her captors who may have killed her before calling her Iranian husband to tell him of the incident.

However, the Rivers State Police Commissioner said while his command heard about the rumour of the woman’s death, it was not sure of the authenticity of the information as the captors may be using the ploy to extort money from her husband.

This is coming on the heels of a parley between the Nigerian Navy and the host communities aimed at resolving misunderstandings between them and oil companies.
Addressing the forum of host communities, the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Peter Adeniyi said that there was need for dialogue which was a better way of resolving conflicts.

He regretted that avoidable conflicts had in the past, led to the shutting down of operations and regretted the rise in the incidence of hostage taking and increased agitations which impact negatively on peace.

“Disruptions of oil companies operations, hostage taking and insensitivity to the host communities’ plights among others will definitely retard development and engender further agitations”, he noted.

He asked all the aggrieved parties to take the floor and state what their expectations were so that they would be amicably resolved as a peaceful environment would guarantee better development and good life for all.

“We should resolve our differences through dialogue under a conducive and peaceful environment. This will obviously attract greater investments in the various host communities and will in turn guarantee better life for us and for future generations. We must avoid the use of violence in asking for what is legitimately ours”, he stated.

He said he appreciated the enormity of the problem the people in the riverine areas were facing due to the hazards of oil exploration, adding that having lived in those places; he had a better appreciation of the problem but promised positive actions to ameliorate them.

Abraxas
Feb 11, 2007, 10:54 AM
Libya overtakes Nigeria in oil production.
Source: (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1452) oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1452)

http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/rig.jpg
LIBYA and Angola are set to overtake Nigeria as Africa’s largest oil producer due to the increasing insurgency in the oil producing region of Niger-Delta.


According to reports published by the Gulf Times on Friday, about 600,000 barrels per day already cut off from Nigerian oil production is set to increase as the April poll approaches.

According to the reports, Nigeria could lose its status as Africa’s largest oil producer if companies and workers decide it is to dangerous to operate in the volatile nation in the run up to elections in April.

“It will definitely get worse as politicians give arms to local youths,” said Thoko Kaime, Africa expert at the London-based Exclusive Analysis.

A fifth of Nigeria’s oil production capacity, or about 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), has been shut down for the past year because of militants attacks on oil facilities.

Rebel groups have vowed to further disrupt output in the oil-rich Niger Delta in their fight for the neglected region to gain greater local control of oil wealth.

Nigeria’s Energy Minister, Edmund Daukoru, on Monday estimated February output to reach 2mn bpd. Analysts said fresh attacks could easily lower the country’s output and establish Libya, which pumped 1.7mn bpd last month, as Africa’s top oil producer.

Also, hot on Nigeria’s heels is Angola, the newest member of the oil producers group, OPEC, where output is rising fast and is expected to top 2mn bpd early next year.

“It’s very possible. It wouldn’t require much more from militants as low-tech attacks have already cut production by 20 per cent,” said Peter Pham, Africa security analyst at James Madison University in the US.

Analysts said the recent upsurge in the kidnapping of foreign oil workers could have the biggest long-term impact on Nigeria’s oil output.

“Kidnapping staff seems to be the pattern of preferred attacks rather than physically attacking oilfields,” said David Cowan, senior economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“If you’ve got a bunch of hostages, then you have a negotiating counter to get money out of the companies or the government,” he added.

More than 30 foreigners are being held by different armed groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Union groups have threatened to strike if the government and oil companies do not improve security for workers. A meeting between the unions and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo held last week.

“The biggest disruption to Nigeria’s oil industry could be the reluctance of foreign experts to come and work here,” said Nnamdi Obasi, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group. Royal Dutch Shell, the top foreign oil producer in Nigeria, said earlier this month that it would take longer than expected to restore lost production.”

Son of the Delta
Feb 11, 2007, 07:26 PM
If Nigeria fails to change then she is not qualified to even export 1 barrel.

Abraxas
Feb 13, 2007, 11:38 AM
Breaking News!<o:p></o:p>
Filipino Hostages Released By Nigerian Kidnapers<o:p></o:p>
By Sunny Ofili with Wire reports <o:p></o:p>
Date: Tuesday, 13 February 2007<o:p></o:p>
Source: Times of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:country-region></st1:place> (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1815&PHPSESSID=27fe39e7c931a3448582f8e813241c3c)<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Nigerian kidnappers have released all 24 Filipino seamen they had been holding captive in the creeks of the oil-producing <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region></st1:place> Delta since Jan. 20, the men's employer, German shipping firm Baco-Liner, said on Tuesday.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"All 24 hostages are on board our vessel, Baco-Liner 2, and they're on their way to Warri now where they will be handed over directly to our agent," a spokesman for the company said, referring to the main city in the western delta.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
He said the men were tired but in good health.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Another seven foreign hostages seized by different armed groups are still in captivity in the delta, where violence against expatriates and against the oil industry is on the rise.<o:p></o:p>
The kidnappers said they had freed the Filipino hostages "on humanitarian grounds" without receiving any ransom.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
It is not yet known who facilitated the release of the hostages at press time.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 February 2007 )<o:p></o:p>

Abraxas
Feb 13, 2007, 08:16 PM
MEND Carpets Nweke Over Attack On CNN<o:p></o:p>
By Sunny Ofili <o:p></o:p>
Date: Tuesday, 13 February 2007<o:p></o:p>
Source: Times of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:country-region></st1:place> (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1816&PHPSESSID=924ea78a3b0016bd11393acdaf7927bf)<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Threatens All Out War!<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The crisis reverberating over CNN's broadcast of militants showcasing 24 Filipino hostages got messier today when the rebel group, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta joined issues with the Minister of Information Frank Nweke saying the demand for the American news network to apologize over the broadcast was "pathetic" and out of "ignorance."<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Nweke had in an interview yesterday with CNN's Jim Clancy accused CNN of paying for and staging a report.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"It was a paid job, and that's exactly why we are very upset about it," he said, without offering evidence.<o:p></o:p>
"He had actually approached other people before then to do the same thing and his offer was declined. And he shopped around for more people and found those criminals who were willing to play ball with him and they put on the kind of show that they put up and which was shown around the world." Nweke told CNN.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo reacted angrily to Nweke's position in an email to the media today. Regarding the CNN report on the <st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region> delta which we have long dissociated ourselves from and the reaction of the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region> government to the airing of that report; The Nigerian governments demand for an apology from CNN is at the best, pathetic.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Gbomo said had CNN adhered to his counsel and tarried a little, its report would have been more troubling to the Nigerian government and the world.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"The CNN report was a grossly inadequate _expression of the situation in the Niger Delta. Had CNN been more thorough in this assignment, the CNN portrayal of the situation in the delta would have been more troubling.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
"There are thousands of weapons in the delta and of these, close to five hundred have been captured from Nigerian military and police personal. The Nigerian government has been entirely dishonest as to the fate of most of its military and police personnel killed in the delta. Figures stated are dramatically understated.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
"More worrying about the Nigerian government's position on the CNN report is its concern for its image abroad rather than the disturbing situation at home. To a more responsible government, the CNN report would be sufficient galvanization for positive action in the delta. The sight of such high caliber weapons in the hands of civilians who operate with impunity in the delta should have served as a wake up call.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
"We denied that those filmed were MEND fighters but confirm the participants of that report to be real. In case the Nigerian government is not aware, those were real gun, boats and the participants, definitely not manikins.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
"If any apology should be given, it should go to MEND for the deliberate error made by CNN in a bid to sensationalize its story. The Nigerian minister for information in exposing his ignorance, claimed unwilling to divulge information on efforts being made by the government to resolve the Niger Delta unrest. If these plans were more than hoped plans to crush the unrest militarily, the interview with CNN, properly managed, provided the Nigerian government the opportunity to reach of to those fighting in the delta. Like his masters in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Abuja</st1:place></st1:City>, he simply does not know what to do. Such is the nature of governance in third world <st1:place w:st="on">Africa</st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
"We also wish to deny again our involvement in the kidnap of the Filipino seamen. Their release was effected today by MEND pretenders also known as FNDIC. As we stated earlier, this kidnap was orchestrated by this group which has decided to release the hostages after a small payment was made.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
On Italian Hostages<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"Regarding the two Italian and one Lebanese hostage in our custody, we confirm that talks aimed at securing their release have long broken down. Statements by the Bayelsa government that there exists some form of dialogue at this point are dubious. We ceased speaking with the Bayelsa government team on February 5, 2007. It is without a doubt that the new government will have to try new methods to secure the release of these hostages."<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
We Will Disintegrate <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region><o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"The Nigerian government should not be misled into believing any new military acquisitions will give it victory. We will fight a war that has never been fought in Africa and disintegrate <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region> if we have to do so to get justice. All countries with any kind of workers in the Niger Delta are advised to start making plans for a speedy evacuation of their nationals as we may be unable to distinguish between oil workers and others at that point.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>
"Our demand for justice in the delta has gone beyond the building of clinics and roads. We demand what is rightfully ours and now. We will persevere until we get justice, by any means necessary." He concluded.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Last Updated (Tuesday, 13 February 2007)<o:p></o:p>

Abraxas
Feb 13, 2007, 10:24 PM
MEND: Press Release<o>
</o>HOSTAGES RELEASED; FURTHER ACTION SURE<o>
</o><o>Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1465)
</o>

On the 20th January,2007, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) intercepted a cargo ship (Baco Liner 2) suspected to have been conveying arms and ammunition imported by top politicians in the country, to destabilize the 2007 general elections in the region. Ordinarily, the Movement would have alerted the Nigerian security agency but decided to embark on this action, because the Movement has lost confidence in the Nigerian security agents in the region.<o>

</o> After thorough search and investigations conducted, MEND discovered several containers of explosives concealed in other consignments in the cargo ship.<o>

</o> However, with the intervention of the Delta State Government and Ijaw Elders, today the 13th day of February 2007, MEND is releasing the twenty four (24) Filipinos and the cargo ship (Baco liner 2) to the secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG) Bar Ovie Omo-Agege on humanitarian ground without ransom from any quarters, but with condition for further actions if the federal government reneges to meet the following demands:<o>

</o> That the Movement restate the call for the immediate release of Alhaji Asari Mujaheed Dokubo, the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) from detention without any condition.<o>

</o> That Chief D S P Alamieyeseigha should be unconditionally released, if the Federal Government will not probe Governors like James Ibori of Delta State and Peter Odili of Rivers State for the criminal mismanagement of over N600 billion naira that have accrued to their respective states from 1999 to date.<o>

</o> That the Federal Government should immediately demilitarize the Niger Delta, to avert imminent genocide against the people of the region .<o>

</o> That SPDC should immediately pay the aborigines of <st1><st1:placename w:st="on">Bayelsa</st1:placename> <st1:placetype w:st="on">State</st1:placetype></st1> the 1.5 billion dollars compensation as approved by the federal high court. This payment will open the way for an hitch free re-entry of the Anglo-Dutch Shell to its abandoned facilities in the region.<o>

</o> As the 2007 election approaches, we are keenly watching and commit the Government of Nigeria to conduct a free and fair election, for the people to be able to vote in candidates of their choice to prudently manage the resources of the Niger Delta for speedy development of the region. The Movement strongly reject the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) guber flag bearers for Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states.<o>

</o> Meanwhile, the Movement regrets holding fellow humans (the Filipinos on board the cargo ship) against their will, though see their activities in the Niger Delta region as machineries that were caught in the act of sabotaging our agitation<o>.

</o> Finally, we call on the international community to immediately prevail on the Nigerian Government to addressing problems facing the Niger Delta people. We also call on Britain and the United States of America to actualize their commitment towards resolving the Niger Delta problem as they promised during the 2006 February - march hostages saga, for a lasting peace in the region.<o>

</o> Signed:<o></o>
Tamuno Godswill Oyinye Alaebi<o></o>

Abraxas
Feb 14, 2007, 10:03 AM
<st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niger</st1:place></st1:country-region> Delta Crisis Stalls West African Gas Project<o:p></o:p>
By Yakubu Lawal, Deputy Energy Editor<o:p></o:p>
The Guardian Newspapers. (http://odili.net/news/source/2007/feb/13/29.html) Tuesday, 13 February 2007.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
ONE of the major inter-state projects designed to boost economic integration in <st1:place w:st="on">West Africa</st1:place>, the West African Gas Pipeline Project (WAPCO), has been derailed by the activities of militants in the Niger Delta.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The project sponsored by the World Bank and the participating countries is meant to supply natural gas from <st1:country-region w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:country-region> to <st1:country-region w:st="on">Benin</st1:country-region>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">Togo</st1:country-region> and <st1:country-region w:st="on">Ghana</st1:country-region> and ultimately <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cote d'Ivoire</st1:place></st1:country-region>.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Energy Minister, Dr. Edmund Daukoru, said yesterday that the December 2006 deadline to get the product to the four nations had been missed.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Daukoru told journalists at a joint meeting of the Committee of Ministers and officials of WAPCO in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Cotonou</st1:City>, <st1:country-region w:st="on">Benin</st1:country-region></st1:place> Republic attributed the development to the activities of militant groups in the Niger Delta. He accused the restive youths of repeatedly vandalising the Escravos-Lagos pipeline and other oil operations in the region.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Daukoru said that the project was slated for completion in 18 months from the date of the Final Investment Decision (FID) and that this should have been in December last year.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"But of course, we are here in February and it is not yet completed due to a whole variety of reasons. So this meeting is being held to review jointly with WAPCO, which is a bulk supplier to the three countries, everything is coming out of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Other partners in the project are Chevron and Shell. We want to review the status of the project and be sure that we make up for lost time and be sure that further delay is mitigated as much as possible," he said.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The project has been bedevilled by labour-related issues in some of the countries.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Daukoru assured that despite the setback, <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region> would be able to meet its contractual obligation to supply gas to the customers, adding that some aspects of the project would be ready before the end of the second quarter of the year.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"We have a short cut option. We can supply gas without compression, it is called free gas. We can get gas from the three arms of supply - one coming from Utorogu; the other arm coming from the Chevron-Escravos system. If both arms can be ready by then, it would be a little bit possible to achieve free flow. That will help to mitigate delays - that is what we will be looking at," he said.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
On the degree of commitment by gas buyers, the minister said there was a number of private sector, adding that institutional customers in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Ghana</st1:country-region> were ready to take 122 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, 22 million standard cubic feet of gas per day, each in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Benin</st1:country-region> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:country-region w:st="on">Togo</st1:country-region></st1:place>.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"For now, the overwhelming bulk of the supply will be going to the utility companies. In <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Ghana</st1:place></st1:country-region>, we have the Aluminium Smelting plant, the GRA, Volta Authority and the rest is for private concerns," he added.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The meeting was attended by the Ministers of Energy Ghana, Mr.Joseph Kofi Adda, Togo , Mr.Leopold Gneniedi and the host country, Mr. Jocelyn Degbey as well as the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, Ibn Chambas.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
On the planned visit of President Olusegun Obasanjo to sign the supply of 100 Megawatts (MW) to the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Daukoru noted that arrangements between countries take a long gestation period.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Adda expressed concern about the situation in the Niger Delta, noting that customers in his country wanted assurance about security of gas supply.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Apart from Niger Delta crisis , the minister feared that the Independent Power Projects (IPP) may affect negatively the volume of gas that may come to Ghana bearing in mind that the country has a lot of consumption potentials in the near future when Nigeria, IPPs would have been on stream.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Gneniedi reiterated what their Ghanain counterpart had said.<o:p></o:p>

Abraxas
Feb 15, 2007, 07:06 AM
Hostages say they are well but bored
Source: oyibosonline (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1470)
<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Two Italians held hostage along with a Lebanese national for nearly 10 weeks in volatile southern <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region> say they are in good health but bored, an Italian daily has reported.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"Our health conditions are good," wrote Cosma Russo, 55, in an e-mail received the day after their Nigerian captors said they would not consider releasing the hostages until after elections due in May.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Francesco Arena, 54, added: "We have nothing to do, we await the day of freedom... We always eat the same thing: rice with sauce, and beans, tuna and sardines."<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The pair were allowed to answer questions sent by La Repubblica to their captors, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Russo wrote: "I had a bout of malaria a month ago, but there were medicines."<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The pair also said they were allowed to walk around the interior of the camp where they are being held but had no news from <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Italy</st1:place></st1:country-region>.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The Nigerian government's chief negotiator on Monday denied any breakdown in talks for the release of the hostages, seized along with Lebanese Imad Saliba on December 7.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Russo said in the e-mail that "the hostage-takers tell us that they want control of the resources in the Niger Delta," while Arena added that they "want the release of their leaders."<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Another Italian kidnapped with them, Roberto Dieghi, was freed on January 18 because of health problems. All work for the Italian oil firm Agip.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
La Repubblica said Wednesday the MEND spokesman took 10 days to pass the questions on to the hostages, but said they had been allowed to answer freely.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Their abduction from one of Agip's facilities at Brass in southern <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Bayelsa</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> was one in a spate of kidnappings designed to highlight alleged imbalances in the distribution of oil wealth in the region.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The MEND gave assurances at the end of last month that it would not execute the three hostages even if talks over their release broke down.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
<st1:country-region w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:country-region>, <st1:place w:st="on">Africa</st1:place>'s largest oil producer, derives more than 95 percent of its foreign exchange earnings from the fossil fuel.

Abraxas
Feb 16, 2007, 04:17 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/US%20State%20Dep%20400wide.jpg US Consulate Warden Message

Attention all American citizens:

The U.S. Government has learned that a militant Niger Delta group is reportedly planning to escalate its activities in regions beyond its previous primary target areas in the Delta. Possible targets could include expatriate personnel, Western businesses or facilities and locales visited by tourists and foreigners in other regions of Nigeria. Attacks and kidnappings may become more violent than in recent months. In light of this information, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria has updated its travel policy for official U.S. Mission personnel, who must now receive the approval of the Ambassador for official travel to the following Nigerian States: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, and Rivers.

We continue to advise all Americans to review their security procedures, remain vigilant to their surroundings, and report specific incidences of targeted violence to the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or the U. S. Consulate General in Lagos at the numbers below. You may also email the Abuja Consular Section at: ConsularAbuja@state.gov or the Lagos Consular Section at: lagoscons2@state.gov

For information on travel in Nigeria, see the Department of State's most recent Travel Warning and Consular Information Sheet for Nigeria. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).



U.S. Embassy Abuja is located at Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Business District, Abuja; the telephone number is 09-461-4000. The U.S. Consulate Lagos is located at 2 Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island, Lagos; the telephone number is 01-261-1215. For after-hours emergencies, call 011 [234] (1) 261-1414, 261-0195, 261-0078, 261-0139, or 261-6477.

Abraxas
Feb 18, 2007, 08:58 AM
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/printer_friendly/news_logo.gif
The growing power of Nigeria's gangs.

Source: BBC News (Africa) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6370929.stm)

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42583000/jpg/_42583151_militia_story_ap.jpgAs Nigeria prepares for April's general elections, fears are growing about the rise of armed gangs in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The BBC's Alex Last braves the slums of Port Harcourt to find powerful militant commander Soboma George, who tells him that they, not the politicians, will be calling the shots.

Around eight o'clock at night, a car with blacked out windows pulled up near the hotel - our escort to meet Soboma George, once described as one of the most powerful gang leaders in the rundown oil city of Port Harcourt.




A city where kidnappings, crime and militancy have spiralled out of control - where foreign oil workers live almost under siege in their compounds. A city in the heart of the Niger Delta, where decades of poverty and neglect have left anger and violence.

Soboma George hit the headlines recently when some 60 militants wielding heavy machine guns marched through the centre of the city, fought off the police and the army, and retrieved him from a police station.


The main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which is demanding greater local control of the oil wealth, claimed responsibility, announcing for the first time that Soboma was one of its senior commanders in the city.


He had been detained for a traffic violation, the police simply didn't recognise him. One officer said privately that, if they had, they wouldn't have dared to hold him.


Broken promises

Police say Soboma George first became known not as a political militant, but as a powerful member of an all-male gang called the Icelanders. Its membership is said to number in the thousands and it's just one of several gangs or "confraternities" - with names like the KKK, Greenlanders and Vikings, that operate in the city and further afield.


In the last elections in 2003 these gangs were hired and armed by politicians to fight their political opponents, steal ballot boxes, and generally rig the vote. As one local resident said: "it was less of an election, more of a low-intensity armed struggle." In Nigeria and particularly in the Delta, political office means access to the huge oil revenues - so the stakes are high.




After the elections, the politicians' promises of jobs for gang members often failed to materialise. But the gangs had been given weapons, and had grown stronger. Over the years, some moved into the creeks of the Delta. Some factionalised. Some stayed put in the cities, where the police say they are involved in criminal rackets. At times they all fought each other.

On the whole, they remained largely separate from the more political militant groups, like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta which emerged in 2006, though sometimes the line has blurred.


Nigeria goes to the polls again in April. Everyone says the politicians are looking for armed support, except for the politicians themselves. In this climate, the gangs seem to operate with impunity.


'Conniving and colluding'

In Port Harcourt, kidnappings of foreigners have reached new levels. Most are carried out by armed gangs demanding a ransom - and it's becoming a booming business.




The military says that ultimately the solution to the violence is political - and says both it and the federal government are trying to have dialogue with all sides to calm the situation.


But clearly the political will to find a solution is compromised by politicians' links to the gangs. Brig Gen Samuel Salihu , a senior commander in the Delta told me: "There are some in the political elite who are criminalising, conniving and colluding. It makes my job difficult."


Patrick Naagbanton, a researcher and activist in the Delta is more forthright: "With these elections, with a lot of guns around I am very concerned. These gangs are here, they will be hired by desperate politicians who want to win elections at all costs. These politicians are not democrats, they are just interested in getting political power so they have access to loot more state funds."


We drove to a township on the edge of the city. It was late, but still hot and humid. We drank beer as we waited to meet Soboma George.


Then we were led through a maze of run-down shacks, and dusty narrow alleys to a patch of waste ground near a creek. Soboma George bounded out of the darkness to meet us. Wearing a sleeveless black T-shirt emblazoned with the Statue of Liberty and a woolly hat, he looked young and fit.


Tables turned

He sat on a unfinished brick wall, occasionally slapping a mosquito as cicadas chirped all around. He refused to talk about the gang , the Icelanders, saying he was simply a guy who was well-liked, and that as a Niger Delta man he did of course support those fighting for local resource control and development for the Delta.


He said he expected the politicians to try to use the armed gangs in the elections as they had in the past. But, he said, this time the gangs had become powerful enough to use the politicians. I asked him if he thought the violence would be as bad as 2003.


"Bloodier," he said, "if the person we want is not the right person there. This time around it's we who will say this person is good, this person can work."





He said they wanted someone who would actually address the widespread poverty and unemployment. "If you feed a lion he won't bite, if you don't feed a lion, the lion will be hungry and he will be angry. "


The more political militants traditionally have their strongholds among the forested creeks and waterways, which weave through the delta, an area about the size of Scotland. Terrain where the military is ill-equipped to operate. Local activists say the sophisticated, billion-dollar business of smuggling crude oil, known as bunkering, provides many militants with money to buy more powerful weapons.


Now, they say they want to extend their influence into the cities. Hence, the need to recruit a city-based commander like Soboma.


The last election in Nigeria accelerated the development of armed gangs in the Delta. The groups moved one stage further away from control. Many are now wondering what will happen when the armed class of 2007 finally graduates.

Abraxas
Feb 18, 2007, 09:27 AM
http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/nol/shared/img/printer_friendly/news_logo.gif
The growing power of Nigeria's gangs.

Source: BBC News (Africa) (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/6370929.stm)

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42583000/jpg/_42583151_militia_story_ap.jpgAs Nigeria prepares for April's general elections, fears are growing about the rise of armed gangs in the oil-rich Niger Delta. The BBC's Alex Last braves the slums of Port Harcourt to find powerful militant commander Soboma George, who tells him that they, not the politicians, will be calling the shots.

Around eight o'clock at night, a car with blacked out windows pulled up near the hotel - our escort to meet Soboma George, once described as one of the most powerful gang leaders in the rundown oil city of Port Harcourt.

A city where kidnappings, crime and militancy have spiralled out of control - where foreign oil workers live almost under siege in their compounds. A city in the heart of the Niger Delta, where decades of poverty and neglect have left anger and violence.

Soboma George hit the headlines recently when some 60 militants wielding heavy machine guns marched through the centre of the city, fought off the police and the army, and retrieved him from a police station.

The main militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which is demanding greater local control of the oil wealth, claimed responsibility, announcing for the first time that Soboma was one of its senior commanders in the city.

He had been detained for a traffic violation, the police simply didn't recognise him. One officer said privately that, if they had, they wouldn't have dared to hold him.
Broken promises

Police say Soboma George first became known not as a political militant, but as a powerful member of an all-male gang called the Icelanders. Its membership is said to number in the thousands and it's just one of several gangs or "confraternities" - with names like the KKK, Greenlanders and Vikings, that operate in the city and further afield.

In the last elections in 2003 these gangs were hired and armed by politicians to fight their political opponents, steal ballot boxes, and generally rig the vote. As one local resident said: "it was less of an election, more of a low-intensity armed struggle." In Nigeria and particularly in the Delta, political office means access to the huge oil revenues - so the stakes are high.

After the elections, the politicians' promises of jobs for gang members often failed to materialise. But the gangs had been given weapons, and had grown stronger. Over the years, some moved into the creeks of the Delta. Some factionalised. Some stayed put in the cities, where the police say they are involved in criminal rackets. At times they all fought each other.

On the whole, they remained largely separate from the more political militant groups, like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta which emerged in 2006, though sometimes the line has blurred.

Nigeria goes to the polls again in April. Everyone says the politicians are looking for armed support, except for the politicians themselves. In this climate, the gangs seem to operate with impunity.

'Conniving and colluding'

In Port Harcourt, kidnappings of foreigners have reached new levels. Most are carried out by armed gangs demanding a ransom - and it's becoming a booming business.

The military says that ultimately the solution to the violence is political - and says both it and the federal government are trying to have dialogue with all sides to calm the situation.

But clearly the political will to find a solution is compromised by politicians' links to the gangs. Brig Gen Samuel Salihu , a senior commander in the Delta told me: "There are some in the political elite who are criminalising, conniving and colluding. It makes my job difficult."

Patrick Naagbanton, a researcher and activist in the Delta is more forthright: "With these elections, with a lot of guns around I am very concerned. These gangs are here, they will be hired by desperate politicians who want to win elections at all costs. These politicians are not democrats, they are just interested in getting political power so they have access to loot more state funds."

We drove to a township on the edge of the city. It was late, but still hot and humid. We drank beer as we waited to meet Soboma George.

Then we were led through a maze of run-down shacks, and dusty narrow alleys to a patch of waste ground near a creek. Soboma George bounded out of the darkness to meet us. Wearing a sleeveless black T-shirt emblazoned with the Statue of Liberty and a woolly hat, he looked young and fit.
Tables turned

He sat on a unfinished brick wall, occasionally slapping a mosquito as cicadas chirped all around. He refused to talk about the gang , the Icelanders, saying he was simply a guy who was well-liked, and that as a Niger Delta man he did of course support those fighting for local resource control and development for the Delta.

He said he expected the politicians to try to use the armed gangs in the elections as they had in the past. But, he said, this time the gangs had become powerful enough to use the politicians. I asked him if he thought the violence would be as bad as 2003.

"Bloodier," he said, "if the person we want is not the right person there. This time around it's we who will say this person is good, this person can work."

He said they wanted someone who would actually address the widespread poverty and unemployment. "If you feed a lion he won't bite, if you don't feed a lion, the lion will be hungry and he will be angry. "

The more political militants traditionally have their strongholds among the forested creeks and waterways, which weave through the delta, an area about the size of Scotland. Terrain where the military is ill-equipped to operate. Local activists say the sophisticated, billion-dollar business of smuggling crude oil, known as bunkering, provides many militants with money to buy more powerful weapons.

Now, they say they want to extend their influence into the cities. Hence, the need to recruit a city-based commander like Soboma.

The last election in Nigeria accelerated the development of armed gangs in the Delta. The groups moved one stage further away from control. Many are now wondering what will happen when the armed class of 2007 finally graduates.

LeCarre
Feb 18, 2007, 07:39 PM
NIGER DELTA YOUTH FORCES DECLARE FOR UTOMI


"It is Prof. Pat Utomi who persuaded us to lay down arms. If he is not allowed to be president of Nigeria, we will make him president of the Niger Delta Republic ." Adie John of the South South Liberation Movement (SSLM) has said.

Adie John stated this at a press briefing in Lagos recently with other South South, Niger Delta, and Igbo activist groups in attendance. The groups present include the SSLM, the Niger Delta Youth Liberation Movement (NDYLM), the Igbo Youth Congress (IYC), the Ijaw Mandatory Council (IMC), and the Niger Delta Frontier Force.

Their mission to Lagos, according to Tamunokro Obriki, president of the NDLYM is to make public their joint endorsement of ADC presidential candidate Prof. Pat Utomi, because "after series of serious consultations with other youth organizations, leaders of thought, and traditional institutions in the region, ...consensually adopted Prof. Pat Utomi as our presidential candidate for 2007".

Adie John, during his speech said that he is in Lagos as a representative of the delegation to declare the South South youth support for Prof. Utomi. He said that "the nation be assured that we are not fighting at the moment because Prof. Utomi spoke to us and persuaded us to lay down arms, but we will not hesitate to return to the creeks and resort to violence if not made president".

Continuing, Adie said "we know Prof. Utomi will win in the South South, so, we will use the means we have to police elections and make sure their is no rigging in the South South but if Prof. Utomi is is not allowed to become president of Nigeria, we will make him president of the Niger Delta Republic".

Explaining why they are supporting the political economist, Adie said "South South youths have decided that nobody but one of their own will become Nigeria's president, otherwise, we will declare the Niger Delta Republic". Speaking later, Tamunokro Obriki the NDLYM president said "Niger Delta youths are tired Nigeria's leaders playing with their lives". He said "we know fully well that the cause of problems is the unqualified and self-centered leadership that has been forcefully placed to govern us".

Calling for the release of Asari Dokubo, the confined Niger Delta activist, Tamunokro said "even though Prof. Utomi asks for a ceasefire in the Niger Delta, we will not entertain any dialogue unless Alhaji Asari Dokubo is unconditionally released".

Speaking further on their endorsement of Prof. Utomi, he said "from all our findings, we believe we find a generational change in Prof. Pat Utomi because he is a technocrat, a financial guru that can take Nigeria to the next level, and above all, a president we can all trust".

Comrade Blessing Okorohua of the IYC also called for the release of Asari Dokubo and Chief Ralph Uwazurike the detained MASSOB leader, describing Dokubo's detention as "a grave injustice to place Alhaji in an underground cell because the man is not a criminal".
In response to the delegation, ADC presidential candidate, Prof. Utomi who was present at the occasion said that the issues of the Niger Delta "constitute an open sore on Nigeria's conscience and has become both a source of global embarrassment and threat to national income".

Utomi articulated his standpoint of peace in all circumstances and said that he is persuaded that justice can be found for the Niger Delta people with a political solution of the problems there and the region becoming a part of a new Nigeria of harmonious and prosperous co-existence of its peoples. He also called for the release of Dokubo and said that "a military or even police solution to the Niger Delta issue is not a wise one to contemplate, a political solution is quite feasible".

Prof Utomi outlined his plans for the Niger Delta region which involved massive job creation through vast infrastructure projects, the creation of a Niger Delta Industrial Park enclave for heavy manufacturing, a revolution in education investment in the area, ecological environment reclamation, SME start-ups for young entrepreneurs, and a proposition to give some marginal fields to cooperatives set up by oil producing communities.

He expressed conviction that "from my interaction with Niger Delta youths, they are willing to abandon armed struggle" but that "we must provide a political alternative so justice can finally come to the Niger Delta".

Kila Odunayo
Media Director - Pat Utomi 2007 Campaign

Abraxas
Feb 19, 2007, 10:39 AM
Hi, folks!

It is now appearing like the Niger Delta will be AN issue, if not THE ISSUE in the coming presidential and State governorship elections!

Hurray!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Son of the Delta
Feb 19, 2007, 11:53 AM
Hear what some professors said should be done


Energy security: American dons criticise militarisation of Gulf of Guinea
By Clara Nwachukwu
Published: Monday, 19 Feb 2007

Three American professors have criticised the measures the United States is adopting in the quest to meet her energy demand through the militarisation of the Gulf of Guinea.

In a new International Policy Report published by the Centre for International Policy in Washington, DC and obtained by our correspondent on Sunday, the professors, who analysed the motives, actions and potential consequences of this strategy, argued that the militarisation policies were not only short-sighted, but also deeply flawed.

Professors Paul M. Lubeck, Ronnie D. Lipschutz and Michael J. Watts, all from the University of California, described the move as "a risky strategy."

They disclosed that the $500m "Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative", which would tie African militaries to American policies, was in the works.

They observed that plans by the US to quietly institutionalise a West African-based oil supply strategy, closely focused on an "Oil Triangle," centered around the Gulf of Guinea, began over 15 years ago.

According to them, "The Department of Defence has decided to establish an African military command, AFRICOM, to spearhead an oil and terrorism policy, which will oversee the deployment of US forces in the area and supervise the distribution of money, material and military training to regional militaries and proxies."

They noted that the strategy to arm and train the militaries of oil-producing West African countries was part of an expansion of the Global War on Terror, following a deepening crisis in the Middle East and tightening petroleum markets, which has made Nigeria the supplier of about 10 per cent of America's oil needs.

They argued that given the internal security problems often found in resource-rich countries, as evidenced in Nigeria's Niger Delta crises, it was much more likely that the newly-acquired skills and equipment would be directed against domestic opponents than global terrorists.

They added that the militarisation of the oil-rich regions might well undermine America's energy security and breed growing resentment and violence against US economic and strategic interests.

Although the African Oil Triangle seeks to reduce America's dependence on Middle East petroleum, they argued that the move might lead to the replacement of one set of insecurities with another. They said, "The Niger Delta, the source of the majority of the region's oil and gas production, is a site of on-going violent contestation between local ethnic groups, oil corporations and the Nigerian government, resulting in repeated reductions and shutdowns in oil flows."

Consequently, they added, "Militarisation will exacerbate an already tense situation in Nigeria, having nothing to do with terrorism, which has the potential to destabilise the rest of the region.'

Rather than militarising the region, the policy experts urged the US Government to make a concerted effort to support Nigeria's democratic forces and its legislature's oversight of the Presidency, as the only means to ensure American and Nigerian security interests and quell wholesale theft of oil revenues as well as the insurgencies, criminality and social banditry.

denker
Feb 19, 2007, 12:03 PM
Hi, folks!

It is now appearing like the Niger Delta will be AN issue, if not THE ISSUE in the coming presidential and State governorship elections!

Hurray!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

hi, Abraxas

of course is that the crux and nexus of the coming elections - a big issue!
anything out of the framework can't be taken on the lighter shoulder...

in a normal circumstance, nigerdelta (riverine regions) would be like dubai and in my opinion nothing speaks against it.:mad: :mad: :mad:

Abraxas
Feb 19, 2007, 05:09 PM
Three Croatian oil workers kidnapped
Sources:(1) oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1494); (2) CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/africa/02/19/nigeria.kidnap.ap/index.html)

Gunmen kidnapped three Croatian oil workers from a bar in <st1:country-region w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:country-region>'s oil <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceType w:st="on">city</st1:PlaceType> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">Port</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> Harcourt, their employer said on Monday.

The abduction in the city's Iwofe district on Sunday night was the latest in a series of attacks against foreign workers in the world's eighth largest oil exporter which have prompted thousands of expatriates to leave and cut output by a fifth.

"They are crew members in our vessels. They were taken at 10 last night and we haven't heard anything since then," said David Ross, managing director of Hydrodrive <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>, an offshore oil services company.<o:p></o:p>

Oil industry sources said the three Croatian men were drinking in a bar outside their base when gunmen stormed the area and took them away.

It raised to nine the number of foreigners held by different armed groups in the <st1:country-region w:st="on">Niger</st1:country-region> Delta, <st1:place w:st="on">Africa</st1:place>'s top oil-producing region.

An American engineer and his Nigerian driver were released by their captors on Saturday.

Kidnapping for ransom has become an almost weekly occurrence in <st1:City w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:City> since the beginning of the year, and analysts link the upsurge in violence to tension surrounding <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>'s forthcoming elections.

Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999 after three decades of almost continuous army dictatorship, but thuggery is still part of politics.

Elections in April should mark the first time one elected president hands over to another, and tensions are running high amid feuding in the ruling party.

Politicians routinely arm gangs to lay claim to territory and protect votes, and these groups often engage in freelance violence of their own.

Militancy is also on the rise in the delta, a vast wetlands region where poor villages play reluctant host to multibillion-dollar oil platforms, and militant attacks have cut Nigerian oil output by a fifth since last February.

Abraxas
Feb 21, 2007, 07:21 AM
Militants Blame <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Niger</st1:place></st1:country-region> Delta Governors

By Jimitota Onoyume[/URL]
[URL="http://odili.net/news/source/2007/feb/20/321.html"]The Vanguard on-line; Tuesday, February 20, 2007 (http://odili.net/news/source/2007/feb/20/321.html)

<st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">PORT HARCOURT</st1:City></st1:place>— MILITANTS in the Niger Delta have lashed at governors in the region for failing to provide what they dubbed credible political leadership to the area.

In a statement to the Vanguard yesterday, signed by Cynthia Whyte the militants who spoke under the aegis of Joint Revolutionary Council regretted a media statement on Asari Dokubo which was credited to Governor James Ibori of <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Delta</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place>.

Continuing, they said some of the governors were already being haunted by their failures in the region. And in a bid to escape arrest had chosen the path of blind loyalty. It reads in part, “we wish to condemn in all fullness, the recent statements attributed to the Governor of Delta State, James Ibori over the continued detention and unfair trial of Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, our esteemed and patriotic leader and flag-bearer of the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle.<o:p></o:p>

Ibori’s ranting is symbolic of Governors of the Niger Delta who have dubiously and satanically defrauded their various states of billions of naira without anything to show for it. It also goes a long way to show to all people of good sense, just how far the fear of EFCC has been sown into their minds.

“From fraudulent road construction contracts to vain water projects and gravely distorted gas turbine projects, these governors have squandered billions of naira and dollars that they cannot account for. To avoid justice, these governors believe that dumb allegiance to <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Abuja</st1:place></st1:City> and stoogy loyalty will save them. They have failed.

“For too long now, majority of the governors of the key Niger Delta states have subjected the real governance of their states to their lords and evil masters in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Abuja</st1:place></st1:City>. These masters have in turn provided them cover for their corrupt and inept administration. “The illegal and criminal detention of Alhaji Dokubo-Asari remains the gravest mistake made by the ruling PDP government. In only a little while, we shall call to question the integrity and capability of the PDP in all our communities. Let them make no mistake."

Abraxas
Feb 21, 2007, 12:56 PM
MEND Not Meeting With Obasanjo. Say “War Is Inevitable!”
By Sunny Ofili
Date: Wednesday, 21 February 2007.
Source: Times of Nigeria (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1854&PHPSESSID=fb8dc079b401fcf8f73f4c66cb2af9cd)

Nigerian rebel group, Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) today said that war with the Nigerian government is “inevitable” and was preparing for such “eventuality.” The spokesman for the movement, Jomo Gbomo, disclosed this while denying a report in one of Nigeria’s daily newspapers, “Nigerian Tribune” that it planned to meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Gbomo said the rebel group has no plan to meet with President Olusegun Obasanjo or any member of his government.

“We wish to refute claims made in the Nigerian Tribune edition of February 21, 2007 regarding a proposed meeting between the leadership of MEND and General Obasanjo.”


The Nigerian Tribune had claimed in its report published today that a top government official had revealed to it that President Obasanjo has agreed to hold dialogue with the leadership of the MEND.

MEND is the main rebel movement in the Niger Delta and it is an amalgam smaller armed militias that operate in the region. The newspaper said a top government official said that "President Obasanjo has agreed to grant audience to the MEND officials, particularly their leadership. His Excellency is only waiting for a convenient date to meet with them."

Gbomo dismissed the notion of a dialogue with the government.

“It is inconceivable. What we want they cannot give us without a full scale war. We are ready for this and the nation will be taken by storm.”

Gbomo denied any relationship with Edwin Clark who was mentioned in the report as leading the MEND delegation. “The leadership of MEND is unknown to Chief E.K. (Edwin) Clarkand has never held discussions with Chief Clark, nor delegated anyone to act on its behalf in doing so.”

“Obviously, this is another attempt by the Nigerian government and frauds in the Niger Delta to mislead the world into believing the solution to the unrest in the delta is within sight. MEND does not have a relationship with Chief Clark and does not answer to his likes.”

“We understand we can never achieve a just peace without a full scale war against the Nigerian government and Oil Company. We are in preparations for this eventuality and do not contemplate any dialogue based on the Nigerian governments idea of justice, ever!” Gbomo said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 February 2007 )

Son of the Delta
Feb 22, 2007, 12:20 PM
Atiku&#180;s statment had some atom of truth even though he may have had a different agenda.



Arming the Military

The recent dust raised by Vice President Atiku Abubakar over the federal government’s procurement of arms for the military to crush militants in the Niger Delta has an element of truth after all, but it is a project which dates back to 2004

By OLU OJEWALE
rifles
Assault Rifles

For supporters of President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Vice President Atiku Abubakar is now a drowning man clutching at every straw around to stay afloat. In the last few months, he has accused the Obasanjo government of a number of things bordering on corruption and abuse of office. On January 30, during the commissioning of his campaign office in Abuja, Abubakar jolted the nation, especially the military, and unsettled many people in the Niger Delta when he accused the President of spending $2 billion on arms to crush the insurgents in the area. He alleged: “Just recently, the President approved $2 billion to buy weapons to suppress the people of Niger Delta. Two billion US dollars, not to develop the Niger Delta, but to suppress them”. This was swiftly denied by government, who accused Abubakar of wanting to raise the political temperature against the government and cause confusion in the region. Uba Sani, special assistant to the President on public affairs, while addressing journalists in Abuja, said it was not so. Sani accused Abubakar of plotting to destabilise the country using the Niger Delta as a launch pad.
With that vehement denial, it would appear that, indeed, the Vice President was unnecessarily heating up the polity. But TELL can now authoritatively say that Abubakar was not talking gibberish after all. There is a modicum of truth in what he said about arming the security forces in the Niger Delta area, even when it is apparent that Abubakar is playing politics with the issue. Sources close to Aso Rock, the seat of power, say that the decision to fortify security in the Niger Delta was given serious thought about three years ago. In fact, the President was said to have given a directive in June 2004 on the need to provide logistic support for security in the Niger Delta. Shortly after, the government seemed to have developed cold feet because all the laudable measures that would have enhanced security in the area were put in abeyance. But as the security of oil workers and residents in the oil-rich region worsened and the crisis in the area appeared to be spinning out of control towards the end of last year, Obasanjo reportedly held crucial meetings with his service chiefs and other stakeholders. At a meeting held sometime between September and October, it was decided that certain military personnel be trained and some military items be procured for “immediate-term operations”. Service chiefs were to submit lists of their requirements to the President via Abdullahi Mohammed, retired major-general and chief of staff to the President.
The joint requirements from the Army, Navy and Police were pegged at about $3 billion and another N22 billion for logistic support for security operations in the Niger Delta. Mohammed, apparently acting on the President’s directive, was said to have forwarded the bills to Funsho Kupolokun, group managing director, GMD, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to ascertain how much he could provide for the project. Kupolokun reportedly gave a reply in October, indicating that he could make $750 million available within the corporation’s limited resources. Shortly after, a meeting was held to determine how to harmonise and prioritise those needs. Although the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, was not part of the project, they found it necessary to incorporate the force and make provision for its needs for the assignment. Thus, the $750 million was shared as follows: Army, $220 million; NAF, $185 million; Navy, $160 million; and Police, $180 million.
Even then, Kupolokun was said to have been concerned that he could be in trouble for releasing funds arbitrarily. So, in a meeting with the chief of defence staff, CDS, about funding of logistic security support for the Niger Delta, the GMD allegedly asked for the Federal Executive Council, FEC, and Due Process Unit’s approvals for all the transactions, but the CDS was said to have advised against it. TELL learnt that the CDS said that in view of the urgency, propriety, nature and the confidentiality which was attached to the project, the procurement of such approvals would further delay the expeditious attention needed to combat the security challenges in the Niger Delta. The CDS must have based his position on the assertion of Obasanjo, who, in his address to the service chiefs, was quoted as saying that because of the importance of the project, he was “requesting and also authorising the NNPC to fund” it.
Based on early approvals, the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit, BMPIU, endorsed the procurement of some newly upgraded MKII Suncraft Scorpion Fast Patrol Craft for the Nigerian Army in December last year. The contract, given to Singapore Technologies Kinetics, was valued at a unit price of $976,800. About $50 million was spent on the craft. The company similarly received a contract for the supply of arms and ammunition of about $10 million. It also supplied 193 Cobra Armoured Personnel Carriers, APC, and AK-47 rifles worth more than $150 million. Late January this year, Singapore Technologies Kinetics, which supplied the APC, arms and armaments, was paid in three instalments. All the monies were paid and converted into US dollars through a Zenith Bank branch in Abuja.
Another contract for the supply of some Scorpion Fast Patrol Craft for the Nigerian Army was given to Suncraft International Incorporated, a Switzerland-based company. The firm received about $12 million, being 25 per cent of the total cost in accordance with the term of agreement, January 24, and another payment of about $36 million the following day, January 25, through a Zenith Bank branch in Abuja.
It appears that everything does not depend on procurement of arms and ammunition. The magazine learnt that there were provisions for the establishment of a media centre, community relations campaign and media campaign, as well as rapid operational centres. Budgeted for media and community relations was N44,523,000. The bill for 200 men who would undergo training on rapid response with their equipment was to cost government about $5.5 million, while over N260 million was earmarked for the establishment of operational centres in Abuja, Warri and Port Harcourt. Early in January this year, NNPC paid close to N180 million, which represented 25 per cent of the total cost, for the training and equipment of the 200 military personnel.
In the same vein, provisions were made to re-install some Nigerian Navy ships. According to sources, Emmey Ventures Limited, which was given the contract for the reinstallation of fixed firing system aboard Naval ships about two years ago, was paid N112,990,786.50, representing 95 per cent of the cost of the contract. The money was paid by the NNPC in December last year so that work could start in earnest. And also in December, the corporation was similarly advised to make available N2 billion to pay the Navy’s 23 creditors and for the supply of POL products to the force. The force had, as far back as December 2004, through Rear Admiral Samuel Afolayan, then chief of naval staff, requested for a total sum of N4 billion to pay its 23 creditors and procure POL products of N90 million. He also requested for about C3 million to buy spare parts for its equipment. But no action appears to have been taken until recently, when the security situation in the Niger Delta was on the downward trend.
The needs of both the Police and NAF were also funded from the NNPC’s special provision to arm their officers and men. Lieutenant General Owoye Andrew Azazi, chief of army staff, COAS, did not dispute the fact that the military was re-equipped recently. But he insisted that nothing was done outside the budget allocation. “At the end of every year, the military prepares a budget and we ask government for funds to take care of the budget. Like everybody knows, nobody gets what (he demands). We have not done anything outside that budget,” Azazi said. Apparently concerned about the allegation that re-arming the military was meant to crush the people of the Niger Delta, the army boss, an Ijaw from Bayelsa State, the epicentre of the Niger Delta, was in the area, February 2, and addressed some of the militants, where the issue of the $2 billion armament was raised. Azazi assured them that the military operation in the Niger Delta was for their own benefit. He repeated that he was not aware that arms and armament of $2 billion were purchased by the military in recent times. “Go and ask the Vice President where he got his facts. I make my requirements known to the government. The Vice President of the country made a statement but I am not in a position to say much on that... We have a responsibility to kit our soldiers. If they need mobility and we take care of that, does it mean we are buying vehicles to crush militants? It could be so that if there are disturbances, they can move quicker and more easily. Or do you want us to ask local government chairmen or other people to give them vehicles?” Azazi said. He added that the government was working fervently on finding amicable solutions to issues concerning the area. Asked if the military had spent up to $2 billion in recent times to buy weapons, the COAS insisted that nothing of such had taken place. “Two billion dollars is a lot of money. I am in the army but I do not know whether anybody gave us $2 billion to buy that level of arms and ammunition,” he said (See box).
Speaking in the same vein, Uba Sani told TELL in Abuja last week that Abubakar was simply playing politics with the Niger Delta issue. “That kind of statement is made out of mischief. It is more of a deliberate attempt to misinform the people, generate undue anxiety, and cause chaos and anarchy in the Niger Delta. It is very unfortunate that some privileged persons in this country can choose to endanger innocent people, the economy and our corporate existence in this way; so it must be condemned without reservations by all citizens. There is no logical reason why anyone should unduly politicise security issues in the Niger Delta,” Sani said. He stated that the President was more concerned about the security of life and property in the area than allow it to be politicised.
He explained further that although the federal government had been spending on provision of logistic security for the Niger Delta, it would be very difficult to quantify such expenditures in Naira and Kobo. “The $2 billion allegation generated by a desperate politician is a non-issue but one should be worried when a very highly privileged citizen, who is motivated by narrow political ambition, now descends so low to the point of endangering national security by exposing national security documents to the public and foreign governments,” he said.
Garba Shehu, head of Abubakar campaign media team, said if the Vice President was not convinced about the veracity of his information, he would not have made it. Shehu said he knew that Abubakar was not a frivolous person and given his latitude of wide reach and information available to him, he could not have lied. “We believe that no amount of blackmail will remove the Niger Delta issue from the menu of campaign issues. Nigerians are entitled to be told that things can be done differently. Do they want ‘fire for fire’ or do they want equitable solutions involving all the stakeholders?” he said.
Despite the provocations by the militants in the last one year, the federal government has handled the issue of the Niger Delta with restraint. Whether that could be attributed to the weakness of the military is another thing. But what is apparent is the fact that the government does not want the Niger Delta, which is the mainstay of the nation’s economy, to be in flames.
Whatever the argument on the issue of the Niger Delta, some personnel in the military said it has somewhat exposed Nigeria’s military strength and level of its preparedness in event of war. Some military personnel, who spoke with TELL, argued that starving the forces of funds led to the deterioration of the situation in the Niger Delta, which now led to a sort of panic rearmament. For instance, Afolayan was said to have sent in requests in 2004 to pay contractors so that they could work on Nigerian Navy ships, but the memo was treated with levity.
Other forces are not in anyway better. TELL learnt that the overhead of the Army in the 2007 budget is N4.2 billion, while the capital budget is about N3.3 billion. In fact, it took the intervention of some legislators to push the allotment for the defence ministry from N117 billion to N122,314,507,407 for this year. The defence budget for last year was only N85,752,943,575.
Be that as it may, Abubakar’s accusation and the Presidency’s denial, some people say, have only succeeded in putting the issue of the Niger Delta on another pedestal. Whether it would be for the good or escalation of violence in the area is now anybody’s guess.
Additional reports by DAYO AIYETAN
and JIDE BABALOLA

NewNaijaMan
Feb 22, 2007, 01:48 PM
Which ones MEND dey? Sometime I don't know weda to believe Jomo Gbomo.

One minute we have ceased negotiations. The next minute person don escape.

If MEND is serious they need to get focused and take real action and halt all the threats - for these threats now seem very empty.

===


MEND Say Lebanese Hostage Escaped!
BY Sunny Ofili
DATE : Thursday, 22 February 2007
Niger Delta rebel group said a Lebanese hostage, held along with two other Italians escaped from its custody yesterday aided by Bayelsa State government and guards responsible for his safety.

"We confirm the escape of the Lebanese hostage Imad Saliba from our custody, yesterday February 21, 2007" said Jomo Gbomo, spokesman for the rebels.

"This escape plan our investigations reveal was hatched by the bayelsa state government and partly funded by Agip. Saliba was taken from the camp to a nearby boat stationed by the Bayelsa state government."

"Unknown to the Bayelsa state government, we were in talks with Senator David Brigidi and the Lebanese was to have been released on Saturday, February 24, 2007. Security around him was therefore almost non-existent."

"Guards who collaborated with the Bayelsa state government and Agip in this escape were incapable of effecting the release of the Italians as the Italians, are under careful watch. Our investigations reveal the guards were paid as much as 200m naira to effect the escape of all three hostages, promised contracts in Bayelsa state and much more by Agip."

"Our investigations into this security breach have been concluded, and all participants in this drama will pay a price according to individual level of involvement. Agip and the Bayelsa state government will pay a hefty price for this slight."

"We have halted all talks concerning the release of the Italians and will hold them without question, until May, 2007 at the least."

"Our response to Agip and the oil industry will follow shortly." The statement concluded.

In an interview with The Times of Nigeria last week, Gbomo had indicated that MEND planned to release the Lebanese hostage because he "was no longer valuable to our cause and his government probably are oblivious of his existence."

Neonaijansista
Feb 22, 2007, 04:21 PM
The state of the Niger Delta today exposes the fallacy at the heart of the Nigerian state. You would expect the mainstay of our economy, petroleum, to be guarded jealously by our leadership. Wrong. Decades of neglect, apathy and barefaced gluttony have led us to where we are now. Why should the people of the Delta pay such a high price for our collective patrimony? It breaks my heart to see so many children who have never had electricity, living in the shadow of gas flared by the oil companies, who by the way, are the richest and most powerful corporations in the world today.

As some others have said, Niger Delta and the energy crisis should be the burning issue for the 2007 elections. What we get instead is the OBJ-Atiku debacle and a grand exercise in navel-gazing by the amoral political elite. Its so depressing and very tragic that we have a political class that does not understand the basic laws of capitalism. At the moment, in spite of the false bravado of the security forces, we are exporting only 40% of our normal crude oil output, with 100% importation of refined fuel. The main pipeline between the North and South is virtually redundant, and all three refineries are operating at below 50% capacity. For a nation that is so vulnerable to attacks on the petroleum infrastructure, it would seem that our politicians do not have the faintest understanding of our structural weaknesses. They are too occupied with the politics of distributive patronage to see the limitations of their greed, and the decay in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta issue is not a 'minority' issue, it is not even an 'Ijaw' issue. I am not from the region but I completely empathise with the young men and women who have given up on the Nigerian state. We know that the US is intent on militarising the region, and that these weapons will be used against the agitators in the Delta, but there is a last minute chance that an apocalyptic outcome will be averted. In my opinion, there are two things that will force a debate on landed property laws and fiscal derivation, either the emergence of a new political leadership in the upcoming elections which recognises the imperatives of a constitutional settlement (not very likely), or an emphatic and crippling attack by MEND and other organisations on the petroleum infrastructure (very likely).

I would like to be proven wrong regarding my pessimism that the political class will recognise the urgency in a just and equitable resolution of the Niger Delta crisis. I was born after the civil war but both parents were caught up in the conflict. Have we not learnt from history? Sad. The only reason why MEND and other groups have not brought the Nigerian state to its knees is because they are still in the embryonic stage, and lack the coherence and sophistication that we see in other resource agitators elsewhere in Africa and Latin America. For MEND, what stands between 'the present' and total conflict is a charismatic leader. Ask the CIA about Osama bin Laden and what he did for al-Qaeda.

Abraxas
Feb 23, 2007, 06:14 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/breaking_news2.jpg Italy calls to evacuate workers in Niger Delta

(Reuters) - The Italian foreign ministry recommended on Friday that all Italians working in Africa's Niger delta should evacuate.

Earlier on Friday two Italians working for construction company Impregilo , were kidnapped in Nigeria near the city of Port Harcourt, the latest in a series of kidnaps of foreigners.

Gunmen Kidnap Two Italians

Unidentified gunmen have opened fire Friday on two Lebanese workers in southern Nigeria's Rivers State, killing one.

"The men were shot early this morning. We believe they were on their way to the airport when they were attacked. One died immediately while the other was seriously injured," a senior police officer told AFP, refusing to be identified.

Meanwhile, two Italian technicians were abducted Friday during a shootout near Port Harcourt, Nigeria's oil capital and the main city in Rivers State, Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Franco Danieli said.

Lucio Moro and Luciano Passarin, who work for the construction firm Impregilo, were kidnapped after the clash some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city in the oil-rich Niger Delta, Danieli said, quoted by the ANSA news agency.

A spokeswoman for Rivers state police confirmed the incident.

"The Italians were kidnapped this morning in Ogoniland. We still don't have the details," Ireju Barasua told AFP.

Ogoniland is a troubled area in the Niger delta and home to late environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa who was executed by the military in 1995 over a trumped up murder charge.

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell was forced by community unrest to quit Ogoniland in 1993 and has yet to return to the place.

The attacks on Friday came a day after the oil region's most vocal armed group threatened to retaliate against Italian firm Agip and one state government in the Niger Delta over the release of a Lebanese oil worker which it claimed escaped from its custody.

An industry source said the Lebanese nationals who came under fire were employees of AUC, a construction firm in Port Harcourt, the epicentre of recent militant attacks in the region.

He said the men were attacked on Isiokpe road in Ikwerre Local Government Area, adding that the wounded Lebanese was in the hospital for treatment.

Lebanese embassy officials were not immediately available to comment on the incident.

Lebanese diplomatic sources in Abuja announced Wednesday that Imad Saliba, who was abducted more than two months ago, had been freed and was "safe and well" after undergoing a medical check-up.

But the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), who kidnapped Saliba and three Italian colleagues on December 7, said he escaped. "It was an escape hatched by (oil firm) Agip and the Bayelsa State government."

"Agip and the Bayelsa State government will pay a hefty price for this slight," the armed group threatened in an email to AFP.

Two of the Italians abducted with Saliba are still being held by MEND. The third was freed on January 18 because of health problems.

MEND has the highest profile among a number of groups operating in the Niger delta who are seeking to highlight alleged imbalances in the distribution of oil wealth in the region.

Since the beginning of this year, 57 foreigners have been kidnapped by separatist groups and armed gangs in southern Nigeria, almost as many as for the whole of 2006. Most of them have been released.

Around 40 Nigerian security personnel have also been killed in the past year, the latest was on Wednesday night when unknown gunmen shot two soldiers dead and wounded a third in the region.

A senior military officer told AFP the attackers escaped with the rifles of the soldiers. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, accounting for a daily output of 2.6 million barrels, currently loses around half a million barrels of crude to the unrest in the volatile region.

The Niger Delta, a swathe of swamps and creeks and the size of Scotland, is home to Nigeria's multi-billion-dollar oil and gas resources, but most people in the region live on less than one dollar per day.

The situation has fanned militant agitation in the region, resulting in an upsurge in violent attacks on oil firms and personnel and business interests in related sectors.

Abraxas
Feb 24, 2007, 09:46 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/oil%20money1.jpg ANALYSIS-Nigeria violence threatens big energy plans.
Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1516)

Rising violence against foreign workers in Nigeria has delayed investment in some energy mega-projects and is forcing multinationals to rethink their plans, executives and analysts said on Friday.

Militant attacks have already shut down a fifth of the OPEC member's oil and gas industry for a year and driven thousands of workers away from Africa's oil heartland in the Niger Delta.

As the crisis worsens, investors are asking more questions about the long-term prospects of new projects to drill for reserves, operate plants and ship oil and gas from Nigeria's restive tropical swamps to markets in the West.

"Some projects are slowing down tremendously," a top Western energy executive said, asking not to be named. "People are also reviewing the long-term viability of projects because of security, but nothing has gone to the wall yet."

Nigeria, the world's sixth largest oil exporter according to the U.S. government, has a slate of multi-billion dollar projects pending -- from giant oilfields located offshore in deep water to natural gas export plants in the delta itself.

Kevin Rosser, head of oil and gas consulting at security company Control Risks, said insecurity had already delayed investment decisions and construction plans in some cases.

"The longer the instability continues, the more long-term questions there are about viability of projects and security of supply," he added.

The closure of Shell's oil and gas production in the western delta after militant attacks last February has deprived Nigeria of about $10 billion in revenue so far.

This has been partially compensated by new offshore oilfields that have come on stream in the interim. While the big offshore oil projects have been largely immune to the crisis so far, several smaller schemes in the swamps led by Shell and Chevron have been delayed.

GAS PROJECTS VULNERABLE

Two natural gas export projects -- Brass LNG and OK LNG, together worth about $20 billion in investment -- are now approaching their final investment decisions and they are seen as most vulnerable to declining security.

Both plants are located in the swamps and were originally due to get their final green light from shareholders last year.

The $8 billion Brass LNG, a consortium of Eni , ConocoPhillips , Total and Nigeria's state company, is located in a conflict hotspot next to an oil export terminal where militants seized four foreigners in December. Two Italian hostages are still in captivity 11 weeks later.

A spokesman for the project declined to comment.

Contractors have not been allowed to visit the site for months because of security fears, and the shareholders have commissioned a comprehensive security review before going any further, sources close to the project said.

"The number one issue is security," one source close to the project said. "We cannot go to the site when our people are being held and there are constant threats against staff."

In the long term, there are also questions about the security of gas supply from the swamps and about protection by a poorly equipped and de-motivated Nigerian military of a planned 8 km-long loading jetty.

The $12 billion OK LNG -- a consortium of Chevron , Shell, BG and Nigeria's state company -- will be built in Ondo state, outside the core Niger Delta, but it will also source much of its gas from the high-risk delta swamps.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corp said this week that President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is due to step down in May, would lay a foundation stone on both projects next month.

But foreign investor sources said this would be a piece of political theatre with no bearing on the investment decision.

The security challenge comes on top of other risks to these projects, including an expected change of government in May, new tax laws on gas, government funding shortfalls and rising construction costs, investors said.

Abraxas
Mar 9, 2007, 07:26 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Beth.jpg Filipino Freed But Woman Still A Mystery

A Filipino engineer kidnapped in Nigeria has been released by his captors but a Filipina earlier reported to have been abducted had apparently left the African country and was now back in the country but has remained missing, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Nevertheless, the DFA said Friday that it considered both cases closed.

Instrumentation engineer Winston Helera, who was kidnapped February 6, was released Thursday, DFA undersecretary for migrant workers affairs Esteban Conejos said at a press conference.

"He is now in the clinic of his employer, Shell Petroleum Development Corp., for a physical checkup," Conejos said. "He is well and in good condition. He will be briefed by our Assistance to Nationals official and will soon be reunited with his family."

Helera was nabbed about a week after a cargo ship and its whole 24-man Filipino crew was seized. The seamen were freed late last month.

However, the case of Josiebeth Foroozan, a businesswoman married to an Iranian, is more complicated.

Conejos said Foroozan, who disappeared a day after Helera was seized, had not been kidnapped but had actually left Nigeria and has been in the Philippines for almost a month now.

"Her case is not a kidnapping case," Conejos said. "After 30 days of the alleged kidnapping, nobody has come forward to claim the kidnapping or make demands for her release. But now we have documentary evidence that she left Lagos to Frankfurt on the day of her disappearance and arrived in the Philippines on February 10 on board Lufthansa Flight 778."

The DFA official said that aside from the passenger manifest from Lufthansa, Foroozan's arrival in the country was confirmed by arrival records of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation.

Aside from her husband, Foroozan left a daughter and a son, both in their teens, in Nigeria.

However, Conjeos said Foroozan's family in the Philippines told him they have not heard from her.

"She is now a missing persons case. She is not abroad and she is not in distress -- the two conditions that make her case fall under our jurisdiction. As far as the department is concerned, the case is closed. We are turning over her case to the National Bureau of Investigation to establish her whereabouts and to find out what really happened," he said.

Conejos said the last communication on Foroozan's alleged kidnapping came from the Filipina herself.

"She texted her husband from her cell phone. That was the last heard of her and her alleged kidnapping," he said.

Helera's wife, mother, sister, brother, and two daughters, who also attended the press conference, thanked the department for his safe release.

Conejos said the Philippine government did not pay any ransom for Helera's release.

Asked if Helera's employer did, the DFA official said: "I am not in a position to respond to that question. But I can say that the employer does not deal directly with the kidnappers."

"The host government which has jurisdiction of the case takes full responsibility for the safe release of the hostages; it is involved in the actual negotiations and would know the terms and timing of the negotiations," he explained.

Asked if the current deployment ban to Nigeria would be lifted now that all kidnapping cases involving Filipinos have been resolved, Conejos said the DFA and the labor department, which will make the final decision on the deployment of workers to the African nation, would have to discuss the security situation.

Auspicious
Mar 9, 2007, 07:35 PM
The Don!

You did not include, along with the newsreport you share with us above, with your usual interesting 'cover note'. How far?

Auspicious.

omaks
Mar 9, 2007, 09:00 PM
Hi, folks!

For over one week or so now, MEND has been holding some 24 South Koreans, and their cargo ship that was hijacked from the Chanomi Creek in Warri South-West local government, as hostages, and yet, the Federal Government of Nigeria wants to delude itself, and at the same time, convince Nigerians and gullible foreigners that it is in full control of the security and safety of life and property in Nigeria, and that everything is OK.<o>

</o> But then, how can the Nigerian navy, air force, and army be so incompetent and impotent that a WHOLE cargo ship has been in the custody of anti-government insurgents for so long, and without any hint of effective resolution of the stand-off between MEND and the Nigerian armed forces?

Incidentally, Chanomi Creek, in Warri South-West local government, happens to be were the pipeline systems supplying Kaduna Refining & Petrochemicals Company (KRPC) and Warri Refining & Petrochemicals Company (WRPC) were sabotaged over six months ago, and have remained inoperable ever since, because of the insistence of MEND operatives to shut down those pipelines. Meanwhile, the so-called "restive youths", (or is it "militants"), in their so-called "rascality", according to OBJ, have continued to sabotage refining operations at KRPC and WRPC, and with the Nigerian armed forces NOT being able to counter their audacity: "So-so talk, and no action!"<o>

</o> Maybe the emperor has no clothes after all! Maybe the Nigerian armed forces are one massive 419 gambit on the nation's treasury. Who knows?<o>

</o> Muchas gracias.<o>
</o>
Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)



You are cordially invited to click here for some more information and interesting video clips>>> (http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0702/sights_n_sounds/index2.html)


This is a clear case of inability to take decisive action by the Nigerian leadership to resolve this enpasse. OBJ and his impotent cronies are fearful of the backlash an all out armed action will attract, but are also unable to guarantee the safety of life and property in this region according to the dictates of our epileptic constitution. Even the National Assembly is in deep coma with reference to this act of vandalism, terrorism and blackmail that is wantonly manifesting in this region. What will it take to sort out this undesirable situation in the Niger Delta?:mad:

Abraxas
Mar 11, 2007, 07:26 AM
http://www.thisdayonline.com/images/logo_thisday.gif

Ribadu: N/Delta Crisis May Escalate

<tt style="color: black;">From Juliana Taiwo in Abuja, 03.11.2007

</tt>Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu has warned that the situation in Niger Delta may degenerate to a war situation like in the case of Liberia, Sierria Leone and Somalia if the crisis is not checked.


Ribadu gave the warning at the pre-convocation lecture of the University of Abuja where he stressed that societies that have failed to ask and answer important questions have found themselves in history books as failed states.


"What is happening in Niger Delta is not being taken seriously and is very sad. It may actually end up being bigger little by little. If we are not careful chances are that the 140 million Nigerians may end up like a Liberia or a Sierria Leone or a Somalia.


"When we are trying to fight corruption a lot of people are saying it must be business as usual. If you touch them, you are touching democracy, if you touch them you are touching the rule of law. But they will never succeed Nigeria will never be a Congo."



The EFCC boss, while warning on the danger of ignoring the Niger Delta crisis gave the example of Mobutu Sese Seko who "severally raped his country of all its assets, he effectively under developed the country as most corrupt dictators do, and at the end he fled to Europe with about $3 billion after laying the basis for a civil war that has now cost his country of thousands and thousands of lives."


He added: "You cannot be gentle on corruption… the terminal effect could be the life of the nation itself. Indeed the most ruthless and corrosive solvent that the history of the world has known is called corruption".


Ribadu said the attack the Commission has been getting from the media is because the few corrupt elite owned 60 per cent of the media.


"The few corrupt elite, every public officer you see with interest in the media in both electronic and print media that have been attacking us control 60 per cent of the media," he added.

omaks
Mar 11, 2007, 01:33 PM
"The few corrupt elite, every public officer you see with interest in the media in both electronic and print media that have been attacking us control 60 per cent of the media,” he added.

A couple of days ago i watched the movie 'LORD OF WAR' by Nicolas Cage again, and suddenly i saw a semblance of what he said towards the end about the inability to prosecute and convict him of arms trade because the same people in government were those who engage his services to provide the impetus to supply these 'weapons of mass' distruction to the buyers. Alas, questions started to flood my brain: Where do the Niger/Delta insurgents get their sophisticated armoury from? Who are the sponsors of these incessant harrassments, kidnappings and terrorism being perpetrated in the Niger/Delta area? What are their motives? Why are those invested with providing safety and security to all in Nigeria non - chalant in dealing with this impunity? Where will all this hulabaloo end? And more importantly, how will this insurgency redress any inherent imbalances as claimed by these war mongers? Why are other geographic regions not taking any visible stand on this unending enpasse? I can only presume that the Government and its agencies are beneficiaries of this disruption to life and property in this region, and are not interested in resolving the enpasse!:mad:

Son of the Delta
Mar 11, 2007, 04:51 PM
I am not sure you understand the meaning of the phrase "War monger". I guess if you knew what it meant you would&#180;nt have used it in relationship to the Niger Delta.

Somebody cannot be oppressed and then resist it through the courts of the land for decades and then finally resort to self preservatory methods and be labeled a "War monger".

Somebody attacks you in the land of your fathers,steals from you in the land of your fathers and still calls you a "war monger"!

Abraxas
Mar 11, 2007, 06:34 PM
A couple of days ago i watched the movie 'LORD OF WAR' by Nicolas Cage again, and suddenly i saw a semblance of what he said towards the end about the inability to prosecute and convict him of arms trade because the same people in government were those who engage his services to provide the impetus to supply these 'weapons of mass' distruction to the buyers. Alas, questions started to flood my brain: Where do the Niger/Delta insurgents get their sofisticated armoury from? Who are the sponsors of these incessant harrassments, kidnappings and terrorism being perpetrated in the Niger/Delta area? What are their motives? Why are those invested with providing safety and security to all in Nigeria non - chalant in dealing with this impunity? Where will all this hulabaloo end? And more importantly, how will this insurgency redress any inherent imbalances as claimed by these war mongers? Why are other geographic regions not taking any visible stand on this unending enpasse? I can only presume that the Government and its agencies are beneficiaries of this disruption to life and property in this region, and are not interested in resolving the enpasse!:mad:

Hi, my good friend, Omakingbogun!

I am sure you that know very very well that there are far more horrible ways of being belligerent in the Niger Delta region than simply taking expatriate oil industry workers as hostages.

For example, one can attempt, and succeed in blowing up large segments of the network of refined petroleum product pipelines, crude oil, pipelines, refineries, storage depots, export terminals, product reception jetties, and drilling rigs, both on- and off-shore across Nigeria.

All it takes to raze an LNG plant, or flow station, or crude oil tank farm, or export terminal, or petrochemical plant, or refinery, to the ground, is just a match stick! That is how vulnerable the Federal Government, under the command and control of General Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo is. That is how asymmetric the so-called fourth generation warfare (4GW) taking place right now in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta is like a tse-tse fly that is firmly perched on Nigeria's shiny hernia: you leave it, it bites and sucks the country's energy dry with intractable crises, like what happened in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, and Democratic Republic of Congo; you smack it, you will feel the excruciating pain of your aggression.

Heads, you lose; tails it wins!

That is the cost of half a century of callous indifference and rank insensitivity to the plight of a completely brutalized people. We pray reason prevails, and the paternalism is minimized, at least, a little bit.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

omaks
Mar 12, 2007, 07:22 AM
The Niger Delta is like a tse-tse fly that is firmly perched on Nigeria's shiny hernia: you leave it, it bites and sucks the country's energy dry with intractable crises, like what happened in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, and Democratic Republic of Congo; you smack it, you will feel the excruciating pain of your aggression.

Heads, you lose; tails it wins![COLOR=Black]



I hear you Abraxas, and it is very painful to realise that despite all the God - given resources and talent inherent in our country Nigeria, marginalisation of this magnitude can be perpetrated with wanton disregard. Still, i fervently believe that [COLOR="black"]'Where there is a will there is a way'. In any shape or form, i do not wish war on anybody. Those at the apex of the ruling class hardly feel the impact as the ordinary people who are unable to escape to safer havens when war kicks off. I hope this Niger/Delta business can be resolved conclusively somehow.

omaks
Mar 12, 2007, 09:32 AM
I am not sure you understand the meaning of the phrase "War monger". I guess if you knew what it meant you would´nt have used it in relationship to the Niger Delta.

Somebody cannot be oppressed and then resist it through the courts of the land for decades and then finally resort to self preservatory methods and be labeled a "War monger".

Somebody attacks you in the land of your fathers,steals from you in the land of your fathers and still calls you a "war monger"!

The only thing you are sure of is your own misplaced and misguided opinion of the issues affecting the Niger Delta. Please enlighten me 'Mr Niger Delta Expert' what is going on in the Niger Delta? Is it a practice session for the impending war? Or is it a game of hide and seek. You are so much engulfed in your putrid, hate fueled ethnicity i almost feel sorry for you. If all Niger Deltans had a choice, they would probably not resort to violence. However, a select few have highjacked the prevailing situation to further their opportunistic agenda. These are the real 'war mongers' - people who fuel and encourage wanton criminality on the platform of seeking social justice.

Abraxas
Mar 13, 2007, 10:01 AM
Militants Flay Energy Minister on Niger Delta<o:p></o:p>
<o:p>Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1604)</o:p>

<o:p></o:p>
<o:p></o:p>MILITANTS in the Niger Delta have challenged the Minister of Energy, Dr. Edmund Dakoru to define the opportunities he said were opened to youths in the region that they were not taking good advantage of.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
Speaking under the aegis of Joint Revolutionary Council, the militants in an on-line statement issued by its spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte described the Obasanjo government as a gross failure.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
The statement tasked the Minister to explain how billions allocated to the PTDF had transformed into opportunities for youths in the region. The statement reads in part: "The Minister flunked and he did so very badly! The Joint Revolutionary Council and all disenchanted youths of Ijaw and Niger Delta stock hereby challenge the Honorable Minister to specifically ‘define' the so-called opportunities that he refers to. We will respond to his 'identified opportunities brief' in good time and prove to him that there are much too viewed opportunities for our people to explore and exploit.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"We challenge the Minister to explain to Ijaw and Niger Deltans how the multi-billion dollar PTDF infrastructure was used to provide opportunities for local Niger Delta people by the dubious and satanic PDP government led by the maximum ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"We challenge the Minister to explain to our people what real efforts have been made to ensure that businessmen of Niger Delta stock are provided with the tools they require to provide privileged business services to the oil and gas industry of the Nigerian state.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"We condemn the insincerity of the Nigerian state and its over-bloated attempt to please the international community with false claims of so-called opportunities that have been created by the PDP government for our people.<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"Once again, we challenge the Minister to spell out the opportunities he claims have been made available to our youths. It is piquing to see a Minister of Ijaw stock castigate the agitation and struggle for a more empowered Niger Delta when it is clear to all the good people of the world that we have been marginalized, oppressed and persecuted."<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
"The case of Kula community is also fresh in our minds. What efforts have the PDP government and its imperialist collaborators made to truly improve the quality of life of local people in Kula? What ‘real' opportunities and developmental initiatives have been initiated for impoverished coastal communities in the Niger Delta? " "So-called interventionist agencies such the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has failed the core coastal areas .<o:p></o:p>
<o:p> </o:p>
This government is a failure and will reap its rewards." It would be recalled that the Minister of Energy, Dr Edmund Dakouru had at a dinner held in his honour in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City> decried involvement of youths in violence in the region. He regretted that they were failing to make good use of government investment in its local content initiative. He blamed those arming the youths just as he enjoined the youths to acquire skills and knowleged that would strategically position them in emerging opportunities in the region.<o:p></o:p>

Abraxas
Mar 13, 2007, 10:13 AM
Militants Invade NLNG Boat, Kill 2 Policemen
Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1603)

Two policemen escorting a Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) from Port Harcourt to Bonny Island in Rivers State were yesterday evening killed by suspected militants who attacked the boat mid-sea.

According to the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu who confirmed the death of the policemen, they were attacked around the Okrika channel by some people he said were difficult to identify.

"The two policemen were killed after their boat was attacked around Okrika channel. The passengers were robbed while the policemen were shot dead. I don't know whether to say they were attacked by militants or robbers since the passengers were robbed. If robbery has been mixed with the militancy then we do not know what to call it", he said.

He however did not disclose the names of the policemen involved in the unfortunate incident as facts about the attack which took place around 5.30 PM was still going on.
A statement from NLNG General Manager, External Relations, Ms Siene Allwell-Brown last night read: "A passenger boat carrying 29 persons on board, including staff of Nigeria LNG Limited and other people from the host community was attacked around Dawes Island, near Port Harcourt on its way to Bonny in Rivers State. "The two armed Marine Police escorts onboard were killed. No other passengers were hurt in the incident which lasted about five minutes. Two armed men boarded the boat demanding for money and handsets shot the policemen and escaped with their guns.

"The police in Port Harcourt is investigating the incident."
The Bonny channel route has lately become dangerous since several attacks have been recorded there and most of them with casualties.

Late last year, a boat belonging to Hyundai, an oil servicing company was attacked when it was suspected that it was carrying large sums of money but because the company, said to be on contract with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), failed to declare the money as it fouled the policy of SPDC to carry money on board their vessels.

Also, a policeman and an expatriate were killed the same last year when their boat also came under attack.

Meanwhile, military officials, yesterday rescued some foreign nationals- two Croatians and a Montenegrin who were reportedly held by Niger Delta militants seeking for ransom.
According to agency report, the three men who work for an oil servicing company, Hydrodive were last seen on February 19 at a bar outside their base in Port Harcourt. They were rescued from Ogbakiri by military operatives in the early hours of yesterday and were declared fit after routine check-up at the local hospital are in very healthy condition and would return to their families with the next available flight.

The Rivers State Information Commissioner, Magnus Abe, confirmed that the hostages were released, at about 3 a.m.

Report stated that two Italians and one Frenchman, who were earlier seized by a different armed group are yet to be released.

Reacting to this, a community leader in Ogbakiri where the men were rescued said troops had invaded the area in search of the militants who kidnapped the expatriates.

"They were shooting and everyone ran into the bush. Some people were wounded and some arrested, the community is innocent. All we ask the government to provide in this town is basic amenities," he added.

Son of the Delta
Mar 14, 2007, 01:02 PM
The only thing you are sure of is your own misplaced and misguided opinion of the issues affecting the Niger Delta. Please enlighten me 'Mr Niger Delta Expert' what is going on in the Niger Delta? Is it a practice session for the impending war? Or is it a game of hide and seek. You are so much engulfed in your putrid, hate fueled ethnicity i almost feel sorry for you. If all Niger Deltans had a choice, they would probably not resort to violence. However, a select few have highjacked the prevailing situation to further their opportunistic agenda. These are the real 'war mongers' - people who fuel and encourage wanton criminality on the platform of seeking social justice.

What you wrote is complete crap.You are the one being blinded by ethnicity.If you had opened your eyes to the Niger Delta plight in an objective manner you should have known what is going on there.

You are the warmonger. You steal a child`s yam rub the oil on his lips and flog him in front him in front of his parents claiming he is insulting you by crying and you expect his parents to congratulate you or what?

Abraxas
Mar 15, 2007, 04:27 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/agip%20release.jpg Militants Release Italian Hostages

(Reuters) - Nigerian militants on Thursday released two Italian oil workers they had been holding hostage in remote creeks in the oil-producing Niger Delta for more than three months, a Reuters witness said

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which demands greater autonomy for Africa's top oil province, had seized the employees of Italian-owned Agip, a unit of ENI, in a raid on an oil export terminal on December 7.

MEND, which emerged in late 2005 and forced the closure of a fifth of Nigerian output with attacks on oil facilities in February 2006, said in a statement it would step up attacks on the industry and stage bombings across the delta.

Agip and the Bayelsa state government are at the top of the group's "to-do list," MEND said, because it blames them for helping a Lebanese hostage escape from its custody last month.

"We will take more hostages and concentrate on locations believed to be secure to dispel the false sense of security being felt by some in the oil industry and foreign industry watchers," it said in the email statement.

Heavily armed militants dropped the Italians, Francesco Arena and Cosma Russo, with a small group of journalists at an oil company boat yard on the outskirts of Port Harcourt.

They appeared to be in good health, but were sporting long beards and said they were suffering from stress.

"We were treated very well by the militants. We were in a jungle, they treated us better than they treated themselves," Arena said, adding they had given him bottled water to drink.

"The only complaint I have is they kept us too long as hostages because if it was short maybe we can understand they are fighting for freedom, but to keep us for 98 days is too long," he told Reuters.

DECLINING SECURITY

MEND said it used the Italians to highlight the problems of the Niger Delta to the people of Italy. Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi told his Nigerian counterpart on Monday he was deeply concerned about their safety.

"The Italians were originally supposed to have been kept until the exit of the Nigerian despot," MEND said in the email, referring to President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is due to step down in May.

"Their premature release is in response to pleas from certain quarters, which could not be ignored. This will not be repeated for future captives we will shortly take for as long as the Nigerian government refuses to address our demands."

MEND wants regional control over the delta's oil resources, the release of two jailed leaders from the area and compensation to delta villages for decades of oil pollution.

Kidnappings of foreign oil workers, mostly for ransoms, multiplied in the delta in January and February although most hostages have now been released.

The only expatriate still in captivity is a French contractor for oil company Total who was abducted by suspected ransom-seekers on February 7.

Oil companies have reinforced security across the vast wetlands region, and thousands of oil workers and their families have left because of declining security.

Poverty and a lack of basic public services due to corruption in government lie at the root of violence in the delta, which accounts for all oil production from OPEC member Nigeria, the world's eighth-biggest exporter of crude.

MEND has insisted that it does not take ransoms for its hostages, but many groups do, and the line between militancy and crime is blurred.

Abraxas
Mar 15, 2007, 05:04 PM
Hi, folks!

What you are about to read is completely unbelievable, but then, it is the news! This is the story of a supposedly kidnapped expatriate from the Niger Delta.

The lady claims that she was abducted by people who are supposedly hired assassins, sent by her Iranian husband, to kill her. According to her, they took her on an over 600 km journey, despite the galaxy of police check points, between Port Harcourt and Lagos, to Murtala Mohhammed International airport.

They chaperoned her straight to a Frankfort-bound Lufthansa airline, with no visa constraints, no ticketing constraints, with sufficient spare cash, enough to buy air tickets from Lagos, through Germany, to the Philippines, after being abducted by the thoroughly demonized so-called militants of the Niger Delta region. Wow!

I find it difficult to believe the lady's story. But then, I may be wrong. Well, folks, read the story, and judge for yourselves. What do you think?

Muchas gracias

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Beth.jpg Josie Beth Speaks To Authorities

Josie Beth Gregorio Foroozan, the Filipino woman believed to have faked her abduction in Nigeria, told the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday that armed men dressed like policemen indeed "kidnapped" her on Feb 6 in Port Harcourt, led her to the Lagos Airport and convinced her that her husband wanted to have her killed.

In a sworn statement given before NBI agent Jeralyn Jalagat, the 37-year-old businesswoman said her abductors told her, "You know it was your husband who sent us to kill you."

At the time the Philippine and Nigerian governments were trying to locate her in Nigeria, Foroozan turned out to be just several meters away from the NBI headquarters in Manila.

She said she arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 8:30 a.m. on February 10, three days after her purported abduction, and stayed at the Park Hotel in Paco, Manila until March 4.

It also turned out that her family knew since February that she was back in Manila, contrary to her younger sister's claim in interviews on March 9 that Foroozan never had contacted any member of the Gregorio family.

Foroozan said she called her sister Elsa on February 17 or 18 when she learned their mother was sick worrying about her. Elsa even visited her in her hotel on February 22, and her father also stayed with her on February 26.

She said she followed them to Occidental Mindoro on March 4

It was only on March 9 that she contacted her husband when she was convinced he had nothing to do with her abduction. She said she called her cousin Janet Griego in Nigeria who told her Manoucher was really upset and worried since her disappearance.

Foroozan said the armed men who took her away did not hurt her. They only took the $5,000 she offered them when she was pleading them to release her.

It was Foroozan's sister, Jane Gregorio, who alerted the media in Manila about the abduction. Gregorio said Foroozan's Iranian husband, Manoucher, phoned her on the evening of Feb 7 and informed her of her elder sister's kidnapping near a bank some two kilometers from her home in Port Harcourt.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Esteban Conejos Jr. surprised many Filipinos on Thursday when he said Foroozan was not kidnapped, but has actually returned to the Philippines three days after she was reported to have been kidnapped.

When Foroozan showed up at the NBI headquarters in downtown Manila on Wednesday, March 14, she told reporters she wanted to "put to rest reports that (she) was abducted and even killed in Nigeria."

"I would just like to say that I am here, safe and sound," she said. "I have come to the NBI to give a formal statement."

Yes, she was kidnapped

Foroozan's version of her abduction will make a good piece for a movie script.

In her sworn statement, Foroozan declared: "Yes, I was kidnapped by armed men dressed as policemen in Port Harcourt. Nigeria last 7 February 2007."

"At around 10 a.m., while I was driving my Mercedes Benz two-seater car along Amadi St., Harcourt, Nigeria, and on my way to Platinum Bank, I saw a group of policemen driving beside me in a Peugeot car. They signaled me to stop and then they drove in front of me. I thought that they were stopping me for a traffic violation, so I obliged," said claimed.

She said two of the men approached her, and one immediately pulled her and covered her mouth with a foul-smelling piece of cloth in his hand, then dragged her into a mini-bus, then blindfolded her as they drove away.

Later, the men told her to call her husband, then one of them took the phone from her and talked to her husband. "We have your woman, we will call you later," she quoted one of her abductors as saying.

Then, she said the men gave her phone back and allowed her to talk to her husband and narrated what happened to her.

Foroozan said she was born in Nueva Ecija in 1969, but her family settled in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. She has lived in Nigeria for almost 16 years with her husband with whom she has two children.

In good standing

The Foroozan couple has a construction company in Nigeria called Shahpar International Ltd. She also owned a shop called "The Persian Shop" in Harcourt selling Filipino and Iranian handicraft, foodstuff and other products.

They seemed to be in good standing in the community. Foroozan said she was recently elected secretary of the International Women's Club in Port Harcourt. Her husband was treasurer of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'l of Nigeria.

According to her, she was on her way to the bank to open an account and transfer money in foreign and local currency when the men accosted her. That time, she said she had US$10,000 and 50,000 Naira (about $400). She said had her passport with her because she was supposed to have it photocopied.

Going back to Manila

While in the hands of her abductors, Foroozan said told them she would leave Nigeria right away if only they would release her.

"When I said this, they asked me where I will go and I answered that if I could only reach Lagos, I will go back to my country and never say anything and they will never see me anymore," Foroozan told the NBI investigator.

During the long ride, Foroozan said she was "so shocked…could not believe it."

When the mini-bus stopped, one of the men ordered her to get down and they walked. She said she thought she would be shot while walking barefoot, so she just prayed and continued to beg for freedom.

"After several minutes, he took off my blindfold. It was already dark, but I could see that we were close to the Lagos International Airport," Foroozan said. "The man told me to continue walking to the airport. He said that he will be following me so I should not look back at him or talk or say anything to anyone. Otherwise he will shoot me."

As they approached the airport gate, the man handed her a pair of slippers. She lost her slippers when two men dragged her to the mini-bus in Port Harcourt.

"We entered the airport together. I then looked for the earliest scheduled flight to Manila, got my ticket at Lufthansa Airlines and then checked in. The man was behind me all the time. Then, before I went to the immigration control for my departure, I talked to the man and gave him my cellphone. I told him that since it was my husband who sent them to kill me, then he should call my husband and inform him that I am already dead," Foroozan said.

The Lufthansa flight she took left Lagos at 11 p.m., and stopped over in Frankfurt, Germany at 6 a.m. the next day. Then, she said she was supposed to take the earliest flight to Manila that left Frankfurt at 10:20 p.m., but missed it because she did not hear the announcement when her flight was called, so she had to wait another 24 hours for the next flight.

While waiting for her flight at the Frankfurt airport, Foroozan said she watched the news on CNN about her abduction. She said she did not report it immediately because she believed her abductors that her husband sent them to kill her. - GMANews.TV

oguzie j.j.
Mar 15, 2007, 09:22 PM
My brozza Abraxas, no mind di yeye filipoppo wey tink sey i get sense pas us. Di tori be sey she wayo her husbandi carri him money tear race. All of dis be in de name of hostage wey den dey collect, some bi for the 9ja delta issue while plenti na for money matta.

Abraxas
Mar 15, 2007, 09:51 PM
Hi, folks!

If that Filipino woman could go to the extent of stage-managing her own abduction, what is to guarantee that some male so-called expatriate hostages have not been willing collaborators that were acting out the script of a so-called hostage drama, in which they were the supposed victims of a process that ultimately yielded them lucrative returns, for a minor inconvenience, given the sizes of the ransoms typically paid in exchange for their release.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Abraxas
Mar 16, 2007, 10:44 AM
U.S. Partners with Nigeria on Security for Oil-Rich Delta

Sources: AllAfrica.com (http://allafrica.com/stories/printable/200703160001.html); U.S. Department of State

The United States is partnering with Nigeria to counter growing violence in its oil-rich delta region that is threatening an ally that has made valuable contributions to peacekeeping and regional stability in Africa, says a U.S. defense official.

Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told a March 14 forum in Washington, "There are no quick-fix solutions" to the security problems in the Niger River Delta where most of Nigeria's oil is produced. The forum was sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The Niger Delta extends over an area in southern Nigeria of approximately 70,000 square kilometers and accounts for 7.5 percent of the country's land mass, according to government statistics.

Whelan said the United States had a number of joint training and equipment programs aimed at helping Nigeria's military counter the growing violence against oil facilities and their workers that threatens tens of billions of dollars in annual revenues and the more than 1 million barrels a day exported to the U.S. market. Nigeria now accounts for 8 percent of total U.S. oil imports.

Precious Omuku, a representative of Shell Oil in Nigeria, told the CSIS panel that in 2006 there had been 54 attacks against oil installations during which 11 hostages were taken by militants promoting various causes from environmentalism to political separatism.

The result is that "oil companies are now shy about going into the field," he said.

To counter the problem, Whelan said, the Defense Department proposed a regional maritime awareness capabilities program for the Nigerian navy worth $16 million "to help the Nigerians establish greater situational awareness in the delta and try and address some of the bunkering [large-scale oil stealing] problems that contribute to the violence because it provides money to buy arms."

In addition, she said, "We have offered to provide training and assistance in small-arms, light weapons identification so they can better understand and track the illegal weapons coming into the delta."

Planning assistance and training also is being provided by the military to develop a riverine unit that would use patrol boats to go after the oil thieves and militants, Whelan told the panel.

The attacks, which are growing, according to Whelan, no longer are restricted to on-shore installations but involve "near" off-shore oil rigs. This poses a direct threat to the security and development plans of Nigeria, whose government depends on oil for 95 percent of its export earnings and 80 percent of total government revenues.

Whelan said, "The militants appear to be operating with almost complete impunity" and "on-shore oil production has been reduced by 500,000 barrels per day due to the insecurity and that means $1 billion a month in lost revenue" to the Nigerian government.

To make matters worse, the militant's "tactics and weaponry are increasingly sophisticated," she said. "We observe a very gradual, but steady and consistent ... [progress] in the way they operate and we expect that to continue. And so you will probably see more attacks as time goes on."

Although the United States is attempting to work with the Nigerian military to confront security challenges the picture has not been all positive, Whelan told the panel.

A major problem is that the 80,000 members of the Nigerian armed forces - who are the main security bulwark against the type of violence seen in the delta - are undertrained and underequipped, Whelan said. Various peacekeeping commitments outside the country also are "drawing off available trained soldiers who could respond to domestic crises," she said.

Operational readiness rates of the Nigerian navy are low, the U.S. defense official added. "We provided the navy with four U.S. Coast Guard buoy tenders and the Nigerian navy also purchased 17 Defender class response boats. The only problem is that the navy is not appropriately trained to use those boats and so for the most part ... they sit idle down in the delta."

Nigerian Ambassador George Obiozor told the CSIS panel members that his government "welcomes the international concern over developments in the Niger Delta." And he assured them that Nigeria, "like any responsible country in the world, will not tolerate or condone any activities that threaten the lives and property of Nigerian citizens and our international development partners."

The United Nations estimates that since 1960, oil has generated $400 billion in revenues for the Nigerian government. Under reforms by President Olusegun Obasanjo the federal government now divides 20 percent of total oil revenues among the nation's 774 local governments. Oil-producing states - mainly the nine in the Niger River Delta - are entitled to 13 percent of the revenues generated within their borders.

Abraxas
Mar 19, 2007, 12:23 PM
Oil Firms Reject Fresh Contracts in Niger Delta
By Yakubu Lawal, Deputy Energy Editor
Source: The Guardian Newspapers, Monday , 19 March 2007. (http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article01)


OIL service companies, which are worst hit by hostage-taking in the Niger Delta, are reportedly turning down new contracts awarded to them by the major firms in the industry.

The Guardian learnt that some oil service companies from the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (UK) have been rejecting contracts that border on exploration and exploitation of oil and gas resources in Nigeria since the kidnap of foreign workers by militants assumed a disturbing dimension.

Similarly, the recent abduction and attacks on Asian citizens have compelled companies from those parts of the world to be retracing their steps in accepting contracts from the producing companies.

The affected companies perform more than 85 per cent of all activities in production of oil and gas in Nigeria. Industry officials claimed that the oil service companies had shifted their attention from Nigeria to Angola and Gabon as well as the Gulf of Guinea with reference to Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe joint development zone.

The senior oil firm executives, who spoke with The Guardian on the development, attributed the problem to incessant hostage-taking in the Niger Delta, which forces the firms to believe that the region was no longer safe for their employees.

One of the company chiefs said that all the drilling activities slated for the second quarter of this year had been put off as the contractors had turned down all new contracts coming from Nigeria.

"We have drilling jobs now but the contractors have told us they were not coming to Nigeria to work. I am in a fix," one of them said.

Another chief executive officer said there was a clear instruction from his company's headquarters in (UK) that no employee should go to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with a warning that if they must go there, there must be a clearance from the London office.

"In our own case, there was a clear instruction from our headquarters not to allow any of our staff to go Port Harcourt. Whoever does that without clearance will have to take the blame for any sad occurrence", he said.

According to him, the stance of most oil service companies was that all meetings for project review and contract monitoring must now be held in Lagos.

"Most companies now ask their officials to come to Lagos for such meetings because Port Harcourt and Warri have been classified as security risk areas for the multi-nationals," he said.

The Guardian further learnt that appraisal of drilling and development wells now face set-back as the rigs were no longer easy to access by the owners and operators.

And to remain in business, the companies have allegedly turned their searchlight on countries such as Angola and Gabon where oil and gas operations are being carried out without major hindrance.

The sources noted that many companies were finding it difficult to even extend some of the contracts they had with oil producers and where such jobs were re-negotiated the cost was usually double the initial contract sum as various cost elements, including provision of security personnel or mobile policemen to each foreign worker on 24-hour basis were now included.

With these extra costs, the cost of doing business in Nigeria is adjudged far above what obtains in other parts of the globe.

They said the implication of this was that the government paid more because it controls majority shares in the Joint Venture (JV) projects as well as the Production Sharing Contract (PSC).

"Where there are no results, we should admit that we have to sit down and solve the problems properly. It is either there is peace in the Niger Delta or there is no peace. Where there is no peace, the industry is at risk and, therefore, only positive results will be acceptable," one of them said.

The Managing Director of Platform Petroleum, Mr. Austin Avuru, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian recently had stated that the crisis in the Niger Delta, leading to hostage-taking by the youths, had affected his company's operations negatively.

"Let me tell you, in 1986, technical cost per barrel of oil was about $1.80. Today, it is in the range of $7 to $10 per barrel. Elsewhere barring inflation, and this cost actually drop with time because of improvement in technology." Avuru said.

Son of the Delta
Mar 23, 2007, 12:23 PM
This is the latest on the Niger Delta.




Last Updated: Friday, 23 March 2007, 10:07 GMT
E-mail this to a friend Printable version
Nigeria oil militia hold Dutchman
map
Gunmen in Nigeria have kidnapped the security manager of a German construction company in the oil capital, Port Harcourt, police say.

The Dutch manager was reportedly seized at dawn by his abductors, who arrived on the waterfront by the construction camp in three speedboats.

They are said to have exchanged heavy gunfire with guards before escaping.

About 60 foreigners - mostly oil workers - have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta so far this year.

The wave of attacks and kidnappings has led to a 25&#37; cut in Nigeria's oil output.

Abraxas
Mar 23, 2007, 08:34 PM
Three Expatriate Workers Kidnapped Today
Sources: http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=L23306983
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=L23658741



Gunmen kidnapped three foreign workers in two separate incidents in Nigeria's oil-producing delta on Friday, authorities said.

Expatriate abductions have become an almost weekly occurrence this year in the world's eighth largest oil exporter, and thousands have fled the Niger Delta since violence surged last year.

Attackers in three speed boats stormed the construction yard of German building contractor Bilfinger Berger in the region's largest city, Port Harcourt, at dawn and abducted the company's Dutch security manager after a three-hour gunfight, security sources said.

Hours later in the nearby city of Warri, unidentified gunmen took two foreign staff of Nigerian construction firm Setraco from their workplace. The hostages included a Lebanese national and possibly an Indian, a company source said.

After dozens of foreigners were abducted in the first two months of this year, there had been a lull this month and the last two foreign hostages -- two Italians working for ENI unit Agip -- were released unharmed on March 15.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), which held the Italians for more than three months, threatened last week to kidnap more hostages.

Army spokesperson Sagir Musa said he did not know where the kidnappers took the Dutch man but said the local community was helping troops with their search.

Militant attacks, invasions and kidnappings have forced oil companies to reduce Nigerian output by about 20&#37; since February 2006.

Mend says it is fighting for regional autonomy in the oil-producing delta and other political ends, but the line between militancy and crime is blurred.

Landmark elections in Nigeria next month have also increased instability in the delta as the prospect of power changing hands rekindles long-standing communal conflicts.

The vast region of impoverished fishing villages on mangrove-lined creeks lined with multibillion-dollar oil facilities is awash with small arms.

Poverty and lack of basic public services due to government corruption lie at the root of violence in the delta, which accounts for all the crude produced in Nigeria. -- Reuters

Abraxas
Mar 24, 2007, 07:12 AM
<!-- InstanceBeginEditable name="Main Content" --> Security in Nigeria

<table class="author-table" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" height="67" width="226"> <tbody> <tr> <th width="261">
Council on Foreign Relations
Author: Mary Crane (http://www.oyibosonline.com/bios/10968/mary_crane.html) - 22.03.07


</th> <td class="authors" width="10">,
</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Source: Council on Foreign Relations website. (http://www.cfr.org/publication/10029/security_and_politics_in_nigeria.html?breadcrumb=% 2Fbios%2F10968%2Fmary_crane#2)


Introduction

With 133 million citizens, Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and the world's eighth-largest oil exporter. In 1999, Nigeria returned to civil rule under Olusegun Obasanjo after sixteen years of military rule. Nigeria now chairs the African Union, an organization that aims to promote cooperation on the continent, and has taken the lead in regional peacekeeping initiatives. Yet Nigeria is still one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking near the bottom in many human development indices. Corruption is endemic, unemployment is growing, illiteracy rates are near 50 percent, HIV/AIDS is on the rise, and now the deadly avian flu virus has infected Nigerian poultry farms. Crime and violence in the Niger Delta has handicapped oil production, while sectarian fighting between Muslims and Christians has killed thousands.

What are the biggest threats to Nigerian security?

Religious fighting and violent attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Popular frustration over the government's failure to deliver basic services continues to rise. Much of the violence is said to be rooted in poverty and unemployment - about 57 percent of the population now falls below the poverty line of a dollar a day. Though largely unrelated, both sectarian clashes and violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta present the government with a major security challenge.

Religious fighting. Since Obasanjo came to power in 1999, more than 10,000 Nigerians have been killed in sectarian and communal violence. Recent events have only exacerbated the country's deep divisions: The imposition of sharia, or Islamic law, in twelve northern states forced thousands of Christians to flee, while more recently, Danish cartoons ridiculing the Muslim Prophet Mohammed resulted in attacks and reprisals that killed dozens and injured or displaced thousands in the north and south. Obasanjo has been criticized both in and outside Nigeria for not definitively responding to the religious violence and communal tensions. According to the 2005 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (PDF) (http://www.uscirf.gov/countries/publications/currentreport/2005annualRpt.pdf#page=1), many Muslims and Christians have been identified as perpetrators of violence, but very few - if any - have been prosecuted.
Niger Delta violence. Violence in the Niger Delta - where upwards of one hundred thousand barrels of oil per day is stolen - cost the country about $1 billion last year in lost oil revenue, leaving global energy investors wary of Nigeria. Since December 2005, violence in the Niger Delta has decreased Nigeria's oil output by nearly 20 percent. Roaming militias have kidnapped foreign oil workers, set fire to offshore oil installations, and bombed pipelines. Peter Lewis (http://www.american.edu/sis/faculty/facultybiographies/lewis.htm), director of the Council for African Studies at American University, says the fighters are angry with oil companies they feel have exploited the delta's resources without returns to the community, and feel a deep sense of isolation from the government. Years of neglect have left Nigerian security forces with little more than a few boats to patrol the delta, and militants have attacked at will. On December 8, Nigeria and the United States signed a security agreement to jointly patrol the delta region, though U.S. action was delayed and Nigeria instead has looked to China - which has invested billions in Nigeria's energy infrastructure - for security assistance.
How big is Nigeria's oil industry?

Nigeria is the world's eighth-largest crude-oil exporter and the fifth-largest U.S. source for imported oil. Oil exports account for 95 percent to 99 percent of Nigeria's foreign revenues. However, the distribution of oil funds has historically been undermined by corruption and mismanagement, and few Nigerians have benefited from the oil wealth since exploration began in the 1970s. Nigeria's powerful state governors governments lay claim to nearly half the federal budget, feeding corruption and limiting the federal government's control over corrupt local officials, says Princeton Lyman (http://www.oyibosonline.com/bios/bio.html?id=2373), CFR's Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy studies and former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria. "Out of the thirty-six states, thirty of the governors are really corrupt," says Robert Rotberg (http://bcsia.ksg.harvard.edu/person.cfm?program=CORE&item_id=242), director of the Program on Intrastate Conflict and Conflict Resolution at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. "The others are only marginally so."

What is Obasanjo doing to improve Nigeria's economy?

The government has committed itself to a number of economic reforms, including the newly launched National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) that focuses on reforming the government and developing the non-oil private sector. Obasanjo is also looking to pass a fiscal responsibility bill, as well as a privatization program to be implemented by the Bureau of Public Enterprises. In December, the Paris Club (http://www.clubdeparis.org/en/) of donor countries approved a historic debt-relief deal that eliminated $30 billion of Nigeria's total $36 billion external debt. Before that, in October 2005, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rewarded Nigeria its first-ever Policy Support Instrument (PSI) (http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2005/pr05229.htm), which is intended to support the country's economic reform efforts. These instruments, designed for low-income countries that do not want or need IMF assistance, help implement reforms, underwrite a government's economic credibility, and encourage international investment.Obasanjo has also stepped up anti-corruption efforts.
The World Bank's 2005 Nigeria brief (http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/NIGERIAEXTN/0,,menuPK:368906%7EpagePK:141132%7EpiPK:141107%7Et heSitePK:368896,00.html) credited Obasanjo with embarking "on a fight against corruption that is bearing fruit." A number of state governors have been impeached on corruption charges, as well as Nigeria's ex-police chief Tafa Balogun; the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (http://www.efccnigeria.org/)continues to pursue corrupt officials; and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (http://www.icpcnigeria.com/) has prosecuted a number of high-profile officials who worked with militia groups to siphon government funds for personal gain. Abuja has also commissioned an international audit of the entire oil sector, the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) (http://www.neiti.org/), which in its interim reports revealed the gaps in record-keeping that had allowed much of the corruption. Obasanjo's efforts have annoyed many senior Nigerian politicians who say his anti-corruption campaigns are politically motivated.

How is the relationship between the United States and Nigeria?

The U.S. State Department Nigeria brief (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2836.htm), updated in February 2006, says there has been "marked improvement" in human rights, press freedoms, and democratic politics under Obasanjo, and since his inauguration, the U.S.-Nigerian relationship has "continued to improve." Washington recognizes the important role Nigeria plays in the region: engineering a common plan for African economic recovery called the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD); participating in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); and providing the bulk of troops for UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, including missions in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Sudan. Nigeria also participates in Africa-directed U.S. humanitarian and democracy-promotion initiatives like the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) (http://www.agoa.gov/) and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/01/20030129-1.html). Nigeria has also supported Washington's counterterrorism efforts, supporting military action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda and coordinating counterterrorism exercises in sub-Saharan Africa.

How effective have the government's reform efforts been?

Many experts say these reforms are too little, too late. Although the country's economic growth - 6 percent in 2005 - remained high, critics speculate much of Nigeria's growth has more to do with record-high oil prices and energy demands than any real changes at home. Lyman says Obasanjo's reforms are the kind that will take years to affect the lives of average Nigerians and "haven't given him a big popular boost." In the meantime, experts say deeply entrenched interests and the confusing overlap between local, state, and federal governments will slow any real progress. While Obasanjo's government is an improvement on past dictatorships, "he hasn't managed to exert control in a way people were hoping for in Nigeria's first real democracy," says Rotberg.

Abraxas
Mar 24, 2007, 03:21 PM
MEND: The Niger Delta's Umbrella Militant Group.



Author: Stephanie Hanson (http://www.cfr.org/bios/12300/stephanie_hanson.html), Copy Editor (CFR)
Source: Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.cfr.org/publication/12920/mend.html?breadcrumb=&#37;2Fregion%2F159%2Fsubsaharan_ africa); (22 March 2007)
References:
<!---->1. <!--[endif]-->John C.K. DALY: Nigeria Continues to Slide Towards Instability (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?search=1&articleid=2370235); Terrorism Monitor; Volume 4, Issue 24 (December 14, 2006)
<!---->2. <!--[endif]-->Council on Foreign Relations: Security in Nigeria: (http://www.cfr.org/publication/12920/mend.html), March 22, 2007
<!--[if !supportLists]-->3. <!--[endif]-->Ike OKONTA: MEND: Anatomy of A Peoples' Militia. (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/38119)[I]; PambazukaNews (02-11-2006)
<!---->4. <!--[endif]-->Ike OKONTA: Niger Delta: Restoring the rights of citizens (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/38222); [I]PambazukaNews (09-11-2006)
<!---->5. <!--[endif]-->Joel BISINA: [I]Environmental Degradation in the Niger Delta (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/38728); PambazukaNews;Comment andanalysis; (07-12-2006)
<!--[if !supportLists]-->6. <!--[endif]-->John Bellamy FOSTER: A Warning for Africa (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/comment/40035); PambazukaNews; Comment and analysis; (2007-02-28)

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, launched itself onto the international stage in January 2006 by claiming responsibility for the capture of four foreign oil workers. Since then, the group's attacks on oil pipelines and kidnappings have reduced oil output in the Niger Delta by roughly one-third. Oil companies, the Nigerian government, and the United States (Nigeria is the United States' fifth largest supplier of U.S. crude imports) are concerned about MEND's ability to disrupt the global oil supply. Though skilled at leveraging international media, the group remains secretive and opinions vary on its power and ability to sustain itself.

A hotbed of militant groups

MEND is the most recent, and most renowned, of the large number of militant groups in the Niger Delta, an oil-rich region of mangrove swamps and creeks in the country's south and one of the world's largest wetlands. The militants, like the Niger Delta's population at large, object to the environmental degradation and underdevelopment of the region and the lack of benefits the community has received from its extensive oil resources. While there is a revenue-sharing plan in which the federal government distributes roughly half of the country's oil revenues among state governors, these funds do not trickle down to the roughly 30 million residents of the Delta. In 2003, some 70 percent of oil revenues was stolen or wasted, according to an estimate by the head of Nigeria's anti-corruption agency. Whereas many residents used to work as fishermen, oil installations and spills have decimated the fish population (http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0702/feature3/) and now markets must import frozen fish, according to National Geographic.

Militant groups, which are primarily composed of young men dissatisfied at their inability to find jobs, proliferated beginning in the 1990s. The first Delta insurgent group to receive international attention was the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). Led by Ken Saro-Wiwa, the group launched a nonviolent campaign in 1990 against the government and Royal Dutch/Shell to protest environmental degradation and the area's economic neglect. The group's efforts led Shell to cease production in Ogoni in 1993. Saro-Wiwa and eight other MOSOP members, the “Ogoni Nine,” were executed by the military regime in 1995.

Subsequent groups, such as the Ijaw Youth Council and the Niger Delta Vigilantes, were organized at the village or clan level. Their attacks were designed to extort short-term funds or municipal development projects from multinational oil companies. Yet as an International Crisis Group report details, recently militants are more sophisticated and increasingly share a common goal of “resource control (http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4310&l=1),” a share of the oil revenues their region produces. In 2004, the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF), an Ijaw militant group led by Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari (Ijaw are Nigeria's fourth largest ethnic group), threatened “all-out war” against the Nigerian government. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo offered Asari and another militant leader amnesty and payments in exchange for their groups' weapons. Nearly a year after this deal, Asari was arrested, charged with treason, and put in prison, where he remains.

MEND emerged in January 2006, several months after Asari's arrest, and experts say the group is stronger than Asari's NDPVF. “Asari was a one-man show,” says Ike Okonta (http://www.project-syndicate.org/contributor/423), a research fellow in contemporary African politics at the University of Oxford. MEND “has managed to win broad sympathy among the [Niger Delta] community.”

MEND's decentralized structure

Despite this popular support, many elements of MEND remain secretive. Estimates of its size range from the low hundreds to the low thousands. Like other Delta militant groups, MEND is largely made up of young Igaw men in their twenties. Yet Nnamdi K. Obasi, West Africa senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, says “MEND seems to be led by more enlightened and sophisticated men than most of the groups in the past.” Its leaders are educated, some at the university level, and they have learned from militant movements in other parts of the world, he says.

“MEND seems to be led by more enlightened and sophisticated men than most of the groups in the past.”
Experts agree that MEND does not have a united structure, and Okonta argues the group is an “idea” more than an organization. Olly Owen, research associate at the Center for Democracy and Development (http://www.cddwestafrica.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=1) in Nigeria, compares the group to a franchise operation. “Nigeria is a fluid and difficult place to operate, so you need to choose the organizational structure that allows you to operate best.” This structure allows MEND more flexibility, he says, but has also created confusion over the group's composition. An International Crisis Group (ICG) report (http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4394&l=1) describes a similar structure in which militant groups switch affiliations on a case-by-case basis. “Some of these elements alternate between identifying themselves as MEND and operating under other names,” the report claims. Such groups include the NDPVF, the Coalition for Militant Action in the Niger Delta (COMA), and the Martyr's Brigade.

The leadership of MEND is similarly unclear. Most foreign journalists communicate with Jomo Gbomo, who claims to be a spokesman for MEND. Men called Brutus Ebipadei and Major-General Godswill Tamuno have communicated with the press and claimed leadership roles in the group. Oxford's Okonta says he has spoken to members of the core leadership of MEND, who explained to him they remain undercover to protect themselves. “They have to work in such a way that the government does not get into their working structure,” Okonta says. Owen says the leadership of MEND maintains anonymity due to Asari's arrest, but they are likely “recycled from other organizations” such as Asari's group and the Ijaw Youth Congress.

MEND is able to maintain its secrecy because of sympathy for the group among locals. Government crackdowns have only bolstered that sympathy and driven recruits.

Taking and releasing hostages

MEND's attacks have hurt Nigeria's oil exports—costing at least eight hundred thousand barrels per day, or over 25 percent of the country's oil output, according to Nigerian officials. A February 2006 attack on two Royal Dutch Shell oilfields accounted for some 477,000 barrels per day of the reduced output; analysts believe the fields may reopen after April's election. Though the group regularly carries out attacks against pipelines and is responsible for at least two car bombings, its primary tactic is kidnapping foreign oil workers. It typically releases these hostages unharmed after a period of negotiations—via intermediaries—with oil company representatives and the government. Okonta writes that taking hostages allows MEND to focus international attention on the Niger Delta and “to exploit the blaze of publicity (http://www.dawodu.com/okonta2.htm) thus generated to announce their grievances and demands of the Nigerian government.”

Hostage negotiations can involve ransom money, though MEND denies this. ICG's Obasi says MEND tries to distance itself from the criminal activities the smaller militant groups are notorious for, but some of those organizations linked to MEND may ask for ransom money on its behalf. These groups profit handsomely from the oil companies; the International Crisis Group has documented multiple instances of oil companies paying companies owned by militant leaders to provide “security” to oil installations (http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=4310&l=1). The other major source of income for the criminal militant groups is oil bunkering, a complicated process of tapping an oil pipeline and filling plastic cans with crude oil. The oil is then sold to locals or transported to barges offshore for transport to a neighboring country. Asari's militant group was so notorious for oil bunkering, writes John Ghazvinian (http://johnghazvinian.com/biography.html) in the Virginia Quarterly Review (http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2007/winter/ghazvinian-curse-of-oil/), that its product became known in the Delta as “Asari fuel.”

Some, including Obasi, say MEND also participates in oil bunkering. The extent of its participation, however, and the amount of money it generates, is unclear. While details of their funding are murky, [B]MEND does not suffer from lack of money. The group has been seen with costly advanced weapons, including shoulder-mounted rocket launchers. Sebastian Junger, who profiled the group for [I]Vanity Fair, noted its possession of new Czech-made Rachot UK-68 machine guns (http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/02/junger200702).

Growing political aims

Since its inception, MEND has articulated three major demands: the release of Asari from prison, the receipt of 50 percent of revenues from oil pumped out of the Delta, and the withdrawal of government troops from the Delta. Its broader aim is “resource control,” but it has largely failed to delineate specific long-term goals.
Instances in which MEND has made specific demands have failed to produce lasting or substantial results. In April 2006, MEND demanded that Shell pay $1.5 billion in compensation for pollution in the Niger Delta, a sum previously mandated by the Nigerian courts. Negotiations between MEND and the government (brokered by an Ijaw political group) resulted in a brief truce, which broke in mid-August when Nigerian military units killed fifteen MEND militants on their way to negotiate the release of a kidnapped Shell worker. Since then, MEND's attacks have become more frequent and its rhetoric more incendiary.

Experts disagree over the trajectory of MEND's politics. Some Nigeria experts say the group's demands have progressed to an interest in taking part in the political process. Obasi says the group issued a statement asking for a certain number of seats in the Niger Delta legislature and in the National Assembly, which shows they see themselves “perhaps even as a legitimate political party.” Others say MEND wants political autonomy for residents of the <st1:country-region Niger Delta. Divisions within the core leadership may be perpetuating these conflicting messages: Owen says there are elements in MEND's core leadership who want local government representation but others who are firmly opposed to being involved with the state.

Perhaps due to this leadership division, MEND does not appear to have a strong stake in the upcoming elections, scheduled for mid-April. While the practice of hiring militant groups to protect and deliver votes to political candidates was widespread in the 1999 and 2003 elections, and other militant groups have forged similar alliances ahead of upcoming elections, there is no evidence that MEND is playing such a role. International observers predicted MEND's attacks might escalate prior to the elections, but thus far there has been no significant change in their frequency. Owen says MEND “seeks to influence people who are in political office and is looking to structure deals with politicians to be interlocutors for them.”

"The fact that no one else is advancing the debate is ceding power to people like MEND.” MEND is the most powerful militant group in the Delta right now, but there is conflicting opinion on whether their influence is growing or waning. “They don't have a clearly articulated political mission” says Ghazvinian. “I don't think they will be around in six months or two years' time.” Owen agrees the group lacks specific goals, but he believes it could sustain itself. “The lasting power of the group depends on events," he says. “At the moment, MEND is powerful and sets the agenda. The fact that no one else is advancing the debate is ceding power to people like MEND.”

Government response.

MEND's ability to attract international attention via the media illustrates that the group is fully aware of its ability to affect international oil prices. Yet if the media has somewhat overstated the threat MEND poses, the Nigerian government has failed to take the group seriously enough. Save for its negotiations in April 2006, the government has refused to enter a dialogue with the group or respond to any of its political demands, instead attempting to counter MEND by sending security forces into the Delta.

Experts agree this security strategy is ineffective. By writing MEND off as a criminal organization and attempting to quash it with force, the government risks exacerbating the situation. The Delta militants know the region much better than Nigeria's security agencies, and they have superior weapons and equipment. The International Crisis Group report warns that even if a sustained effort to defeat MEND militarily succeeded, it would likely shut down oil production in the Delta for up to two years, not to mention precipitate new and more radicalized militants.

“The Nigerian state's bark is a lot worse than its bite on this issue,” says Owen. “Their rhetoric is pitched to the outside world to reassure international partners that they are doing something.” Owen argues that instead of focusing on security, the government should engage MEND and prompt the group to clearly articulate its demands so that it can start a credible negotiation process.

The Nigerian government appears to realize its efforts are not sufficient. It has asked the United States and Britain to provide technical assistance to its navy under the Gulf of Guinea Energy Security Strategy, a request both countries agreed to. But a recent request by Abuja for the presence of U.S. Marines (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?search=1&articleid=2370235) in the Delta was denied, reports the Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor.

Given the deep-seated complexity of the crisis in the Delta, the Nigerian government will need to work with other groups to address the grievances of MEND and other militant organizations. The International Crisis Group report recommends that the Nigerian government increase the percentage of oil revenues it sends to all Nigerian states, that oil companies make efforts to partner with community organizations on development projects, and that the international community offer a forum for mediation between the Nigerian government and MEND.

Abraxas
Mar 25, 2007, 08:45 AM
EU Observers Stay Away To Stay Alive

European Union election observers will stay away from Nigeria's volatile delta region during next month's landmark vote, the EU's team leader said on Wednesday.

A spate of kidnappings, mostly for ransom, and attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta has prompted thousands of foreigners to flee Africa's oil heartland in the past year, and thousands more to hunker down under a security lockdown.

"We are not going to deploy in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa because in these states, the environment for international observers is not conducive," said Max van den Berg, chief observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission.

'It is more important to stay alive'
"It is painful that we cannot observe in these three states, but it is more important to stay alive."

Oil executives and analysts fear the security situation in the delta, a vast wetlands region where poor communities host a multi-billion-dollar oil industry, could slip into anarchy as rival militias intensify their turf wars ahead of April polls.

The EU will send 66 long-term observers to the other 33 states from Thursday to assess campaigning and preparations for the election, which should mark the first time one elected government hands over to another in 47 years of independence.

A similar number of short-term EU observers and a delegation of seven members of the European Parliament will be deployed during the election period to monitor voting, counting and the tabulation of results, Berg said.

The mission will issue a preliminary report after the vote on April 14 for state governors and legislators, and a second report after the election of a president and federal lawmakers on April 21. A full report will come three months after.

The elections should mark the first civilian-to-civilian transition in the world's eighth biggest oil exporter since Nigeria gained independence from Britain in 1960.

Violence and ballot rigging have marred previous polls and political tensions are running high because of uncertainty over candidate lists and preparation for voting day.

Scores of foreigners were abducted in January and February by armed groups operating in the southern delta, mostly for ransom, though some of the groups have made political demands.

All known foreign hostages have since been released, but two Chinese men snatched by unknown gunmen in the south-eastern state of Anambra on Saturday are still being held.

Abraxas
Mar 27, 2007, 10:09 AM
Blood and Oil

Mar 15th 2007 | LAGOS
Source: The Economist print edition (http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8861488)

Elections could further destabilise the violent, oil-rich Delta region

THE seedy drinking-holes frequented by burly foreign oilmen in Nigeria's main oil city of Port Harcourt are pretty empty these days. Kidnappings and killings of expatriate workers, car-bombs and violent robberies have persuaded many to stay behind the high walls and barbed wire of their own homes, as armed groups wreak havoc ahead of national elections next month.

In the past year, attacks on oil facilities have forced Nigeria to shut down a fifth of its production; over 100 foreign workers have been kidnapped in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. Higher security costs and a shrinking number of expatriates willing to take the risks of working there have sharply slowed new investment. The Nigerian government has lost billions of dollars in oil revenues. Now the multinational oil companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell, that operate in Africa's biggest oil producer are bracing themselves for more trouble. The omens are not good; in the run-up to the elections in 2003, violence in the Delta forced Nigeria to shut down 40% of its oil capacity.

Trouble in the region is not a new phenomenon, but it has escalated in the past year or so. For years, impoverished communities in the tropical swamplands of the Delta protested against exploitation of their lands by oil companies, only to be suppressed by the army. Things got worse under civilian rule in the late 1990s, when politicians armed local thugs to rig elections for them. After the 2003 elections, many of these bully-boys used their guns in territorial squabbles in the mangrove creeks. But they also began to espouse a radical political rhetoric as well, demanding a greater share of the oil-wealth for their local communities. In the cities, criminal gangs, born from secretive university fraternities, were armed in a similar way.

Militant cells and gang leaders are engaged in a variety of criminal enterprises, building up arsenals of weapons with the proceeds and sometimes working with corrupt army officials. The theft of crude oil from sophisticated oil pipelines and wells (known as "bunkering") has become a multi-million-dollar industry. Worryingly, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the mysterious group responsible for the most troubling attacks on the oil industry last year, has been trying to bridge the gap between militants in the creeks, with their machine-guns and rocket-launchers, and the criminal gangs in the cities, armed with lighter Kalashnikov rifles.

On January 28th MEND stormed a police complex in Port Harcourt, freeing 125 criminals, including Soboma George, an influential gang leader who had once been used to help rig state elections for the ruling party. MEND's anonymous leader and spokesman boasts that he has "the oil industry by the balls". On March 15th, after releasing its latest two hostages, presumably for a nice ransom, MEND promised to step up its attacks.

But many groups falling under the broad banner of MEND have local agendas and a variety of paymasters. Some have been enraged by the choice of gubernatorial candidates put up by the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) which may well cheat, rig and bribe its way into hanging onto power in the Delta State Houses in April's elections. The richest oil-producing states have revenues of up to $1.3 billion a year but dismal records in providing basic services, since officials loot most of the money. The fear is that militants could work alone or with MEND to disrupt elections in the Delta states and launch attacks on the oil industry as a way of holding the PDP state and federal governments to ransom. "Either bodies are going to pile up or we are going to see an oil shock, or both," says an oil-industry security official.

The PDP candidate for president, Umaru Yar'Adua, a northern state governor, says that by picking as his running-mate Goodluck Jonathan, from the Delta's majority tribe, the Ijaw, he will be able to tackle the region's problems. Should he become vice-president, Mr Jonathan will be under pressure to deliver quick results to his people if he wants to stave off yet more violence and unrest in his land.

Abraxas
Mar 27, 2007, 10:11 AM
Blood and Oil

Mar 15th 2007 | LAGOS
Source: The Economist print edition (http://www.economist.com/world/africa/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8861488)

Elections could further destabilise the violent, oil-rich Delta region

THE seedy drinking-holes frequented by burly foreign oilmen in Nigeria's main oil city of Port Harcourt are pretty empty these days. Kidnappings and killings of expatriate workers, car-bombs and violent robberies have persuaded many to stay behind the high walls and barbed wire of their own homes, as armed groups wreak havoc ahead of national elections next month.

In the past year, attacks on oil facilities have forced Nigeria to shut down a fifth of its production; over 100 foreign workers have been kidnapped in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. Higher security costs and a shrinking number of expatriates willing to take the risks of working there have sharply slowed new investment. The Nigerian government has lost billions of dollars in oil revenues. Now the multinational oil companies, such as Royal Dutch Shell, that operate in Africa's biggest oil producer are bracing themselves for more trouble. The omens are not good; in the run-up to the elections in 2003, violence in the Delta forced Nigeria to shut down 40% of its oil capacity.

Trouble in the region is not a new phenomenon, but it has escalated in the past year or so. For years, impoverished communities in the tropical swamplands of the Delta protested against exploitation of their lands by oil companies, only to be suppressed by the army. Things got worse under civilian rule in the late 1990s, when politicians armed local thugs to rig elections for them. After the 2003 elections, many of these bully-boys used their guns in territorial squabbles in the mangrove creeks. But they also began to espouse a radical political rhetoric as well, demanding a greater share of the oil-wealth for their local communities. In the cities, criminal gangs, born from secretive university fraternities, were armed in a similar way.

Militant cells and gang leaders are engaged in a variety of criminal enterprises, building up arsenals of weapons with the proceeds and sometimes working with corrupt army officials. The theft of crude oil from sophisticated oil pipelines and wells (known as "bunkering") has become a multi-million-dollar industry. Worryingly, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the mysterious group responsible for the most troubling attacks on the oil industry last year, has been trying to bridge the gap between militants in the creeks, with their machine-guns and rocket-launchers, and the criminal gangs in the cities, armed with lighter Kalashnikov rifles.

On January 28th MEND stormed a police complex in Port Harcourt, freeing 125 criminals, including Soboma George, an influential gang leader who had once been used to help rig state elections for the ruling party. MEND's anonymous leader and spokesman boasts that he has "the oil industry by the balls". On March 15th, after releasing its latest two hostages, presumably for a nice ransom, MEND promised to step up its attacks.

But many groups falling under the broad banner of MEND have local agendas and a variety of paymasters. Some have been enraged by the choice of gubernatorial candidates put up by the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) which may well cheat, rig and bribe its way into hanging onto power in the Delta State Houses in April's elections. The richest oil-producing states have revenues of up to $1.3 billion a year but dismal records in providing basic services, since officials loot most of the money. The fear is that militants could work alone or with MEND to disrupt elections in the Delta states and launch attacks on the oil industry as a way of holding the PDP state and federal governments to ransom. "Either bodies are going to pile up or we are going to see an oil shock, or both," says an oil-industry security official.

The PDP candidate for president, Umaru Yar'Adua, a northern state governor, says that by picking as his running-mate Goodluck Jonathan, from the Delta's majority tribe, the Ijaw, he will be able to tackle the region's problems. Should he become vice-president, Mr Jonathan will be under pressure to deliver quick results to his people if he wants to stave off yet more violence and unrest in his land.

Abraxas
Mar 27, 2007, 06:14 PM
Hi, Admin!

It appears like you forgot to remember to post this in the Main Square earlier. I hope there is nothing wrong.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Son of the Delta
Mar 28, 2007, 08:57 AM
Militants kill four riot policemen in Rivers
By Stories: Soni Daniel, Port Harcourt
Published: Wednesday, 28 Mar 2007

Gunmen suspected to be Niger Delta militants on Tuesday morning, shot and killed four riot policemen at the Ogbakiri Junction in Emuohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
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AFP

Niger Delta Militants.

Ogbakiri is one of the major bases of militants and home to Prince Igodo, who was declared wanted by the State Security Service last Sunday.

The community has been at the centre of series of abduction of foreign oil workers and a base for detaining most of the abductees in the state.

Eyewitnesses said the four policemen were lured and killed around 4 am on Tuesday by the armed men who posed as soldiers.

According to one source, the militants stormed the junction where the riot policemen were having a regular checkpoint and asked the victims to identify themselves.

Believing that the men were soldiers and members of the Joint Task Force, the policemen moved towards the gunmen‘s vehicle and introduced themselves before they were fired at close range by their attackers.

The four reportedly died on the spot while the militants collected their rifles, left their corpses on the roadside and sped off to an unknown destination.

When contacted, the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, confirmed the attack, but said that he was far away in Abuja and did not have the details of the incident.

Ogbaudu, who referred our correspondent to another top police officer for details, however, said that the command had begun investigation into the circumstances leading to the policemen‘s death.

The killing may not be unconnected with the declaration of Igodo wanted by the SSS.

The Director of the SSS in Rivers State, Mr. Kola Adesina, had on Sunday, placed the sum of N5m on Igodo, saying that he was linked to almost all the kidnappings of oil workers, armed robberies and other forms of atrocities in the state.

Two suspects-Nnamdi Eme and Ibebuka Ekene, paraded by the SSS as some of Igodo‘s boys, implicated the man who was one of those who aspired for the governorship seat of the state but failed to clinch the ticket of any party.

They claimed that Igodo, who also supplied the arms used for the attack, coordinated the abduction.

Son of the Delta
Mar 30, 2007, 09:45 AM
An interesting interview!




Militants Are Freedom Fighters -Joseph Eva

Last View on Fri 30th March, 2007
Last Modified on Wed 28th March, 2007 2:25:15 pm
Author: Admin Sahara


Militants Are Freedom Fighters



The Niger Delta question has remained intractable for so long. Why is it impossible for government to solve this problem?

It is because the Federal Government is not sincere; the way they sincerely built Abuja. They don’t want to build the Niger Delta like that. So they are pretending and playing politics with it. They want to continue to deceive us the way they deceived our fathers, but our generation is ready to hold them by the throat. They have no escape route. Let them be pretending, they are just postponing the doomsday.

How is it possible for boys in the creeks to take on professional soldiers in the Nigerian Army?

It is spiritual and that is the simple truth. When God finds out that the oppressors are not ready to shift ground and that they are using the wealth of the oppressed group to build their own land, God gives the oppressed extraordinary strength to conquer. Examples abound in various religious books. God would raise David to surprise Goliath. Look, these things are controlled by the spirit in Ijawland. And that is why we said that Ijaw gods are the ones taking hostages. If it were ordinary human beings executing this violent armed struggle the way the black South Africans did during the days of apartheid, the story would have been different. Even in the South African struggle, God gave strength to the blacks to subdue all the sophisticated machines of the white minority government.

It may indeed be spiritual, but the group known as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, is in the forefront of the physical violence. Do you regard MEND as a terrorist group?

You can call them terrorists, but I tell you that they are freedom fighters. In those days, the white minority government and European nations called Mandela a terrorist. That was why he was given life jail. What MEND is asking for is simple. They are saying that you are polluting our environment and refusing to develop our land, please leave our land. So what’s the crime there? So if you refuse to leave the land, God will give them power to act.

But the kidnappers collect ransom after kidnapping, so where does freedom fighting end and where does criminality begin?

Asking them to bring money, is that criminality? Did President Obasanjo not bribe members of the National Assembly to remove the Senate President? The oil companies have refused to employ our people, they refused to provide industries. The clothes you are putting on is textile and without petrochemicals you cannot establish textile industries. Without petrochemicals, you cannot produce computers, plastics, chairs and cookers. So why is it that the Federal Government and oil companies have refused to provide industries that would involve petrochemicals and engage the idle minds in the region. What do you expect from these idle minds?

In 2004, we had this stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt, I was the last person that spoke before President Obasanjo took the microphone. I remember I told Obasanjo that very soon he would start having suicide bombers in the Niger Delta. Then there was no kidnapping, yet Asari was declared wanted. But now we know better. Go to the creeks and see squalor and poverty walking on two legs. I went the other time to carry out deworming with university students from the Niger Delta as part of my yearly humanitarian programme. What I saw was appalling. Our children die anyhow because of lack of hospitals, yet Shell and Chevron would tell you that they have spent billions on community development. So if people kidnap their workers and use the proceeds to buy weapons to actualise the struggle, what is wrong with that? Since the oil companies would prefer to bring money to bribe the kidnapers instead of providing industries to engage these idle brains.

Is there any correlation between the upsurge in kidnapping and the arrest and trial of Asari Dokubo?

Definitely. If Asari is released today, there would be no hostage taking from the next one or two years. Asari has the capacity to stop the crisis in the creeks.

Is Asari that powerful?

Asari is more powerful than even Mandela. This is because, what Asari is doing is spiritual. He is under the control of the gods. Now, because the Federal Government is holding Asari Dokubo hostage the Ijaw gods are also holding the expatriates hostage. If they release Asari Dokubo now, I tell you all the hostages would be set free. But they want to kill him. Asari is seriously sick, you saw him the other day when he came to the court. You have met Asari one on one before. Was that how he looked? President Obasanjo wants to kill him. But if he kills Asari, it will not be like Ken Saro-Wiwa. For the death of Asari, I tell you thousands of foreigners will die.

MEND has been in operation for sometime now. From where does it get its funding?

They are living inside oil. Where did Federal Government get weapons, is it not from their oil? If Federal Government can travel from Abuja to the creeks to collect oil money to buy weapons, what of the people who are living inside the oil? We don’t need to ask that. Oil is at their doorsteps, backyard and in front of their thatched houses. The cocoa people selling cocoa to Cadbury, do they apply for license? But in our case they ask us to apply for license. As far as the creeks are concerned, our people have come to realize that these people are calling us fools. So the weapons matter should not come up.

Again, government seems to forget that the entire South-South zone has no border with any other country except the open seas. From America, Europe you have direct access to our villages. So if you line up every member of the Nigerian Armed Forces across the Atlantic coast they cannot provide security there. If we had a responsive government, they would know that such a place is prone to danger, because anything can move into the creeks from the Atlantic Ocean. We don’t have a border like Idiroko or Seme borders in Ogun and Lagos states. But the Atlantic Ocean is our border. Yet government is playing with the security of these areas.

So are you saying that there is no criminality in hostage taking?

Look, there is no Ijaw man dead or alive that is not happy over the attack by our gods. Even Daukoru, the Oil Minister, is happy. Ijaw people in government can only pretend. They are all sad that their fathers died as a result of cholera; no hospital. Even those in top government positions are not allowed to do something to help their people. So every Ijaw man is happy that oil production is systematically being halted.

Son of the Delta
Mar 30, 2007, 09:48 AM
Very articulate interview with the MEND people.


Interview : We Will Soon Stop Nigerian Oil Export —Jomo Gbomo

Last View on Fri 30th March, 2007
Last Modified on Thu 29th March, 2007 4:22:41 am
Author: Admin Sahara




Q: What’s the relationship between your faction of MEND, and the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities(FINDIC)?
A: MEND does not have a relationship with FINDIC in Warri. FINDIC is a tribal assembly representative of the interests of the people of a community in Delta State, as well as the political and financial interests of its leaders. MEND speaks for all the oppressed people of the Niger Delta, regardless of tribe.

Q: Is Jomo Gbomo your real name?
A: Everyone knows Jomo is not my real name. I am not afraid to reveal my identity, which is known to many. I simply do not enjoy being in the limelight.

Q: Is it true that Chief Government Ekpemupolo is the main financier of MEND?
A: The claim that any such Ijaw chief is a financier of MEND is ludicrous. It will be fine to carry out a thorough investigation of this individual or any others who have been linked to such claims, then form an independent opinion. Unfortunately, I am not at liberty to explain our source of funding. We rely on contributions from well-meaning citizens of the Niger Delta, at home and abroad.

Q: How far do you think MEND can go in its drive to free the Ijaws from the “shackles of neglect and oppression?”
A: We are prepared to fight for the dissolution of this unfortunate union known as Nigeria if that is the price we must pay for freedom.

Q: Does MEND align itself with the objective of the Kaiama Declaration?
A: We have selected the core cause of agitation in the delta as our focal point. MEND is fighting for resource control for all the people of the Niger Delta. We are not an Ijaw militia group, but acknowledge the contributions of all groups past and present, in the struggle for justice in the Niger Delta.

Q: What’s your impression about some Ijaw leaders like Chief E.K. Clark, Kimso Okoko? How much influence do they have on your organisation?
A: It is without doubt that no Ijaw elder has any influence on our group. The Nigerian government now realises this as do the oil companies. It is unfortunate that some Ijaws who should be caring for their grand children at home, belittle themselves in Abuja, for peanuts. We have no regard for all such persons. Professor Okoko is a respected Ijaw who has wisely chosen not to disrespect himself.

Q; Is Dokubo’s NDPVF part of the MEND struggle?
A: All units which previously fought under Asari have been co-opted into our structure. This will remain so until otherwise decided by Asari, possibly on his release.

Q: Is Dr. Oboko Bello part of your MEND?
A: MEND as a group does not know who Oboko Bello is. He belongs to the group findic in Warri. We have no relationship with this group and all its members who are relatives from a clan in Delta State.

Q; Apart from oil bunkering what other sources of revenue do you have?
A: We are not engaged in oil bunkering. It is impossible to sneak in a tanker to load oil. Oil is not like diamonds. Oil bunkering is carried out by the Nigerian Military which is supposed to be securing the waterways and assisted by locals who are paid stipends for their trouble. If the Nigerian government believes our source of funding is bunkering, why has it refused to stop this practice or at least prevent tankers from entering such areas to load? The reason is simple. Bunkering is carried out by Nigerian government and military officials and blamed on militants.

Q: Do you have a working relationship with any Islamic group like Al-Qaeda?
A: It is ridiculous to imagine Christians in the south of Nigeria, fighting against a glaring injustice will be aligned to Islamic groups thousands of miles away. There is simply no connection. Whenever the US government intends to meddle in the internal affairs of countries, suspicion of an al-Quaeda connection is usually a preferred reason for its involvement.

Q: It is alleged that politicians in the Niger-Delta make use of militant groups. What is your reaction to that?
A: Politicians may be using some small groups in the Delta as thugs. No politician will enjoy this luxury with us. We will not be involved with the dubious Nigerian selections.

Q: What is your impression about leaders (politicians) of the Niger Delta?
A: Politicians in the Delta are no different from politicians elsewhere in Nigeria. The rot is right at the top and has spread right down. Nigeria will only be free when all citizens resolve to take drastic action to rid our society of these criminals who have imposed themselves as rulers over a helpless citizenry.

Q: What is your view about the coming elections? Do you plan to disrupt it?
A: We have no immediate plans for the dubious political process you refer to as an election. Our activities will not be suspended during this period, however.

Q: People talk about resource control and derivation, which do your favour?
A: We are asking for justice. We want our land and the Nigerian government to transfer all its involvement in the oil industry to host communities which will become shareholders in these oil companies. These companies can then be taxed as is applicable with other parts of the country from which commodities such as cocoa are exported.

Q: For peace to reign in the Niger Delta, what do you want done for your people?
A: Justice is the means through which peace can be achieved in the Niger Delta. People of the delta consented to being a part of Nigeria based on a constitution agreed to, prior to independence. It was illegal for any section of the country to alter this agreement without the consent of the people of the Niger Delta. This is theft. Without the restoration of our rights and compensation for fifty years of theft, there will never be peace in the Delta.

Q: What exactly is the goal of MEND? To compel the federal government to address the problems of the Niger Delta decisively, or to secede outright?
A: For now, we are concerned with compelling the Nigerian government to accede to our demands and we are succeeding at that. There is evidently frustration on the side of the Nigerian government and international oil buyers. It is clear we are capable of halting altogether, Nigerian exports. The Nigerian government may pretend not to be affected by our attacks, but that does not alter the truth. We have put a hole in the pockets of the Nigerian government, which will not be sealed unless justice is done in the Niger Delta. Our methods are working and it is surely a matter of time before the Nigerian government can pretend no more, and do the right thing.

Q: How prepared is MEND? Does it have the firepower to confront government?
A: It is also clear that the Nigerian military is unprepared for our brand of warfare. As a Nigerian, I’m greatly embarrassed by the Nigerian government’s appeal for US help in combating militants in the Delta. The Nigerian government, prodded by oil companies, also shamelessly requested US warships to secure oil installations. We are confident we will be victorious against the Nigerian military in conflict in the Delta. We have considered all possibilities and await any eventuality. When it comes to the crunch, fighting in the Delta will be reduced to rifles, machine guns and rocket launchers.

Q: What are MEND’s short and long term plans? How does it intend to actualise these plans?
A: We will continue to nibble at the Nigerian oil export industry until we think it necessary to deal it a final crippling blow. We have caused the oil companies and Nigerian government to pay more for our oil and eventually, it will be snatched right out of their grip.

Q: The Federal Government is spending $2billion to procure sophisticated arms to fight MEND guerrillas. Do you have enough manpower and firepower to face the Nigerian forces?
A: The Nigerian government’s acquisition of new military hardware is a gimmick designed to deceive the oil industry into a sense of safety. Any military expert will concede that warfare in the Delta is restricted to the use of light boats, rifles, machine guns, rockets etc. The Nigerian government can only acquire sophisticated versions of these equipment for use in the Delta. The government is trying desperately to safeguard its exports and will be foolish to carpet bomb the Delta with all its pipelines. After all these purchases, it must be remembered that these equipment will be used by the same incompetent Nigerian military or perhaps mercenaries. In the last naval exercises, the navy claimed not to be able to conduct some exercises on account of fog. Is that not an indication that oil companies are in big trouble? We navigate the creeks in pitch blackness regardless of weather conditions and the navy will be unable to respond to a distress call on account of fog. Such exercises and purchases are means to loot the treasury in the last days of this regime.

Q: How strong militarily will you rate your organisation?
A: As far as the Niger Delta is concerned, we are strong enough to cause any military sleepless nights.

Q: Despite your threat to commence bombing of oil installations and other sabotage, nothing has been done since. Is the threat an empty one?
A: Our threats to continue attacks on oil installations and the sabotage of other relevant facilities are not empty as Nigerians will soon discover. We are a guerrilla movement and our decisions, like our fighters, are fluid. We will not be driven into hasty actions, a secret that has ensured continuous success against the Nigerian military: We carefully plan all our attacks and pay a lot of attention to the timing of these attacks. At the right time, we will strike with great venom.

Q: The election is starting 14 April. Will your members stand aloof or will they try to stop the election in the Delta?
A: As we have continuously maintained, we are apolitical in structure and will not be concerned with the fraudulent electoral process in Nigeria. This process will not influence our actions in the Delta. We have so far limited our attacks to oil facilities, but we will expand to civilian facilities utilised by oil workers. Nonetheless, as has always been our pracitice, we will continue to proritise the minimisation of civilian casualties in all our operations.

Abraxas
Mar 30, 2007, 12:05 PM
Hi, folks!

I my attention and curiosity were attracted particularly by the following interesting excerpts:


It is without doubt that no Ijaw elder has any influence on our group. The Nigerian government now realises this as do the oil companies. It is unfortunate that some Ijaws who should be caring for their grand children at home, belittle themselves in Abuja, for peanuts. We have no regard for all such persons. Professor Okoko is a respected Ijaw who has wisely chosen not to disrespect himself.


We have selected the core cause of agitation in the delta as our focal point. MEND is fighting for resource control for all the people of the Niger Delta. We are not an Ijaw militia group, but acknowledge the contributions of all groups past and present, in the struggle for justice in the Niger Delta.


We are not engaged in oil bunkering. It is impossible to sneak in a tanker to load oil. Oil is not like diamonds. Oil bunkering is carried out by the Nigerian Military which is supposed to be securing the waterways and assisted by locals who are paid stipends for their trouble. If the Nigerian government believes our source of funding is bunkering, why has it refused to stop this practice or at least prevent tankers from entering such areas to load? The reason is simple. Bunkering is carried out by Nigerian government and military officials and blamed on militants.

Politicians in the Delta are no different from politicians elsewhere in Nigeria. The rot is right at the top and has spread right down. Nigeria will only be free when all citizens resolve to take drastic action to rid our society of these criminals who have imposed themselves as rulers over a helpless citizenry.

Justice is the means through which peace can be achieved in the Niger Delta. People of the delta consented to being a part of Nigeria based on a constitution agreed to, prior to independence. It was illegal for any section of the country to alter this agreement without the consent of the people of the Niger Delta. This is theft. Without the restoration of our rights and compensation for fifty years of theft, there will never be peace in the Delta.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Son of the Delta
Mar 31, 2007, 04:53 PM
British oil worker abducted off Nigeria
Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:05AM EDT




LAGOS (Reuters) - Gunmen in two speedboats abducted a British oil worker in a pre-dawn raid on a drilling rig 40 miles off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday, officials and industry sources said.

The gunmen first targeted a support vessel moored to the Bulford Dolphin rig, overpowered the crew, then climbed on to the rig and seized the Briton, a security expert working for a Western oil major said.

The Foreign Office in London confirmed the abduction.

"We can confirm there was an incident in the early hours of this morning in which a British national was taken hostage," a spokeswoman said. "We are in touch with the Nigerian authorities to try to secure a swift and peaceful resolution."

The security expert said the kidnappers came from a coastal community in the Niger Delta that has had disputes with the operators of the rig in the past.

Such disputes are common in the delta, where villagers neglected by corrupt governments expect oil companies to provide jobs and basic public services such as electricity, roads or clean water.

Kidnappings of foreign workers for ransom or to press political demands are common in the lawless delta, which accounts for all of Nigeria's roughly 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil production.Six Britons, one American and a Canadian were kidnapped from Bulford Dolphin on June 2 last year in another night raid by gunmen in speedboats. They were released two days later.

The rig is owned by the Norwegian oilfield services group Fred Olsen Energy ASA and leased to Nigerian firm Peak Petroleum, which operates it in partnership with Equator Exploration.

The latest attack did not affect production as the facility is an exploration rig that will not produce crude for years.

Nigeria is the world's eighth biggest exporter of crude oil but the Niger Delta has been hit by a wave of abductions and attacks on oil facilities since late 2005.



Oil production has been down by 500,000 bpd since February last year because of a series of raids on Royal Dutch Shell oilfields that month by a rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). A MEND spokesman said the group was not involved in the latest abduction.

MEND has taken hostages to press its demands for greater local control of oil revenues, but numerous other "freelance" kidnappers have seized foreigners to extract hefty ransoms from companies or local authorities.

Violence in the delta is rooted in poverty and frustration at the lack of benefits for local communities from five decades of oil extraction that has polluted the air and water.

Millions of villagers with no access to clean water, electricity or roads resent the multi-billion dollar oil industry and its web of pipelines criss-crossing their lands.

(Additional reporting by Adrian Croft in London)

The latest event that has taken place within the region

Son of the Delta
Mar 31, 2007, 05:22 PM
British oil worker abducted off Nigeria
By Tom Ashby

LAGOS (Reuters) - Gunmen in two speedboats abducted a British oil worker in a pre-dawn raid on a drilling rig 40 miles off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday, officials and industry sources said.

The gunmen first targeted a support vessel moored to the Bulford Dolphin rig, overpowered the crew, then climbed on to the rig and seized the Briton, a security expert working for a Western oil major said.

The Foreign Office in London confirmed the abduction.




"We can confirm there was an incident in the early hours of this morning in which a British national was taken hostage," a spokeswoman said. "We are in touch with the Nigerian authorities to try to secure a swift and peaceful resolution."

The security expert said the kidnappers came from a coastal community in the Niger Delta that has had disputes with the operators of the rig in the past.

Such disputes are common in the delta, where villagers neglected by corrupt governments expect oil companies to provide jobs and basic public services such as electricity, roads or clean water.

Kidnappings of foreign workers for ransom or to press political demands are common in the lawless delta, which accounts for all of Nigeria's roughly 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) in crude oil production. Six Britons, one American and a Canadian were kidnapped from Bulford Dolphin on June 2 last year in another night raid by gunmen in speedboats. They were released two days later.

The rig is owned by the Norwegian oilfield services group Fred Olsen Energy ASA and leased to Nigerian firm Peak Petroleum, which operates it in partnership with Equator Exploration.

The latest attack did not affect production as the facility is an exploration rig that will not produce crude for years.

Nigeria is the world's eighth biggest exporter of crude oil but the Niger Delta has been hit by a wave of abductions and attacks on oil facilities since late 2005.




Oil production has been down by 500,000 bpd since February last year because of a series of raids on Royal Dutch Shell oilfields that month by a rebel group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). A MEND spokesman said the group was not involved in the latest abduction.

MEND has taken hostages to press its demands for greater local control of oil revenues, but numerous other "freelance" kidnappers have seized foreigners to extract hefty ransoms from companies or local authorities.

Violence in the delta is rooted in poverty and frustration at the lack of benefits for local communities from five decades of oil extraction that has polluted the air and water.

Millions of villagers with no access to clean water, electricity or roads resent the multi-billion dollar oil industry and its web of pipelines criss-crossing their lands.

(Additional reporting by Adrian Croft in London)

Na wa for Naija!

Abraxas
Mar 31, 2007, 09:30 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Nigeria%20Map%20-%20With%20Delta.jpg Niger Delta Govts Have Failed Us - Edwin Clark

THE leader of the Ijaw, Chief Edwin Clark has reacted to the new master plan agenda unfolded for the development of the Niger Delta, saying the project will fail because of lack of commitment on the part of the governors in the region.


The Federal Government had on Tuesday announced that about N2.3 trillion about ($50 billion) would be needed to prosecute the Niger Delta master plan over 15 years.


He opined that it was ridiculous that for more than a year now, the Presidential Council on Social and Economic Development of the Coastal States in the Niger Delta which was established with fanfare "resulting in our people trooping down to Abuja to witness what the Federal Government had in stock for them, had not been able to carry out one concrete development project in the area of education, health, water or electricity.


"It is true that I have not attended any of the council meetings, but as the leader of our people, I received reports of the deliberations, apart from viewing the council's deliberations on television. While Mr. President has every good intention in setting up the council, some of the state governments have been giving false reports and they use the council for their own propaganda to cover their dishonest and corrupt practices. Unless decisive, practical and courageous decision is taken by the Federal Government to correct this abominable situation, the agitation of the people for a better deal will definitely continue."


Chief Edwin Clark said the governments of Delta and Rivers States were the most culpable in the under development of their states, adding that the derivation fundof about N300 billion which they got each had not translated to any tangible development of the oil producing areas in these states.


He, however warned on the rumour that the military may launch an attack on the various locations of the Ijaw youths in the Niger Delta, saying should this happened, then the peace effort in the region would become a ruse.

Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1694)

Son of the Delta
Apr 7, 2007, 12:34 PM
Everybody knows how untruthful Obasanjo is!


‘FG's Amnesty To Militants, A Greek Gift'
Last week's offer of amnesty by President Olusegun Obasanjo to Niger Delta militants who throw in their arms has been rejected by Iduwini youths in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
They described the offer as "a calculated Greek gift intended to deceive and arrest more of our oppressed youths, fighting for the political and economic freedom of the criminally neglected South South zone of the country."
Besides, they said the "unsolicited amnesty" might not be unconnected with the fears being expressed over this month's general election, "as the government is deeply threatened that all efforts to cow the restive freedom fighters have been resisted with greater strength."
A statement signed by National President of the Iduwini-Dodo River Federated Youth Forum, Prince Ebi Perema, said if the President was sincere about the amnesty and peace in the Niger Delta, the first beneficiary should be the incarcerated leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari.
"We beg to disagree that Obasanjo's amnesty is well intended when thousands of heavily armed military personnel are daily being deployed in the creeks and villages of the Niger Delta, as if our people are at war with the Nigerian state.
What is happening in the Niger Delta cannot happen in other areas without tribal sentiments being read into it. Our people are been massively killed for daring to demand for equity in the distribution of revenue that accrue to the country from the proceeds of oil and gas that is got from our land.
"Our environment is being degraded with impunity and yet nobody is talking. Our daughters are being raped by this army of occupation and nobody is talking. But they are more concerned with the kidnapping of one expatriate or the closure of one oil or gas field," the group stated.
They vowed to continue the struggle for emancipation of the region and that they would not fall to the government's alleged gimmicks.
"Our God, who created the Niger Delta and decided to bless us with crude oil and gas will soon grant us a well-deserved amnesty," they said.

Son of the Delta
Apr 7, 2007, 12:38 PM
The latest act of hostility against the system!




Two Turkish oil workers have been kidnapped in Nigeria's volatile Niger Delta area, police say.

The two men, said to work as engineers for the Italian oil company Agip, were seized on Friday evening while driving through the city of Port Harcourt.

Kidnappings of foreign oil workers are common in the oil-rich but economically poor Niger Delta region.

The pair are thought to be the only foreigners now held captive, after four others were freed this week.

"They were intercepted by militants when they were driving late yesterday evening," said local police commissioner Felix Ogbaudu on Saturday.

About 70 foreigners have been kidnapped this year in the southern Nigerian region.

There had been speculation that the four hostages were freed earlier this week because of impending elections in Nigeria.

Last month, the European Union said it would not be sending monitors to the Niger Delta for the polls as the region is too dangerous.

Most hostages are released unharmed after a few days, but some have been hurt or killed in bungled rescue efforts by security services.

Auspicious
Apr 9, 2007, 02:21 AM
Oh-Oh..:neutral:

Auspicious.


Militants order FG to withdraw soldiers in Niger Delta - Give 72-hr ultimatum
John Ogbedu and Bolaji Ogundele, Port Harcourt - 09.04.2007
Nigerian Tribune Online (http://www.tribune.com.ng/09042007/news/news3.html).

THE Coalition of Niger Delta Forces (CNDF) has given the Federal Government a 72-hour ultimatum to withdraw soldiers from the creeks of the Niger Delta or face increased killing of expatriate workers and destruction of oil facilities. The group said its call for the withdrawal of the soldiers from the Niger Delta was based on the fear that they would be used by the government to rig the elections.


CNDF made the threat barely a day after it called on the Federal Government to terminate the appointment of Professor Maurice Iwu as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for election in the region to go peacefully.


In a statement circulated in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Sunday and signed by the group’s leaders, Walter Adokiye, Ikiedei Richard and Priye Alabo, the group reaffirmed its stance that INEC, under Iwu, had compromised its mandate and had taken sides with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), making it incapable to organise free and fair elections.


While it called on President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar to resign their offices having been indicted by the National Assembly for the roles they played in the PTDF scandal, it also called on the Federal Government to release, with immediate effect, ethnic struggle leaders like Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and Ralph Uwazuruike, who are currently incarcerated.


“Furthermore, we demand an immediate stop of the incessant attacks on Ateke Tom of the Niger Delta Vigilante and his property that were destroyed and seized by the government should be returned to him,” it said. It warned the Federal Government, saying “if these demands are not met within 72 hours, we would attack all foreigners in the Niger Delta. We are by this notice asking all foreigners to leave the Niger Delta in their own interest before we swing into action.”


The Army Public Relations Officer for the 2 Amphibious Brigade, Major Sagir Musa, while reacting to the threat on the telephone, described it as an empty threat, adding that it was not new and, therefore, would not deter the military from carrying out its constitutional roles to advance the interests of the nation.


“We are equal to the task anytime the need arises”, Musa said. In a related development, another militant group, the Coalition for Militant Action in the Niger Delta (COMA), has said that it will be stopping armed activities throughout the election period.


In a statement posted online to the Nigerian Tribune in Port Harcourt on Sunday and signed by its leader and spokesman, Alaye Teme, COMA said its decision was as a result of ongoing talks initiated by some persons of Ijaw origin. It, however, expressed unhappiness at the mode of selection of the Rivers State PDP governorship candidate, adding that it believed that such a selection was not in the interest of the state.


“Therefore we would like to commend the courage of Maxwell Oko, former leader of the central zone of the Ijaw Youth Council, and special assistant to the Minister of Energy, Prince Tonye Princewill, son of the Amayanabo of Kalabari and standardbearer of the Action Congress in Rivers State, in bringing us to this new decision.


“In as much as we do not intend to meddle with the dubious political process of the Nigerian state, we wish to herein condemn the selection process of the PDP in Rivers State. We believe that the selection process was dubious and corrupt. It is also our belief that the selected candidates are incompetent to productively govern Rivers State”, the group said.

Abraxas
Apr 10, 2007, 07:50 AM
Nigerian Militants Will Die For Change
By Carmen J. GENTILE
Source: UPI Energy


PORT HARCOURT, April 6 (UPI) -- Militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta are "prepared to die" in their fight against corrupt leaders who have stolen billions of dollars in oil revenue earmarked for development in the poverty-stricken region, a militant commander told United Press International in an exclusive interview Friday.

"If we all have to die, then we are prepared to die," said the tall burly militant leader known as Commander Akoko. "It's better to die trying to change things than leave them as they are."

(Click here for more .....) (http://www.upi.com/Energy/Analysis/2007/04/06/nigerian_militants_will_die_for_change/)

Abraxas
Apr 16, 2007, 10:07 AM
Militants Admit Killing 4 Soldiers

Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1779)

A group of militants operating under the name, Coalition for Militant Action (COMA), has claimed killing four soldiers of the Joint Task Force in Degema, Rivers State in retaliation of the killings in Cawthorn channel of Niger Delta youths.

This claim is coming on the heels of the lamentation of the facilitator of the Niger Delta Peace Forum, Mr. Moses Siloko Siasia of the refusal of State and Federal government to sponsor their efforts at making the armed youths drop their weapons which he blamed for the upsurge in clashes between the youths and security forces.

The militants who also threatened more attacks on the Task Force, especially members of the armed forces who participated in the said attack where at least two of the militants were gunned down said there was no hiding place for any one who shed Niger Delta blood.

COMA claimed to have compiled the list of those to come under their hammer list because of their activities against their youths which the militants said were only trying to fend for themselves before they were murdered. "We wish to inform you all that the four soldiers who were taken out in the Degema area of Rivers state were attacked in response to the cold blooded killing our some youths of Ijaw stock in the Cawthorne Channel area by men of the security forces of the Nigerian state.

"We are still haunting for other members of the Joint Task Force who perpetrated that dastard act. We will also take them out in cold blood. This has nothing to do with the elections. It has everything to do with the stupid attempt by the armed forces of the Nigerian state to undermine the potency of those who today lead the agitation for a liberated Niger Delta.

"We have been able to get the names of all members of the JTF team that carried out the cold blooded murder of the young men who were only trying to earn a living in the harsh reality of the poverty that the Nigerian state has unleashed on our people. No one will be spared in this onslaught. No one will be forgiven. You will hear more in the next few days", their spokesman, Alaye Timi said.

The Peace Forum said that with the coming Presidential polls, there was the tendency of increased attacks by the youths and regretted that their advise on how to demobilize them were totally ignored. Siasia carpeted politicians for drawing the hand of the clock back by putting weapons in the hands of the youth, pointing out that in a situation they do not have money to keep the boys in camp, the tendency becomes higher for them to fall into the temptation of the working for the politicians. In a statement, Siasia said that they have held several peace forum where they visited several camps of the groups and harped it in on them that they should lay down their arms and pursue a peaceful means of achieving their Niger Delta objectives.

He listed the places they have held workshops as Okrika, Tombia, Ogbogoro, Oporoma, Ekremor, and Gbaramatu as places where they had addressed the issues of militancy and were making gains before the financial drawbacks. ". The reformed youths expressed their willingness to remain agents of peace however, they complained over inability of the Niger Delta peace forum to provide them with the opportunity for daily sustenance, the forum initiated some strategies that will enable them achieve a desired objective particularly making sure the presidential elections will be peaceful", he said.

Abraxas
Apr 16, 2007, 07:27 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/warri%20ph.gif Disputed Poll Could Worsen Oil Disruption

Voter fury over election abuses in Nigeria's southern Delta state risks aggravating chronic violence that has badly disrupted oil production, residents and opposition leaders said on Monday.

People in most parts of the dilapidated oil city of Warri were unable to vote for a new governor and state assembly on Saturday because of lack of polling stations, residents said.

A day later the electoral body announced that the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) had won the state.

The news caused panic in the city, which has a history of inter-ethnic fighting, as young men with guns and machetes blocked roads and sped through the streets in vehicles.

The city was calm on Monday, but residents said violence would escalate unless a proper election was held.

"This is going to cause much more anarchy. All kinds of disasters can happen unless they cancel the fake result. We are ready to go to any length," said Festus Owei, a young motorboat driver based in the Miller Waterside docklands.

As he spoke, a crowd of young men gathered, showing their voters' cards and protesting that they had been disenfranchised.

"There will be war in this state! The PDP will have a war!" they shouted.

At Udu, on the outskirts of Warri, youths attacked the house of a prominent PDP supporter on polling day.

The palatial house was smashed and burned. The blackened carcasses of six cars littered the car park while ash and debris fluttered over the swimming pool and tennis court. Witnesses said at least four people were killed.

OIL

Delta is one of four major oil-producing states in the region, where roughly 2.4 million barrels are pumped every day, making Nigeria the eighth-biggest oil exporter in the world.

Delta and other oil states receive a share of government revenues from crude exports and with the rise of oil prices in the past four years, their revenue has ballooned.

But the majority of people, especially those living in villages only accessible through a maze of creeks, are mired in poverty with no clean water, electricity or job prospects.

This has spawned a generation of angry young men, easy recruits for militant and criminal gangs who attack oil facilities, kidnap foreign oil workers for money and steal crude oil from pipelines.

In Delta, a wave of attacks in February 2006 forced Royal Dutch Shell to shut down oilfields that were previously pumping 500,000 barrels per day.

Shell has been negotiating with local communities and militant groups to re-open the fields and many in Warri said a stolen election would make its task more difficult.

"You can't impose a candidate on the people and expect them to take it lying down," said Great Ogboru, who was the main opposition candidate for governor.

"Restiveness is likely to increase, ethnic violence can start again and this can escalate to issues such as hostage- taking, militancy and disruption of oil production."

Delta is particularly volatile because of underlying tensions between the Urhobo, Itsekiri and Ijaw ethnic groups that in 2003 broke out into weeks of fighting, killing scores of people and shutting down a third of Nigerian oil output.

Abraxas
Apr 17, 2007, 08:32 AM
Militants Reject Saturday's Elections

NIGER Delta militants in Nigeria's oil and gas basin, have rejected the April 14 polls, claiming that it was the worst elections in the history of Black Africa.

Their spokesperson Cynthia Whyte, in a wired statement to SCOOP on Monday said, ''we kept to our word not to breach the peace in all the states of the Niger Delta and watched closely in absolute disbelief, the failure of those who lord over the Nigerian state to learn from the mistakes of the past''.

According to her, ''over the past months, we have been inundated with requests to give dialogue and the electoral processes a chance. We conceded. However, that concession has today been overturned. We have also over turned our decision not to breach the peace''.

Continuing, the militants said the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) has proved itself to be the ''biggest wastage in recent times, squandering the badly needed resources of poverty stretched citizens of the Nigerian state on a so-called elections that smacked of perverse fraud, lack of required preparations, gross irregularities, incompetence and lack of good judgment and leadership''.

For them, the elections in Rivers state was a complete sham, representative of the quality of leadership that had governed the state thus far. Reports from Bayelsa and Delta states are not any different.

''The elections were fraught with extreme lateness, poor turnout due to frustration, lack of materials, presence of fake materials developed by dubious politicians of the ruling PDP, abduction of election materials by hired thugs in connivance with INEC officials and members of the police.

We therefore state that any attempt by INEC declare results which are not accepted by our operatives in all states of the Niger Delta will be rejected and appropriate action taken against the culprit state INEC.

We will unleash terror in infinite terms. Let us watch and see IF this will be an empty threat'', they said.

Son of the Delta
Apr 19, 2007, 11:52 AM
What Obasanjo and this partymen are taking very lightly is very dangerous for Nigeria. This election he rigged in places like Delta and Rivers can lead to the eventual dismantling of this evil banana empire called Nigeria.How on earth will people be able to bear Ibori and Odili clones in Delta and Rivers?

What does Omehia have to offer the people of Rivers a fresh round of looting with impunity and a higher degree of cult wars? God forbid. It is better for us to plunge into civil strife than to pretend that we have governments.

Homeboy
Apr 19, 2007, 02:02 PM
What Obasanjo and this partymen are taking very lightly is very dangerous for Nigeria. This election he rigged in places like Delta and Rivers can lead to the eventual dismantling of this evil banana empire called Nigeria.How on earth will people be able to bear Ibori and Odili clones in Delta and Rivers?

What does Omehia have to offer the people of Rivers a fresh round of looting with impunity and a higher degree of cult wars? God forbid. It is better for us to plunge into civil strife than to pretend that we have governments.


Okay, what is is the next plan? We all sit here and do nothing. it is all mouth and endless talk. And the so called MEND is also winking in the dark whilst all this is going on. What are they doing? In my opinion they should declare Delta/Rivers emergency states and sack these new crop of thiefs. If that fails, the NVS should set up a war chest and train an elite squad to take out these progress stoppers. The only good politician in Nigeria is a dead politician. I know a lot of Villagers will hide under their beds if I make that call but what options do we really have? Can somebody tell me?

Solid
Apr 19, 2007, 03:07 PM
Karo Akarah:

I AGREE with you 1oo%. We all want a clean society for the general good of all, but HATE to carry broom to sweep it. Lazy bunch that "joins" them later on - with their popular slogan " If you can't beat them - you join them" We live in countries where "others" did the sweeping.

Thanks,

Solid

Son of the Delta
Apr 19, 2007, 09:01 PM
Okay, what is is the next plan? We all sit here and do nothing. it is all mouth and endless talk. And the so called MEND is also winking in the dark whilst all this is going on. What are they doing? In my opinion they should declare Delta/Rivers emergency states and sack these new crop of thiefs. If that fails, the NVS should set up a war chest and train an elite squad to take out these progress stoppers. The only good politician in Nigeria is a dead politician. I know a lot of Villagers will hide under their beds if I make that call but what options do we really have? Can somebody tell me?

Sincerely speaking I am seriously thinking of what to do.But can you trust anyone on the NVS? I maybe exchanging views with Obasanjo directly all is possible! By God`s grace I will work towards a better situation for generations to come but how,when and where that I cant say even if I know I may not because there are enemies of progress everywhere trying hinder the good from taking place.

Abraxas
Apr 20, 2007, 01:28 PM
Navy deploys warships in Niger Delta.

Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1806)

Less than 48 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigerian Navy on Thursday deployed warships and patrol crafts in the creeks of Niger Delta region.

Our correspondent learnt that the deployment, handled by the NNS Delta, Warri Naval Base, was initiated to ensure hitch-free poll and safeguard strategic oil equipment in the region.

The Commanding Officer, NNS Delta, Navy Capt. Mufutau Ajibade, personally supervised the movement of personnel and equipment to various locations along the waterways in the region in Warri on Thursday.

Two warships, NNS Obula and NNS Nwamba as well as many Rapid Response Boats and In-shore Patrol Crafts sailed from the jetty of NNS Delta on Thursday morning, with full compliment of personnel, arms and ammunition.

The naval personnel and facilities were mandated to embark on regular patrol of waterways before, during and after the elections to prevent unsavoury activities capable of truncating the electoral process.

Our correspondent learnt that Forcados and Escravos in Delta State would serve as operational bases of the naval team.

The team was also mandated to keep surveillance over strategic oil installations to nip possible attacks by aggrieved persons in the bud.

Independent Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice - Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye, directed the action in view of the violence, which accompanied the outcome of last Saturday‘s governorship and House of Assembly elections in some states of the federation.

It was gathered that Adekeye was of the opinion that those dissatisfied with the outcome of next Saturday‘s elections might decide to engage the Niger Delta militants to cause unrest and attack oil installations in the region.

Auspicious
Apr 20, 2007, 10:54 PM
O ga o!

Auspicious.


Nigeria fears send oil prices up

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/42489000/jpg/_42489799_oilstocks_ap203b.jpg
The market is nervous ahead of
elections in Africa's largest producer

Oil prices have been sent higher ahead of elections in Nigeria, amid fears that a weak government could make oil supplies more vulnerable to violence.

Crude oil in London added 37 cents to $66.31 a barrel while US crude was just under a dollar higher at $62.82.

Production of around 500,000 barrels a day of oil in Nigeria - Africa's biggest producer - was cut a year ago after attacks on oil installations.

In addition fears over Iran's nuclear programme are adding to market jitters.

"We are concerned going into this weekend with the Nigerian elections," said Kevin Blemkin, a Man Financial broker.

The gap in price between the US and UK oil price is due to a recent glut of oil in the US - the world's largest consumer - but analysts say the UK price is more indicative of wider trends.

On the upside, recent data showed faster processing rates at US refineries, which helped calm market fears.

"There are easing concerns about the supply shortage in the US gasoline market," said Makoto Takeda, assistant manager at Bansei Securities.

Son of the Delta
Apr 21, 2007, 11:03 AM
I dey laik say climate dey really change for Naija!



Militants Attack Bayelsa Govt House
From Segun James in Yenagoa, 04.21.2007


Armed militants yesterday attacked Bayelsea State Government House in Yenegoa, the state capital. No lives were, however, lost in the attack.
Bayelsea State Governor and People's Democratic Party (PDP) Vice Presi-dential candidate in today's presidential elections, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was at the Creek Haven House at the time of the attack.
But an aide to the governor told THISDAY yesterday night that the governor is safe in one of the Guest Houses in the complex and that he was indeed looking ahead to today's presidential polls.
Sources told THISDAY that the attack, which started at about 6.30pm lasted for about 35 minutes. It took a combined team of soldiers and mobile policemen stationed at the complex to repel the attack.
It was gathered that in a bid to safeguard the governor, security agents had to set up a decoy to give the impression that the governor was being ferreted from the Government House.
It was not clear which militia group attacked the Bayelsea State Government House yesterday, but the attack according to a source, may not be unconnected to today's presidential polls.
"We don't know who they are, who they are working for or what their motives are, but it does seem that the attackers had the disruption of tomorrow's (today's) polls in mind," said a Government House source.
However, the situation in Yenagoa has returned to normal as people went about their legitimate businesses yesterday night without hindrance.
The source said that this is the first time that an attack by militants is being targeted at the Bayelsa State Gove-rnment House or any Ijaw interest for that matter since the reign of the militia groups in the Niger Delta region.

Culled from Thisday

Abraxas
Apr 21, 2007, 02:11 PM
Hi, folks!

Here are some recent clips from an interview conducted by a correspondent of Al-Jazeera in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, for your perusal and necessary memory upgrade.

Enjoy!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)



Ateke Tom, known as the godfather of the vigilantes in the dangerous Niger Delta, has threatened war against Nigeria's government and admitted to carrying out deadly attacks on two police stations.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Tom said his group, the Niger Delta Vigilante (NDV), is responsible for vote-rigging and death squads.
Seven police officers were killed last week at the start of local elections, and Tom vowed to continue what he calls his war on the state, as Nigeria goes to the polls this weekend to elect a new president.


In a country often ranked as the most corrupt in the world, the Niger Delta is the most corrupt region.


Click here for more ... (http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/63AD79A9-4A72-4C3C-B6C2-D125AC12A42C.htm)

Abraxas
Apr 22, 2007, 10:02 AM
Explosion Rocks Port Harcourt Polling Area
Source: Oyibosonline.com
(http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1821)
WHAT looked like explosives from dynamites and gunshots were used by suspected militants to scare away potential voters in the Marine Base Area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday.

Other irregularities, which characterised the voting, included hijacking, late arrival of materials, provision of fake result sheets and intimidation of voters by hoodlums working for some parties in many local government areas of the state.

Shortly after voting commenced in Port Harcourt, unspecified number of gunmen stormed the Marine Base area and detonated explosives suspected to be dynamites. This was followed by sporadic gunshots that lasted several minutes.

A source in the area told The Guardian that the explosions were so massive that the ground shook. He added that the shooting forced prospective voters to desert nearby polling stations for their homes.

During a visit to the area, some of the heavily armed militants were spotted in a polling station drinking beer, while no electorate dared come close. None of the security agencies was seen in the area.

When contacted, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, confirmed the shooting. He explained that there were two conflicting reports on the shooting.

One had it that militants in the state tried to wade off militants from other states that wanted to come and disrupt the polls in Rivers. The other report is that the explosive was linked to the Naval officers, who were chasing away militants.

At Omagwa, scores of armed youths, brandishing lethal weapons, were seen parading the streets of the village.

The Chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group in Rivers, Anyankwe Nsirimovu, described this as an "intimidating situation and you can see people are running away."

Armed youths suspected to be militants clashed with military men on the Buguma-Ogbakiri road. According to the Police Commissioner, the militants were preventing election results from getting to Port Harcourt. It could not be confirmed independently if there were casualties.

In Buguma, people refused to vote because the electoral officers failed to provide result sheets. The same situation occurred in parts of Ahoada West and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government areas. There was also no voting in Okrika and Ogu-Bolo.

Abraxas
Apr 23, 2007, 08:11 AM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Yenagoa.png Why We Attacked Bayelsa Government House, by Ijaw Group

A group that referred to itself simply as "Freedom Fighters from all Ijaw Territories " has claimed that it carried out the weekend attack on the Bayelsa State Government House in Yenagoa.

In a statement distributed online to media representatives and organizations, the group stated that the attack has drawn the attention of local and international community to what it described as "the ballot injustice inflicted on the Ijaws and the entire Niger-Delta" during the April 14, 2007 governorship and state legislative assembly election in the region.

According to the group, Niger-Delta would not know peace until what it called a "free-and-fair election 2007" was allowed in "all Ijaw territories" across the region.
It alleged that President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party have decided to foist whoever they wished on the Ijaw people irrespective of the feelings of the people through blatant election rigging.

The group demanded the release of Ijaw sons in detention or jailed, including Asari-Dokubo and Diepriye Alamieyeseigha.

The statement read in part:

"This operation is (sic) carried out to warn the Nigerian government of the ballot injustice inflicted on the Ijaws and the entire Niger Delta by Obasanjo and his cronies, and also, to inform the International community, and the Ijaw nation.

"By this act of attacking our one and only Ijaw state, we caution the Nigeria State and Governors within the seven Ijaw states and territories that we will tirelessly defend and protect our rights, our votes, and our resources.

"We will never accept any person imposed on Ijaws in the Niger Delta. There will be no Peace in the Niger Delta until our demands are met."

Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1827)

Son of the Delta
Apr 23, 2007, 09:03 AM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Yenagoa.png Why We Attacked Bayelsa Government House, by Ijaw Group

A group that referred to itself simply as "Freedom Fighters from all Ijaw Territories " has claimed that it carried out the weekend attack on the Bayelsa State Government House in Yenagoa.

In a statement distributed online to media representatives and organizations, the group stated that the attack has drawn the attention of local and international community to what it described as "the ballot injustice inflicted on the Ijaws and the entire Niger-Delta" during the April 14, 2007 governorship and state legislative assembly election in the region.

According to the group, Niger-Delta would not know peace until what it called a "free-and-fair election 2007" was allowed in "all Ijaw territories" across the region.
It alleged that President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party have decided to foist whoever they wished on the Ijaw people irrespective of the feelings of the people through blatant election rigging.

The group demanded the release of Ijaw sons in detention or jailed, including Asari-Dokubo and Diepriye Alamieyeseigha.

The statement read in part:

"This operation is (sic) carried out to warn the Nigerian government of the ballot injustice inflicted on the Ijaws and the entire Niger Delta by Obasanjo and his cronies, and also, to inform the International community, and the Ijaw nation.

"By this act of attacking our one and only Ijaw state, we caution the Nigeria State and Governors within the seven Ijaw states and territories that we will tirelessly defend and protect our rights, our votes, and our resources.

"We will never accept any person imposed on Ijaws in the Niger Delta. There will be no Peace in the Niger Delta until our demands are met."

Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1827)


Opu Imbre Abraxas

On a very serious note all the pipelines in the Niger Delta should be damaged.Nigeria`s capability to export oil should be destroyed because that is why our votes are being rigged. They want to make sure they can steal our wealth and mess up our land through stealing our votes.

Abraxas
Apr 24, 2007, 02:12 PM
Hi, folks!

Let me just break your concentration for a brief moment, and ask:

Why is EVERY and any criminal activity, especially politically motivated violence or/and state-sponsored brigandage that occurs in the Niger Delta region, classified by the Nigerian media as "militancy"?:eek: :redface: :rolleyes:

Why are state government-assited crimimals, so-called "cultists", or even armed robbers in Port Harcourt, Warri, or Yenegoa, always referred to as "militants" by the Nigerian media?:rolleyes: :cry: :eek:

The Nigerian media is systematically, and progressively criminalizing and militarizing the collective psyche of a whole geopolitical zone of the country, painstakingkly diabolizing and demonizing the entire territory as a SEPARATIST region, instead of focusing the attention of the public and the government on the universally accepted damning inequity that three decades of military dictatorship (of which General Obasanjo was/is an active player, in and out of service) visited SPECIFICALLY on the people of the Niger Delta region.

Enjoy, ojare, my pipul!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


Police-Militants' Clash Paralyzes Port Harcourt.

Source: oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1832)

Economic activities were temporarily suspended in Port Harcourt on Monday morning, as gunmen suspected to be militants engaged the police and other law enforcement agents in a gun battle for hours.

The shooting affected rocked parts of Azikiwe Road in Port Harcourt old Township and Abonnema Wharf Junction.

One account had it that the gunmen moved from the Borokiri area of the city to Sangana in Diobu in the early hours of the day to avenge the two persons, who were killed the previous night.

The source said that on arrival at Sangana, and not being able to locate the leader of a group they were looking for, the gunmen killed two persons believed to be closely related to the wanted man and left.

But in a bid to repel the attackers, militants from the Sangana area mobilised and blocked all roads in Diobu, including Njamanze, Abonnema and part of Ikwerre Road and engaged their attackers in a fierce battle.

The crossfire reportedly forced banks located on the roads to shut down and lock their staff in to avoid being hit by stray bullets.

Most of the banks turned back customers and referred them to other branches in the city as the bombings rocked the town.

But the police, aided by some soldiers, rushed in and fought back the militants, who retreated as they fired shots in different directions.

The Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, who confirmed the attacks, described the situation as a fight between two rival cult groups in the state.

Ogbaudu said that no fewer than seven persons might have been killed in the attacks.
But at the Rivers State-owned Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, no fewer than 10 corpses were taken to the mortuary by police patrol vans from the scenes of the attacks.

The Divisional Police Officer for the Mile One Police Station, Mr. Emma Asufi, said his men were able to contain the attackers. He said normalcy had been restored around 10 am when our correspondent visited the station.

The two cult groups were said to have disagreed on the sharing of some money given to them by some unnamed politicians.

UncleTisha
Apr 25, 2007, 03:46 PM
Edwin Clark Orders Militants To Cease Fire

Published: 2007/4/25


http://www.thenewsng.com/modules/zmagazine/article.php?articleid=15520



By Tony Orilade/ Abuja

Ijaw Leader and former Minister of Information, Chief E.K. Clark has called on militant groups in the Niger Delta to drop their guns following the victory of their kinsman, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’Adua in the 21 April presidential polls.

He made the call at the Abuja residence of Gov. Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State. Clark was the head of a formidable team of politicians and supporters who had come to felicitate with the Vice President-elect in Abuja.

“What happened last Saturday was God’s way of rewarding the faith of the Ijaw man in Nigeria. I have told my youths to ceasefire. Now that the rest of Nigeria has shown faith in us we must reciprocate by behaving in a way that we are more than worthy of such trust. The Yar’Adua/Jonathan ticket is a victory not only for the Ijaw nation but the whole of the South-South and we shall all work together for the success of the ticket,” he assured.

Chief E.K Clark further said that the Yar’Adua/Jonathan team would achieve optimum success.

He also said that this was the first fruit of the Ijaw struggle and he wished that Chief Dappa Biriye, who led the minorities to the Willink’s Commission in 1958 was alive to witness the election of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

“When they came to visit me I saw that this was a good team. If they were husband and wife, they would live forever,” he said.

Earlier in a toast, former Minister of Labour, Alabo Graham Douglas had praised Gov. Jonathan’s humility and prayed that God will give the Yar’Adua/Jonathan pair the wisdom to take Nigeria to the next level.

In his response, the Vice President-elect thanked the Ijaw leaders for the gesture and urged them to join hands in building a prosperous Nigeria for every one.

He also promised that he would work loyally with his boss.

“No Nigerian is proud of what has been happening in the Villa recently. I promise that there will not be a repeat of this between my boss and myself because none of us is interested in owing the world. We are called to serve and that is what we will do,” he said.

Those who were on the trip include Chief Ebitimi Banigo, Chief Chris Ghomorhai, Chief Francis Bruce, and the Secretary to the Government of Bayelsa State, Dr. Boladei Igali.

Other leaders from outside the Niger Delta who came to pay solidarity visit included the former Deputy Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdulahi Gandoje, Former Deputy Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ahmed Tukur and the former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Salihu Ibrahim.

Abraxas
Apr 26, 2007, 09:10 AM
Those who were on the trip include Chief Ebitimi Banigo, Chief Chris Ghomorhai, Chief Francis Bruce, and the Secretary to the Government of Bayelsa State, Dr. Boladei Igali.

Hi, folks!

Wonders shall never end on God's own beautiful earth!

Chief Ebitimi Banigo, and Chief Francis Bruce are Ijaw leaders? Zeeeeezos of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and River Jordan! Maybe, Lord Lugard did not amalgamate Nigeria in 1914, after all. Maybe, the capital of Lagos State is Zaki-Biam. Maybe my grandmother and Mother Theresa are the real owners of a high-brow brothel in Copenhagen, Denmark, dedicated to the onerous task of eradicating virginity from the surface of this sinful world of ours! Maybe, I am a paranoid butterfly that woke up from a turbulent nightmare, in which I dreamt that I was a human being that dreamt he was a beautiful butterfly, but now think that I am actually a human being that dreamt that he was a beautiful butterfly that dreamt he was a paranoid human being, (who knows?) ....... I go die-o! (I beg-i).

No be de same Ebitimi Banigo wey 'im All States Bank been collapse de orda day, wey OBJ been "soludorize"? No be de same Francis Bruce wey dey organize berra Big Girls for dem oga pata-pata dem, after every Miss Whateva Beauty contest for 9jeriya? Leaders of thought, my nyash! Niger Delta leaders my big blokos: Komkombility; original nonsense and ingredients (like salt, cra-fish, maggie, and ajinomoto) of de most unpatriotic type; beast of no nation of de lowest orda!

I hope sey no be dem been dey negoshiyate all doze multi-millyon dollar ran-some for de hostage taking industry for 9ja-delta! Wuru-wuru too mush for dem brain, including dat one wey dem call Chief E.K Clark, and his paddyman, de dumbest minister dat 9jeriya ever had, Alabo T.O.G. Graham-Douglas: all of them, harbingers and bastions of rank opportunism, pretending to be behind the operations of M.E.N.D. They are NOT.

Luckily, every village imbecile across the Niger Delta region knows very well that they are all IMPOSTORS!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Abraxas
Apr 26, 2007, 11:06 AM
Calm Returns To Port Harcourt - 6 Confirmed Dead In Gun Duel

Calm returned to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, after two days of gun duel, which left no fewer than 10 persons dead.

But the Rivers State Police Command said on Tuesday that only six persons were confirmed dead and that the situation had been contained.

Officers and men of the Mile One Police Station in Central Port Harcourt, which had cordoned off part of the Ikwerre Road since Sunday, reopened the road on Tuesday.

They also dismantled an illegal roadblock mounted by the cultists on Njamanze Street and chased away the local fighters on Monday evening.

As the police were warding off the cultists, soldiers used an Armoured Personnel Carrier to pursue another set of gunmen who stormed the city around 4pm on Monday.

The gunmen had caused a major stampede in the Diobu and Port Harcourt Township areas, as they opened fire intermittently in the mainly business-dominated areas, forcing banks and owners of other commercial concerns to close shops abruptly.

The gunmen also forced traders at the Port Harcourt Market to close and flee when they fired unceasingly from a slum adjacent the dreaded Abonnema Wharf Road and caused some of the residents to run towards the market.

As traders and buyers saw people running helplessly towards the market, they also joined the fray and ran for safety.

Some shop owners forgot to lock up their shops while buyers never waited to collect items they had already paid for as the confusion over the shootings heightened.

A trader, who gave her name as Mary Igwe, told our correspondent that she lost some money while trying to escape.

”The real confusion was that we didn‘t even know who was pursuing who and where we were running to,” a man who went to the market to shop for groceries lamented.

Findings by our correspondent revealed that the militants, identified as members of two rival cult groups, were fighting over the sharing of political booty given to them by unnamed persons.

Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Ireju Barasua, confirmed in a telephone interview that calm had returned to the city and that six persons died in the attacks.

Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=1841)

Son of the Delta
Apr 26, 2007, 02:01 PM
Hi, folks!

Wonders shall never end on God's own beautiful earth!

Chief Ebitimi Banigo, and Chief Francis Bruce are Ijaw leaders? Zeeeeezos of Bethlehem, Nazareth, and River Jordan! Maybe, Lord Lugard did not amalgamate Nigeria in 1914, after all. Maybe, the capital of Lagos State is Zaki-Biam. Maybe my grandmother and Mother Theresa are the real owners of a high-brow brothel in Copenhagen, Denmark, dedicated to the onerous task of eradicating virginity from the surface of this sinful world of ours! Maybe, I am a paranoid butterfly that woke up from a turbulent nightmare, in which I dreamt that I was a human being that dreamt he was a beautiful butterfly, but now think that I am actually a human being that dreamt that he was a beautiful butterfly that dreamt he was a paranoid human being, (who knows?) ....... I go die-o! (I beg-i).

No be de same Ebitimi Banigo wey 'im All States Bank been collapse de orda day, wey OBJ been "soludorize"? No be de same Francis Bruce wey dey organize berra Big Girls for dem oga pata-pata dem, after every Miss Whateva Beauty contest for 9jeriya? Leaders of thought, my nyash! Niger Delta leaders my big blokos: Komkombility; original nonsense and ingredients (like salt, cra-fish, maggie, and ajinomoto) of de most unpatriotic type; beast of no nation of de lowest orda!

I hope sey no be dem been dey negoshiyate all doze multi-millyon dollar ran-some for de hostage taking industry for 9ja-delta! Wuru-wuru too mush for dem brain, including dat one wey dem call Chief E.K Clark, and his paddyman, de dumbest minister dat 9jeriya ever had, Alabo T.O.G. Graham-Douglas: all of them, harbingers and bastions of rank opportunism, pretending to be behind the operations of M.E.N.D. They are NOT.

Luckily, every village imbecile across the Niger Delta region knows very well that they are all IMPOSTORS!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Hi Opu Imbre Abraxas,

Haba Chief Banigo crime no too much ooo! If his former counterparts like Saraki could be rewarded with state coffers to loot as they like for plunging their banks to ruin then I dont think releasing the guy from the EFCC cell is to big a thing!

On Alabo(Chief) Graham-Douglas being the dumbest minister then Nigeria must be the dumbest nation in the world because he has served as a minister for several times and in different capacities.i.e. Aviation,Culture&Tourism,Labour&Productivity and all what not!

Abraxas
Apr 26, 2007, 03:30 PM
Hi Opu Imbre Abraxas,

Haba Chief Banigo crime no too much! If his former counterparts like Saraki could be rewarded with state coffers to loot as the like for plunging their banks to ruin then I dont think releasing the guy from the EFCC cell is to big a thing!

On Alabo(Chief) Graham-Douglas being the dumbest minister then Nigeria must be the dumbest nation in the world because he served as a minister for several times and different capacities.i.e. Aviation,Culture&Tourism,Labour&Productivity and all what not!

Hi, my buroda, Son of the Delta!

Two wrongs do NOT make one right. Show me your boss, and I will tell you who you are!

Definitely, Governor Saraki of Kwara State callously mismanaged the investments of millions of unsuspecting Nigerians, resulting in the collapse and subsequent failure of Societe Generale Nigeria Bank (SGBN). He has since been returned as the governor of Kwara State, for two terms in office, by the good people of that state, despite the damning evidence, and gory details of his monumental fraudulence at SGBN. So too did Dr. Ebitimi Banigo mismanage the investments of the customers of All States Bank to its ultimate collapse.

If, however, Dr. Ebitimi Banigo seriously feels aggreived enough, NOTHING, I say, absofukcinglutely NOTHING, stops him from pointing out, in court, the fact that either AIG Nuhu Ribadu of the EFCC, or Professor Chukwuma Soludo of the CBN, or even General Aremu Obasanjo, may have been unduly partial towards Governor Saraki, or have been unduly unfair towards him, as a fellow failled banker. Let him go to the courts.

This has nothing to do with whether or not Dr. Banigo is an Izon, or whether or not Dr. Saraki is a Yoruba/Fulani. Furthermore, nothing, absofukcinglutely NOTHING, stops Dr. Ebitimi Banigo from contesting elections, (under PDP, of course), as governor of Bayelsa State and WIN, despite the FAILURE of his All States Bank, just like Dr. Bukola Saraki did successfully, glaringly fraudulent as his prehistory at SGBN may have been. The choice is his to take the political risk of attempting to be a governor of Bayelsa State, post-All States fiasco! No body has stopped him

However, I strongly resist the lure to sweeping generalizations, emotionalisms, and selective logic, that tend to over-simplify issues in Nigeria to a point of near-trivialization, by wanting to ethnicize any issue under consideration. All States Bank is not a Bayelsa State, or Ijaw matter, just like Societe General Bank Nigeria plc is NOT the problem of the good people of Kwara State, or the wahala of Yoruba/Fulanis worldwide. I am sure you appreciate my drift.

Yes, Alabo T.O.G. Graham-Douglas was appointed a minister severally, and in different capacities: Aviation, Culture & Tourism, Labour & Productivity, and all what not, by General Gbadamosi Babangida, General Sani Abacha, and General Okikiolakan Aremu Obasanjo, Nigeria's most diabolical despots since Lord Lugard last visited Port Harcourt Club (then called "Europian Club") in 1928!

Yes, he is the dumbest minister Nigeria ever had, because that is what the good people of Abonnema, his village of origin, think of him! He cannot even win or sponsor a local government councellorship election in Akuku Toru Local Government Area, where he originates from. So what is the big deal that he was selectively targeted to represent Rivers State's "quota" repeatedly, despite his monumental incapacity for EVEN leading his fellow villagers? So what makes this local superhero a LEADER in the context of a wider Niger Delta? Please tell me. Don't you think that it is an unfair insult on all the people of the Niger Delta region that scoundrels like these are cited as the so-called leaders of the Niger Delta region, knowing their antecidents very well?

That is the danger in so-called FEDERAL appointments from the so-called "centre", or "Abuja": it imposes the dregs of the Nigerian society, through a well-coordinated centralized continuous garbage consolidatioon and distribution mechanism called the PDP! Yes, indeed, Nigeria has been made to look like the dumbest nation in the world by the cerebrally challenged trio of Generals Babangida, Abacha, and Obasanjo, the very wicked people that kept on recycling that sonofabitch on the good people of Rivers State, just like they impossed Odili, Alamieyeseigha, Jonathan, Ibori, Igbinedion on the good people of the Niger Delta.

<marquee scrollamount="3">Nigeria under OBJ is like a soak away pit, my buroda: only the s.h.i.t. floats to the top, particularly in the Niger Delta political toilet!:rolleyes: :eek: :rolleyes: :p :D Only drastic medicine can drive horrible disease away! Let us M.E.N.D. their evil ways, before they "finish" us with their leadership.:rolleyes: :eek: :rolleyes: :p :D:rolleyes::rolleyes:</marquee>
Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Son of the Delta
Apr 26, 2007, 08:10 PM
Opu imbre I do agree with all you said! These clowns are celebrating the victory of Yar´Adua but what do our people stand to gain from the whole stuff? I think what we need most in the Niger Delta is the right to choose our leaders. Unfortunately the Nigerian state is underestimating the determination of the people of the region. Think of it Mr/Miss A is infected with Hiv/Aids and is offered a contract of being a suicide bomber in the Niger Delta dont you think such a person will jump at such a opportunity? My advice to Obasanjo and his gang of criminals is that they should allow elections to take place in the region. They should cancel the results of this selection because it is already being viewed as an attempt by the leadership of the P.D.P to install their conduits in the region.

In the case of Nigeria even three wrongs makes something right!

Look at how the Ibadan strongman is waxing stronger! The Niger Delta has to beat the Nigerians at their game of tribalism,corruption and violence if they have to survive!

Opu Imbre at times we need to be also realistic! Obasanjo said we from the Niger Delta are lazy. Why? because we have got no access to our oil wealth.

Who in Nigeria did not get rich from political patronage? If there is no oil money to steal will Obasanjo be a billionaire?

I think our people should try to find ways to engage themselves in bunkering if the Nigerian state refuses to allow them into the industry.Totally destroying the industry should also be considered by the Niger Deltans if Nigeria does not want them around. I see no reason why other Nigerians should be getting things like oil blocs, refineries e.t.c. and we are getting nothing!

Everything should be blown up and let us see if Obasanjo would not suddenly change to a lazy man!

Abraxas
Apr 26, 2007, 09:14 PM
Hi, my buroda, i'mbre, Son of the Delta!

I agree with you, in toto small, but Alabo T.O.G. Graham-Douglas (alias Ete), Alabo Francis Bruce (alias De Boy Is Good), Alabo (Dr.) Ebitimi Banigo (alias Bank Manazer), and Alabo Edwin K. Clark (alias Old Soja) are all part of the problem with the Niger Delta. These are some of the several scoundrels of the Niger Delta, the type Ken Saro-Wiwa called the "vultures", that had been the buffer between the opressors of the Niger Delta region, on behalf of the opressors, and the people of that massively short-changed region: short-changed by the likes of these fellows under deliberation here.

I hope you know that the list of such "vultures" of the Niger Delta is not restricted in any way to these vermin we are discussing here: they are legion! But at least, the first step should be to identify, and isolate them for further necessary corrective actions.

Watch out in the coming weeks and months, and you will enjoy the drama that will progressively unfold in your very face, in the Niger delta region, between the people and their local oppressors and colonizers. Theirs is a fate worse than those of abducted expatriates, that most people have come to take for granted must always end without fatalities.

Watch out, my buroda. M.E.N.D. go straighten dem bend-bend head, nyash, and big fat stomachs well-well. Just watch out. We go see tomorrow, sha!

Muchas gracias, mi amigo.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Son of the Delta
Apr 28, 2007, 10:58 AM
Yes Opu Imbre vultures cannot be accepted in any society! As you rightly said some of these people cannot be described as community leaders not to talk of Ijaw or Niger delta leaders!

The election results are out the puppets are in but I dont think Nigeria will know any peace unless the wishes of the people are met. In essence what I mean is that the puppets have to transform themselves into champions of the peoples cause or the peoples leaders have to be given the chance to represent their people.

It is time the cannibals from Aso rock and their scavengers from the region have to look for another job! The torment is enough and has got to stop.

As you said the banks of people like Banigo are national issues which is very true! However in the true sense of it nothing in Nigeria is treated as national.This attitude has caused much of Nigeria`s woes.This act of "they" and "us". If people thought differently the bank reforms would have different, if people thought differently the Niger Delta would not have been suffering today.If we did not think in that way more Ijaws should have been in the navy because that is their natural area of specialization.We can go on and on. Nigeria is too divided in this them and us stuff.

Son of the Delta
Apr 28, 2007, 11:00 AM
Na wa ooooooooooo!



Militants Kill Mobile Policemen In PH



28th April




By Ubokikwan Gabriel

Reporter, Port Harcourt

Two mobile policemen attached to an oil servicing company in Rivers State were on Friday morning gunned down in Port Harcourt by militants dressed in army uniform.

Witnesses said the policemen were escorting foreign expatriates and driving along the Reclamation road toward the Ibeto cement factory road at about 7.30 a.m. when they came in contact with unknown militants dressed in army uniform.

Sources said while some of the militants were in the bushes along the road, one of them stood on the road pretending to be controlling traffic wearing army uniform and bathroom slippers.

On sighting the oncoming cars carrying the expatriates, the one on the road was said to have waved down the cars, and in no time, those in the bush rushed out and fired at the policemen while the driver carrying the expatriates sped off.

The names of the policemen were given as Sergeant Maimaku Malu and Corporal Nehemiah Tailor.

Mrs. Ireju Barasua, Rivers police public relations officer, while confirming the story, also called on members of the public to be more apprehensive of the environment and alert the police appropriately.

She wondered how those who live along Ibeto road could see someone with army camouflage with bathroom slippers controlling traffic, without realising that such dressing was improper, which could have alerted them to call the security agencies.

Abraxas
Apr 30, 2007, 09:12 PM
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<table class="MsoNormalTable" style="width: 100%;" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody><tr style=""> <td style="padding: 0in;"> Guide to the Armed Groups Operating in the Niger Delta - Part 2

By [URL="http://jamestown.org/terrorism/analysts.php?authorid=402"]James Briggs (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/uploads/TM_005_008.pdf)

[I]Part 1 of this article (http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?issue_id=4070) can be found in Issue 7 of Terrorism Monitor.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) first burst onto the international stage in December 2005, when it blew up Shell's Opobo pipeline in Delta state. It followed with several high profile group kidnappings, further bombings and attacks on oil installations that left many dead. Apart from its devastating impact on Nigerian oil production, the initial bombing garnered attention because the militants had carried out an action that did not benefit them directly financially - unlike kidnappings or oil bunkering. MEND's strategic placement of the bombs, which took out nearly a quarter of Nigeria's oil production, showed an intricate knowledge of the thousands of miles of pipelines that may well have been gathered in previous bunkering operations.

Structure

There are no card-carrying militant members of MEND. Like most of the groups with long, politically idealistic names - the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force (NDPVF) or the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters - it draws on the same pool of fighters from communities across the delta, ethnic militias in the west and cults (partially absorbed into the NDPVF or the Niger Delta Vigilantes) in the east. It does, however, use recognized leaders to control each of the three main states and each leader has a deputy. MEND's flexible structure allows it to channel arms and funds across the delta to regions where it is concentrating operations. It differs from the cults and the ethnic militias because its kidnappings appear primarily motivated by publicity rather than ransom (although money often changes hands) and by placing its struggle in a social rather than ethnic context [1].

For example, "Mike" from Gbaramatu can fight for MEND one day, rig an election for his local government chief the next, kidnap a foreigner for ransom and get in a cult clash on Saturday. He can be, but is not necessarily, a militant, a political enforcer, a criminal and a gang member all at the same time. He can be motivated by money, a sense of injustice, reprisals against his community by the military, or fear of attack from a rival gang. All of these loyalties overlap, meaning that his political patron will protect him from the police when he kidnaps a foreigner, and he can call on his brothers in the cult to come and fight with him for MEND. He can fight for MEND one day and the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) the next. This is the source of a lot of the confusion over conflicting MEND statements.

Case Study

When 24 Filipinos were abducted from the Bacoliner ship earlier this year and threatened with execution in Delta state, many were confused by apparently conflicting statements both claiming and denying that the attack was conducted by MEND. The MEND leader, known by his nom de guerre Jomo Gbomo, disclaimed the attack from a recognized e-mail address. "We do not attack cargo vessels, issue ultimatums nor do we execute hostages in our custody without good reason," he said. Another MEND spokesman, however, appeared using another email address, claiming that the attack had been carried out by members of MEND and threatened to execute the hostages.

A close study of the demands issued by the second spokesman, which included the replacement of the ruling party's gubernatorial candidate, reveals that they were far more politically specific demands than previously issued by Gbomo. The demands echoed a series of advertisements and interviews taken from Nigerian newspapers by local chiefs, including Ijaw chief Edwin Clark, demanding Delta state Governor James Ibori's cousin Emmanuel Uduaghan step down as the gubernatorial candidate (Vanguard, March 6). <st1:place w:st="on">Clark</st1:place> has often called for more oil revenues to be diverted to the Ijaw people and was frequently linked to members of FNDIC. The articles and advertisements pointed out, correctly, that the corrupt Delta government had failed to provide even the most basic services for its citizens during the last eight years. The signatories protested that Uduaghan would probably continue the tradition.

Thus, the Bacoliner attack was carried out using FNDIC affiliated fighters who had previously fought for MEND. They may have called themselves MEND because that has greater resonance with the media and perhaps because MEND supplied the weapons. Certainly, the CNN report that was shown in February was filmed with these fighters. The report helped spark a warning from the U.S. Embassy of further attacks, which drove up oil prices by more than a dollar when it was released. The effect of the report on oil prices underlines the ability of the militants to manipulate the media and oil prices merely by making threats. The fighters subsequently claimed to have seized explosives (actually destined for commercial use) from the boat. They said they were destined for political use. Despite public assurances to the contrary, security sources say that a large ransom was paid [2].

Modus Operandi

MEND's masked fighters in matching body armor are better organized and more disciplined than Alhaji Dokubo-Asari's flip-flop wearing boys, and their spokesman Jomo Gbomo is far more skilled at media manipulation [3]. He issues e-mail messages to confirm or deny attacks and occasionally to warn of an impending bomb. MEND set off five car bombs in 2006 - one at a refinery, one at a military barracks (which killed two people), one at a state government house and two in the car parks of oil companies. "Bombs...were triggered by cell phone and were a cocktail of military and commercial explosives...The operative in one location reported a concentration of civilians at his location and that bombing was aborted at the very last minute to prevent loss of innocent lives," the group said [4].

MEND has repeatedly stressed that their aim is not to kill civilians or even Nigerian armed forces personnel, but to force oil companies to leave the delta and to economically paralyze <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>, forcing reform. The December car bombs appeared to use about five pounds of explosives each, enough to destroy the car, but not to cause much damage to the surroundings. They appeared to be parked out of the way of normal civilian traffic. Militants have said that the deaths of two people at the military camp were caused by the car bomb detonating prematurely.

Most fighters are issued a Kalashnikov or another assault rifle, although there are also plenty of General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs). A researcher who tracks weapons from the delta says that significant quantities of new and heavier arms are being distributed throughout the delta [5]. Several researchers in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City> believe that MEND simply provides money and weapons for specific operations to pre-existing groups and brokers alliances between them [6].

MEND typically holds hostages longer than most other groups and kidnaps more people at a time. The initial batches of four and nine oil workers were held for several weeks; the latest ended with the release of two Italian hostages last month who had been held for 99 days, a record for <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Nigeria</st1:place></st1:country-region>. Gbomo frequently issues press releases and photos of the hostages to ensure they are kept in the news. He denies that MEND solicits ransoms, although he admits to "confiscating" over half a million dollars offered by oil company Agip during the most recent kidnapping and that his fighters "freelance" when not engaged on MEND missions [7]. He also says that MEND encourages the proliferation of smaller, criminal gangs that take hostages for purely financial reasons, saying that the actions of such gangs help MEND in their quest to make the delta "ungovernable" [8].

Expansion

After Asari was put in prison and rival gang leader Ateke Tom was declared wanted, Ateke's former number two, Soboma George, stepped in to fill the power vacuum. Soboma leads a large breakaway faction of the Icelanders known as the Outlaws [9]. He fell out with Ateke after he was charged with murder and Ateke did not do enough to help him. He subsequently escaped from jail and began to work against his former boss. In January of this year, Soboma was arrested for a traffic violation. Police later admitted that they had no idea whom they had detained and it appears unlikely that Soboma would have been arrested if they had [10]. Within hours, more than 50 heavily armed militants stormed the prison, which lies in the heart of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City> and is minutes from the main police station and military camp. They appeared to face little resistance as most of the buildings around the prison were not marked by heavy gunfire.

After Soboma's release, MEND issued a statement saying that he was a "senior commander" in the movement [11]. Subsequently, foreign journalists met with Soboma, senior militants and a government official on the outskirts of <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City>. Many believe factions within the state government are seeking to use Soboma against Ateke just as they used Ateke against Asari. Police say that Soboma is heavily involved in crime, including kidnappings, gang warfare and narcotics [12]. Prior to his arrest, however, he was able to move around the city relatively freely, despite the outstanding murder charge. Former gang members say the alliance between MEND and the Outlaws (and defected Icelanders) is significant because it has a deliberate strategy of infiltrating urban areas with fighters who have traditionally been based in the creeks.

Conclusion

Before the April elections, MEND said that the polls would not affect their ultimate aim of resource control. While that may be true for their main spokesman, it is obvious that several of the groups that MEND collaborates with had a vested interest in the Nigerian election. Money or weapons supplied by MEND for other operations may have been turned against political opponents and their supporters during the polls.

It remains to be seen whether or not MEND will be a long-term force in the delta. So far, it has bequeathed local groups with heavier weapons, better organization and more sophisticated tactics, as well as linking up smaller groups that previously operated independently. In the mercenary world of Niger Delta fighters, such alliances are always subject to change and it is likely that the government will continue its tactics of co-opting senior militants with cash payments or positions and sending the military after those who will not submit. MEND's relatively small leadership structure means it is vulnerable to changes in top personnel. If that happens, however, it is common to subcontract fighters, meaning that several heavily armed militias will remain, ready to fight for the next would-be leader. If MEND disappears, another would-be umbrella organization will eventually take its place in the same way that MEND replaced the NDPVF. As long as the delta remains underdeveloped and corrupt, increasingly bloody battles will be fought over the oil industry since it is the only source of funds.

Notes

1. Author e-mail correspondence with Jomo Gbomo, spokesman for MEND, 2006.
2. Author interview with private security contractors, <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Lagos</st1:place></st1:City>, 2007.
3. Author interview with MEND militants, 2006; author interview with Alhaji Dokubo-Asari, 2004.
4. Author e-mail correspondence with MEND spokespeople, 2006.
5. Author interview with a Geneva-based organization, 2007.
6. Author interview with a local conflict resolution organization headquartered in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Port Harcourt</st1:place></st1:City>, 2007.
7. Author e-mail correspondence with MEND spokespeople, 2006.
8. It should be noted that despite frequent complaints over lack of clean water, schools, clinics and rhetoric about redistributing wealth, there is not a single recorded instance of a militant group ever spending money on a project to develop their own community.
9. Author interview with former senior Icelander commander, 2007.
10. Author interview with an officer from the station in which Soboma was held, 2007.
11. Author e-mail correspondence with MEND spokespeople, 2007.
12. Author interview with Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu, 2007. <o:p></o:p>
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</td> </tr> <tr style=""> <td style="padding: 0in;"> Source: Terorrism Monitor; (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373350) Volume 5 Issue #8; (26 April 2007) (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373350)<o:p></o:p> (http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2373350)

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Abraxas
May 1, 2007, 11:07 AM
BREAKING NEWS: Mother of Rivers State Governor-Elect Abducted!


Ubima, Rivers State, NIGERIA. @10:47am 01-May-2007: In what seems to some observers as a "revenge abduction", the mother of Sir Celestine Omehia (JP), the Rivers State Governor-elect, was kidnapped from her village of origin, in Ubima Autonomous Community, Rivers State, near Owerri, Imo State.

The news about the kidnap episode was broken by the Rivers State Police Commissioner who stated that the mother of the newly elected Governor of Rivers State, Sir (Barrister) Celestine Omeiha (JP), was abducted last night, at about 7:00 pm, by some yet to be identified armed bandits.

Incidentally, feelers from Ubima Autonomous Community, Rivers State, near Owerri, claim that the Rivers State wing of the PDP Hired Assassins' Caucus (PHAC) recently out-sourced a kidnapping/abduction contract, that provided kidnap services, in which an Action Congress (AC) politician's very old father, mother, and sister were taken as hostages, and told that they would be killed if the AC talked about election rigging in Rivers State again. (Seems kind of like "tit-for-tat: butter for fat" to me!).

Or could it be that the "boys" (i.e. the armed personal thugs/potential future "militants") of the palpably corrupt and visibly embattled Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Right Honourable (Ha-ha-ha!) Rotimi Amaechi, are at it again: delivering mayhem, bedlam, and pure havoc, all in the name of "consolidating democracy"?

No demands have been made yet, although unconfirmed reliable reports say that two (2) other persons were also abducted from Sir (Barrister) Celestine Omehia's family home, in his village of origin. No further details are available right now.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

denker
May 1, 2007, 12:33 PM
N/Delta militants (MEND) endorse Yar'Adua


VINCENT ADEKOYE, Benin


MOVEMENT for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has thrown its weight behind the election of Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as President and Vice president-elect, respectively.


It described those calling for the cancellation of the results of April poll as disgruntled elements stressing that such calls would be registered by the group.


MEND in a communiqué issued at the end of an emergency plenary meeting in Warri, Delta State on Monday, upheld the outcome of the presidential election, and warned the senate leadership not to throw the country into crisis through unguarded utterances.


The group also said the Niger Delta ethnic nationalities including all resistance organizations would resist the temptation and evil machination of the National Assembly to impose an Interim National Government (ING) on the people of Nigeria, adding that, the agitation of the Senate was a deliberate ploy to deprive the Niger Delta people the opportunity to be part of the country's policy making.


The communiqué, which was signed by Commander Tare Ebimobowei and General Oweifa Ombu however alerted Nigerians of plans by some politicians to plunge the nation into crisis and escape with their families to foreign countries for safety while they leave the children of other people to suffer and die.


Condemning the statement credited to the Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, on the clandestine overtures by him as the head of the National Assembly to foist an interim government of Nigeria, MEND further warned that any attempt to cancel or change the results of the elections as they stand now would not only throw the country into confusion but may portend grave danger to the existence of the country. Noting that there might be some hitches and inadequacies in processing the last election, the group maintained that the situation does not demand outright cancellation of the election.



"Since our political independence, there has been series of transitional upheavals and that at this material time, it would be absurd if not ridiculous for certain interests and more importantly some of the defeated presidential candidates of some political parties, to fan the embers of discord and promote instability across the country,"

Abraxas
May 1, 2007, 08:15 PM
Hi, my buroda, Ithinkbetter!

The so-called communiqu&#233; issued at the end of a purported emergency plenary meeting of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D.) in Warri, Delta State on Monday, 30 April 2007, supposedly signed by a so-called "Commander" Tare Ebimobowei and another bogus "General" Oweifa Ombu is the figment of the very fertile imagination of some members of the geriatric wing of the PDP "Think Tank": It is a lie!

As a matter of fact, they could be card-carrying stalwarts of the PDP Hired Assassins' Caucus (PHAC)!

Please find below, some very interesting news on the subject mater of the above lie, from Reuters in Nigeria, for your information and necessary further memory upgrade!

Muchas gracias, my good friend.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)



Militants Kidnap Six Foreign Oil Workers Off-shore Nigeria.
By Tume Ahemba

Source: Reuters Tuesday, May 1, 2007 @12:54PM EDT
(http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSL0158066220070501)
LAGOS (Reuters) - A Nigerian militant group said it abducted six foreign oil workers in an attack on Tuesday on an oil vessel on the Penington River in southern Bayelsa state.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta said the kidnappings were to counter reports that it was in support of Nigeria's president-elect Umaru Yar'Adua and his deputy Goodluck Jonathan, who is also the governor of Bayelsa state.

MEND, which says it is fighting for more local control over the Niger Delta's oil wealth, said the attack should also serve as a warning to Shell over its return to oilfields previously attacked by the group.

MEND identified the hostages taken in the assault on U.S. energy giant Chevron's offshore loading terminal as Italians Raffele Pascariello, Alfonso Frawza, Ignazio Gugliota and Mario Celetano, American John Stapleton, and Croat Juricha Ruic.

"The hostages will be released unconditionally on May 30, 2007," MEND said in an email statement. It added that this would be possible only if oil companies and the government do not try to secure their release by offering ransom.

Security sources said at least one Nigerian was killed in the raid on the vessel, called Oloibiri after Nigeria's first oil well, is operated by Chevron.

"The militants shot one navy personnel and compelled the crew to throw a rope down to give them access by using dynamite," one security source said.

The attack forced Chevron to shut down 15,000 barrels per day of output at a small offshore oilfield, a company spokesman said in London. Nigeria's oil output has been reduced by 500,000 barrels per day, or a fifth of production capacity, since a series of raids on Royal Dutch Shell oilfields in February 2006 forced their closure.

SEPARATE ABDUCTION

In a separate incident, unknown gunmen abducted the mother of Rivers state governor-elect Celestine Omeiha from her village near Africa's oil heartland of Port Harcourt, police said. The abduction is apparently a fall-out from the April 14 state elections -- which monitors said were marred by fraud -- because Niger Delta militants rarely kidnap Nigerians.

In the Niger delta, an increasing number of armed groups demanding jobs, benefits or control of oil revenues have attacked industry facilities, kidnapped expatriate staff and fought with security forces.

But the lines between militancy and crime are blurred in the delta, a vast wetlands in southern Nigeria that accounts for all oil production from the world's eighth biggest exporter but where people are desperately poor and frustrated.

Some groups have taken hostages to press political demands but numerous "freelance" kidnappers have seized foreigners to extract cash from their companies or from government.

Most hostages are released unharmed after a few days although some have been kept in captivity for months and two have been killed in failed attempts by troops to free them.

Thousands of foreign workers and their relatives have fled the Niger Delta since the start of a wave of attacks on oil facilities and kidnappings of foreigners in late 2005.


(Additional reporting by Randy Fabi in London, Roberto Landucci in Rome, Austin Ekeinde in Port Harcourt and Tom Ashby in Lagos)

&#169; Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.

Abraxas
May 5, 2007, 04:34 PM
"Militants" Kidnap more Oil Workers!

Source: Reuters. (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L05523320.htm)

"Trident 8", a Transocean Jack-up Rig working for Conoil offshore in Sangana near Brass, Bayelsa State was this morning, Saturday, May 05, 2007 at about 0520 hrs attacked by "militants". The security coordinator of the rig, a Briton, and one Nigerian, were reportedly kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

Meanwhile, another rig, the "Noble Don Walker" rig, has gone into immediate evacuation, as precautionary measure. The "Noble Don Walker" rig is about 8 nautical miles from the "Trident 8" rig. Also, Agip Brass Terminal was also attacked this morning by armed militants. Details of this attack are sketchy.

originally thought to be two victims ).

Initial usually reliable reports from the source said that at approx 05:00hrs, the "Trident 8" jack up rig was reported to have been stormed, possibly with two expatriate hostages having been taken. However, luckily, the second expatriate was found hiding.

In a separate incident at appox 06:00hrs, armed "militants" are said to have attacked the Agip Brass Terminal. No reports of abductions from that location at this time.

Abraxas
May 7, 2007, 07:59 AM
MEND Orders Foreign Oil Company Staff Out of the Niger Delta

Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (M.E.N.D.), has issued a fresh order on foreign oil workers and their Nigerian counterparts working with multinational oil companies in the Ijaw territory to vacate the area immediately or have themselves to blame, saying that the time it gave the Federal Government to dialog with the Ijaw nation on the Niger-Delta problem had expired.

MEND warned that this time, it would strike mercilessly, stressing: "The joke is over. We have no option than to take our destiny in our very hands and liberate ourselves by any means necessary. May Egbesu guide us and strengthened our resolve. We call on all Ijaw at home and in Diaspora to be on the red alert to the unfolding dimension of the struggle".

In a statement signed by two of its top leaders: Tamuno Godswill and Oyinye Alaebi , the group said after re-appraising the sufferings of the Ijaws in the Nigerian project, particularly under the Obasanjo government in the past eight years, it was clear that they must take some drastic actions before things go out of hand, pointing out that the people would not be deceived with the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from the South-South as Vice President.

Copies of the statement were sent to the Secretary-General, United Nations, President, European Union, President of the United States, George Bush, Mr. Tony Blair,Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Mr. Jacques Chirac, President of France, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan and Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Federal Republic of Germany .

It reads in part: " All foreign and local national working with multinational oil companies and their contractor should vacate the Ijaw territory immediately. All foreign embassies should withdraw their nationals from our homelands. NUPENG and PENGASSAN should call back their staff from our territory. MEND assures that nothing can protect them and they will not stand the "heat". No more hostages taking. Any national caught shall be summarily dealt with".
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Militants Threaten to Blow Up Omoku Gas Turbine

Militants under the aegis of Coalition for Militant Action (COMA) have vowed to blow up the over N60 billion Omoku gas turbine should anti-corruption agencies in the country fail to arrest Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State after may 29, 2007.

This is as the State government has said in a statement that Power Holdings of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Distribution zone has confirmed the coverage of 60 percent of the city from power generated from Omoku gas turbine.

In a statement sent online by the Commander of COMA, Mr. Alaye Teme, the militants said they were miffed at the lack of development in the eight year tenure of Odili which they said had received N1.24 trillion from the Federal Government as allocation within the period.

They said the reason they were giving the government and anti-corruption agencies till May 29 was to test if the agencies were just doing the biddings of President Olusegun Obasanjo or if it was paying a blind eye to some while pursuing others.

"We wish to inform the Nigerian state and its people that we will attack and destroy the Omoku Gas turbine station any time after May 29, 2007 if Peter Odili is not arrested and convicted by the anti-corruption agencies of the Nigerian state.

"Peter Odili's eight year tenure in Rivers state and changed nothing. He built a good house for himself and his goons and that was all. He squandered N1.24 trillion in that period. No man should forgive such wickedness.

Any attempt by the Nigerian state and those who have partaken in the chop-chop of Rivers money to shield Odili from prosecution and persecution will be eternally condemned.

"At that time, it will be much too clear to us if and whether these anti-corruption agencies are real or mere secret police of the Obasanjo junta. We will keep faith with destiny", they vowed.

Abraxas
May 16, 2007, 08:45 AM
Protest cuts another 170,000 bpd

Protesters have occupied an oil facility in Nigeria's restive southern region, causing oil production cuts of 170,000 barrels per day in the latest disruption to hit Africa's biggest producer, a spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC said on Tuesday.

Precious Omuku said the company had started negotiations with the youths inside the facility in Ogoniland, in restive southern Nigeria. He did not give details on when the occupation began.

"We don't know what their grievances are," he said.

The attack is the latest incident in a series of bombings, kidnappings and protests that have slashed production by nearly 1 million barrels per day in Africa's largest oil exporter, representing around one-third of its total capacity.

Omuku said that 137,000 barrels of the shut-down production belonged to a Shell subsidiary and the remaining 33,000 belonged to other parties that used Shell infrastructure.

Omuku said the protesters had taken over a manifold, which is an oil-pipeline intersection.

No oil has been pumped in Ogoniland since the region was gripped by widespread protests over exploitation and environmental degradation, leading to the execution of nine community leaders by Nigeria's then-military government in 1995.

However, the tiny region, home to less than 500,000 of Nigeria's 140 million citizens, is still crisscrossed with an aging network of pipelines carrying crude toward export terminals. Frequent oil spills in the region anger citizens and have sparked earlier protests.

Occupying oil facilities is a common form of protest in the volatile Niger Delta region, which remains deeply impoverished despite producing tens of billions in oil revenues every year.

Since no foreign oil company is currently active in Ogoniland, the region has not seen the kidnappings and attacks on foreign workers that have plagued production in much of the rest of the Delta region.

Around 100 foreign workers have been kidnapped since the beginning of the year and last week the region's largest militant group bombed three pipelines leading to a major export terminal, helping send crude prices higher in world markets.

Nigeria is one of the world's top 10 exporters of crude and a key source of oil imports for the United States.

Abraxas
May 23, 2007, 02:17 AM
Militants Promise To Aid Release of Kidnapped Agip Manager

To clear its name of criminal actions in the name of ‘the Niger Delta struggle', the Joint Revolution Council (JRC), which is the umbrella body of the militant groups in the region, has vowed to find and effect the release of the Human Resource Manager of Nigeria Agip Oil Company Mr. Ifeanyi Obike, who was abducted in Port Harcourt last week.


In a statement sent online to journalists in Port Harcourt by the JRC leader and spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte, yesterday, the group denied involvement in the abduction, just as it advised corporate companies in the region to be true to their social responsibilities in the region.


The group also promised to reward companies which continued to show genuine commitment to the well being and development of the people of the region.


"On behalf of the Joint Revolutionary Council comprising the Reformed Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force, The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta & The Martyrs Brigade, I wish to inform the good people of the Nigerian state and the international community that Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) and its alliance members were not responsible for the hostage taking and keeping of the human resource manager of AGIP who was taken in the early hours of Monday.


"It is imperative that oil corporates operating in the Niger Delta adhere to the dictates of corporate social responsibility that they so loudly proclaim," the release said.

Abraxas
May 29, 2007, 09:55 PM
Rival militants clash over American hostages; 5 kidnapped

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Vanguard Newspapers.

WARRI - FIVE members of the Niger Delta Freedom Fighters (NDDF), aka Egbema One, the militant group that abducted four American oil workers of Global Industries, May 8, have been kidnapped following a gun battle in the early hours of Sunday with militants from the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND). MEND members had invaded the den of the Egbema One in the creek in a daring bid to rescue the hostages.

The five Egbema One fighters who were captured by MEND operatives were reportedly being held by the MEND in its own den. An unconfirmed reports yesterday said two or three others escaped from their captors while they were being taken to MEND's campground.

Vanguard learnt that before the raid by MEND, which accused the NDDF of undermining the Niger Delta struggle by allegedly demanding payoff for the release of the hostages, its high command had made an overture to the NDDF to release the hostages but the latter refused, saying they did not know the motive behind MEND's action.

MEND reportedly went back to the NDDF den after the Sunday offensive to ask for the handover of the hostages but the Egbema One called its bluff, resulting in a stalemate that has now put the life of the four hostages - Messrs. Mike Roussel (anchor operator), Chris Gay (anchor operator), Kelvin Faller (barge foreman) and Larry Plake (anchor operator) - in serious jeopardy.

MEND threatens to hand over militant hostages to JTF

A competent source hinted, yesterday, that MEND might consider handing over the NDDF captives to the Joint Military Task Force (JMTF) in the Niger Delta if NDDF refused to release the hostages.

NDDF confirms MEND attack

A member of the NDDF confirmed to Vanguard when contacted on Sunday that MEND operatives actually invaded their camp, asking them to release the four American oil workers, who work for an oil servicing company to the Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).

"But they were trying to use force and we cannot succumb to that. If they want them released without meeting our demands, we want to know why but I want to assure you that nobody can take them by force from us or everybody will die, including the hostages. In fact, they are endangering the lives of the hostages with their action..

"They (MEND) sent some people to our camp in the early hours of Sunday. They took five of our men away and damaged our boat without provocation but we did not want to reply them, otherwise there would have been cataclysm in the creek.

"We are brothers and we don't want to fight our brothers but we cannot release the hostages to them and nobody can take the hostages away alive from this camp without discussing with us," he said.

Why we attacked NDDF - MEND

A top official of MEND who spoke to Vanguard on the development said the group had received complaints from Egbema One leaders and other Ijaw leaders in the Niger Delta on the activities of the NDDF, which was allegedly asking for money to release the hostages, saying: "MEND is against that. We don't kidnap for money and we have restated this point over and over.

"Some of these boys are giving a bad name to the struggle and we don't want that. In fact, we want to sanitise the system and stop all these people who are giving Niger Delta a bad name. MEND has never kidnapped without a reason. Never mind those who do all manner of things and say they are from MEND, it is not true. We only take hostages when it is necessary and we don't attach monetary demands to their release," he said.

Vanguard confirmed that some Ijaw leaders from Egbema kingdom actually complained to MEND on the activities of the NDDF and it was following their complaints that the group intervened.

However, the leader of the NDDF dismissed the allegation that the group was asking for ransom before the release of the hostages, saying: "You (Vanguard) came to our den, we allowed you and we told you our demands, we never mentioned money. We told you that we want development and that the Chevron Oil Company should sign agreement with us on what they want to do to develop our area with the government as an observer."

He said it was not true as reported in one of the national dailies that the NDDF was asking for N500 million ransom before the hostages could be freed.


Commander of the JMTF, Brigadier-General Lawrence Ngubane, told Vanguard when contacted on phone, yesterday, that he was not aware of the offensive by MEND against the NDDF, saying he would be happy if the militants realised on their own that taking of hostages was not doing the image of Niger Delta any good.

Officials of the CNL who were also reached by Vanguard said they were not aware of the raid by the MEND on the NDDF camp in its bid to release the four American oil workers.

Abraxas
May 30, 2007, 02:12 PM
Pipeline Attack Cuts Shell Oil Output

Royal Dutch Shell said on Wednesday 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production was halted by villagers who sabotaged a major export pipeline in Nigeria for the second time this month. Community members stormed the Bomu pipeline complex, which is a major artery feeding the Bonny crude export terminal, prompting the partial shutdown of the Trans-Niger pipeline on Tuesday, a company spokesman said.

"Youths from the K-Dere community started to spoil the environment by opening some pressure indicator valves. Consequently, we had to shut in some of the oil production," he said.

The same protesters, from the Ogoni area of the anarchic Niger Delta, had attacked the same pipeline hub on May 10 and occupied it for six days, forcing a 170,000 bpd closure.
"It's the same group of boys who occupied the facility last time. They say Shell has broken the agreement it had with them and that's why they decided to occupy it again," said Blessing Kolzor, a community leader in K-Dere.

The protesters want a stake in the oil flowing through Ogoni, an area where Shell suspended production 14 years ago because of popular protests. There is no production in Ogoni but the area is still criss-crossed by oil pipelines.

Shell had only just resumed normal production levels at its 400,000 bpd Bonny terminal before Tuesday's attack. Exports remained under a force majeure, a legal measure exempting Shell from its contractual export obligations.

The latest disruption brings to 845,000 bpd, or one-third of capacity, the volume of oil production shut by a wave of unrest in Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil exporter.

Tola Odejayi
May 30, 2007, 02:32 PM
All this is 'Liberation Politics'?

Sounds more like a catalogue of acts of violence.

Oh well, I guess I still have to wait a while before I hear a well articulated and realistic list of goals from any of these 'freedom fighters' in the Delta.

Abraxas
May 30, 2007, 04:14 PM
All this is 'Liberation Politics'?

Sounds more like a catalogue of acts of violence.

Oh well, I guess I still have to wait a while before I hear a well articulated and realistic list of goals from any of these 'freedom fighters' in the Delta.

Hi, Shoko Loko Bangoshe!

You are absolutely correct!

For some warpped reason or the other, the government of General Obasanjo seemded to understand and empathize strictly with the language of violence, the daily catalogue of which is being dutifully collated from various sources, for the information and records of Villagers, on this thread.

Interestingly, the goal of WELL-ARTICULATED, sustained, and structured acts of violence is the collapse of the Nigerian oil-addicted economy by systematic degradation of existing petroleum industry infrastructure, with the ultimate objective of bringing the industry to a grinding halt. That is the declared strategic direction of the politics of liberation in the Niger Delta region, from a violence-fixated and insensitive central government, that General Okikilakan Obasanjo presided over in the past 8 years.

I hope you are not one of those that are in a blissful state of denial, conceptualizing the every criminal activity (e.g. armed robbery; hired assassination) that takes place in that traumatized region today to be due to the "militants", and "restive youths" of the Niger Delta.

In brief, the net effect of their strategy is that, today, close to 30&#37; of crude oil that would have been prodced in Nigeria has been taken out of the control of the Federal government, and that is NOT trivial: i.e. 845,000 barrells of crude oil per day is the equivalent of about US$18.5 billion per annum at today's market rates! This is in direct contrast to the seeming nonchalance (actually, shakara) shown by the immediate past government of General Aremu Obasanjo.

And for the enlightenment of those who may still be in deep sleep, the original objective of taking expatriates hostage was simply to discourage them from any further participation in the activities of the oil industry within the Niger Delta, through the fear of being kidnapped (not for ransom money, as some are wont to trivialize the strategy of hostage taking). And even that has contributed to bringing petroleum production down significantly since the begining 0f 2007 to date.

Please, note: One is not gloating about the acts of violence as worth being glorified. NO! But it seems like if the language that the former Butcher of Aso Rock understands is V-O-L-E-N-C-E, then there is no alternative(T.I.N.A)

Obrigado.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Tola Odejayi
May 30, 2007, 05:07 PM
Abraxas,

Actually, I accept the reality of politics - that it sometimes takes high-profile acts of violence to get another party to really take seriously the problems that a group of people has been facing. Nobody would have been talking seriously about the Niger-Delta if the various groups operating in the Delta had not started their campaign of kidnapping and destruction of oil drilling infrastructure.

But now they've got the Nigerian government pushing the issue of the Niger Delta up the political agenda, what next? I don't see any coherent agenda or response on their part - and this is my big problem. I personally doubt that these groups can bring operations in the Delta to a 'grinding halt'. There some elements in the Delta who thrive off the ransoming of kidnapped officials who would not want this to happen. And I don't know whether outside interests will be happy to see the price of oil rise and rise as a result - they might prod the Nigerian government (which needs very little prodding, anyway) to use massive military might (even if it means a fair amount of 'collateral' damage to civilians). And if it came to all out conflict, I can't see there being a clear victory for either side - just a war of attrition that would make life unbearable for everyone living in the Delta area.

I would prefer that the more politically oriented groups take advantage of the fact that the Nigerian government is waking up to the seriousness of the situation in the Delta to set out a starting point for a negotiation that would result in a win-win situation for both the inhabitants of the Delta and the Nigerian government. But I don't see any positions being put forward... and this makes me think that the groups operating are not interested in talking and only interested in propagating mayhem. Or I don't know - perhaps they have already stated their starting point?

EezeeBee
May 30, 2007, 05:12 PM
All this is 'Liberation Politics'?

Sounds more like a catalogue of acts of violence.

Oh well, I guess I still have to wait a while before I hear a well articulated and realistic list of goals from any of these 'freedom fighters' in the Delta.

Shoko, It is really interesting how you so readily spot these 'acts of violence' and either deliberately or inadvertently make NO corresponding observations about the 'acts of violence' perpetrated on the people from the area by both the companies operating there and the government of Nigeria.

Perhaps you can enlarge your 'catalogue' or open it to a few earlier pages.

Tola Odejayi
May 30, 2007, 07:02 PM
Shoko, It is really interesting how you so readily spot these 'acts of violence' and either deliberately or inadvertently make NO corresponding observations about the 'acts of violence' perpetrated on the people from the area by both the companies operating there and the government of Nigeria.
My focus in my comments in this thread is how the groups acting in the Niger Delta can act to secure satisfactory conditions for themselves. I am already aware of the reasons for their activity in the Delta - I don't need to bring these up.

Abraxas
May 30, 2007, 08:37 PM
Abraxas,

Actually, I accept the reality of politics - that it sometimes takes high-profile acts of violence to get another party to really take seriously the problems that a group of people has been facing. Nobody would have been talking seriously about the Niger-Delta if the various groups operating in the Delta had not started their campaign of kidnapping and destruction of oil drilling infrastructure.

But now they've got the Nigerian government pushing the issue of the Niger Delta up the political agenda, what next? I don't see any coherent agenda or response on their part - and this is my big problem. I personally doubt that these groups can bring operations in the Delta to a 'grinding halt'. There some elements in the Delta who thrive off the ransoming of kidnapped officials who would not want this to happen. And I don't know whether outside interests will be happy to see the price of oil rise and rise as a result - they might prod the Nigerian government (which needs very little prodding, anyway) to use massive military might (even if it means a fair amount of 'collateral' damage to civilians). And if it came to all out conflict, I can't see there being a clear victory for either side - just a war of attrition that would make life unbearable for everyone living in the Delta area.

I would prefer that the more politically oriented groups take advantage of the fact that the Nigerian government is waking up to the seriousness of the situation in the Delta to set out a starting point for a negotiation that would result in a win-win situation for both the inhabitants of the Delta and the Nigerian government. But I don't see any positions being put forward... and this makes me think that the groups operating are not interested in talking and only interested in propagating mayhem. Or I don't know - perhaps they have already stated their starting point?

Hi, Shoko Loko Bangoshe!

Well, at least, in the enlightened self-interest of the swamp dwellers of the oil-rich Niger Delta region, now that they have got the Nigerian government pushing the issue of the Niger Delta up the political agenda (like selecting an Izon man as a VP, on their behalf, without their consent, or promote a pro-establishment Izon soldier to the essentially ceremonial post of a Chief of Defence Staff), and so, what next?

You will not see any coherent agenda or response on the part of the events and persons you have chosen to focus your attention on: i.e. the stereotipical "militant" or the "restive youth" of the Niger Delta, and the accompanying acts of brigandage associated with their "militancy". This is The Big Problem: the systematic and progressive demonization of the people of the Niger Delta region.

Why has the Nigerian media, maybe, with a little push from the Federal government, chosen to label all acts of mayhem, mass violence, arson, banditry, and outlaw behaviour within the Niger Delta as "militancy", even if there are no clear political motives (e.g. extortion post-kidnapping; or armed robery)? Those kind of criminals are NOT unique to the Niger Delta.

So, why, for example, should a child kidnapper in Mushin be called a "child kidnapper", or simply gbomo-gbomo, or a street urchin in Isale Eko be simply called an "Area Boy", but when it happens that the 5 year old daughter of an oil company executive in Port Harcourt gets to be taken as a hostage by common criminals with absolutely no political demands or agenda, it becomes "hostage taking" by "militants" or "restive youths" of the Niger Delta? Why demonize a whole region as being dangerous bandits? This is the stereotype being progressively nurtured, and embedded in the collective subconscious mind of Nigerians and the world at large, wittingly or unwittingly, by the Nigerian media particularly.

There is no doubt that the myraid criminal gangs, and crude oil mafias within the Niger Delta (many of who are not even from the Niger Delta region), who sponsor sporadic violence and mayhem can NOT bring operations in the Niger Delta to a "grinding halt", but some more politically suave groups within the Niger Delta have organized themslves into operationally efficient political (non-partisan) and military wings, similar to the relationship between Sinn Féin and the IRA in Northern Ireland. That is how sophisticated the organizational efficiency of M.E.N.D. is.

Of course, like you very rightly noted, there are some elements, members of the prevailing status quo, Big Men (e.g. Governors, retired admirals, and generals, SSS operatives, Commissioners of Police, Brigade/Battalion Commanders of military formations, Cheif Security Officers, Flag Officers of the Navy, and GOCs, oil industry operatives [Nigerians and foreigners]) within the Niger Delta region, who thrive off all manner of criminal activities in that part of Nigeria, ranging from illegal bunkering, to pipeline vandalisation, to hostage taking for US dollar denominated ransoms, who would not want this to happen. The obvious motivation is the unaccountable and lucrative expenditure of State "Security Votes"!

Definitely, outside interests (i.e. the USA and the EU) will not be happy to see the price of oil to escallate out of their control indefinitely, and so, predictably, they would , as usual for most banana republics like Nigeria, prod the Federal government (which, under General Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, needed very little prodding, anyway, to activate a ascorched earth policy of complete and summary pacification of the region). Of course Odi is the preceedence.

And if it came to all out conflict, I can see Nigeria being severely constrained by internal and external considerations, culminating in a possible third-party arbitration (UNO? AU? USA? UK?) I doubt, despite the gra-gra if the Nigerian armed forces can fight a war of attrition: they are not trained to take that amount of punishment, I hope you know. For the records: the Nigerian civil war ( which lasted for 2.5 years only) is the shortest civil war that has taken place in Africa in the past 100 years! The Nigerian soldier (from recruit to general) was not designed by God Almighty to suffer, you know.

In conclusion, M.E.N.D., the driving force behind the on-going forced paradigm shift in and about the Niger Delta region would metamorphose into a political tentency within the region, just like the AD/Afenifere/OPC trinity in the South West pre-4-19 2003, or U.N.I.T.A. of Angola that has evolved to be a political party post-civil war.

But the business of maintaining and enforcing the rule of law, no matter how law-abiding citizens may be, cannot be achieved with an unmistakeably useless police outfit like the one called the Nigeria Police Force, that the good people of Nigeria have to contend with today.

The Nigerrian Police Force is simply inept, and that is why there is a general rise in criminal activities like jail breaks, hostage taking, bank robbery, sea piracy, etc nationwide, whether it is in Port Harcourt, or Warri, or Yenagoa, or Ogoni, or Ughelli, or Bonny, or it is in Lagos, or Ibadan, or Awka, or Jos, or Gombe, or Kano there is nothing "militant" about over-runing a police station and carting away their guns, or violently robbing a bank in broad daylight. I believe, and insist that the fundamental distinction must be made between genuine poltical activism (which may or may not include the use of violent force), and banditry.

Finally, I am confident that UMY'A (President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (GCFR)), would be more likely to get to empathize with the Niger Delta Question, and hence, get to the root of the matter than if it had been with OBJ for the next 50 years.

Thank God, General Olusegun Obasanjo has gone for ever and ever!:rolleyes::eek::rolleyes::D:D:D

Muchas gracias, mi amigo.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Tola Odejayi
May 30, 2007, 08:54 PM
Abraxas,

Hmm... you've given me much to chew over.

Perhaps I will respond after thinking about it some more.

Thanks,

Shoko

Auspicious
May 31, 2007, 05:00 AM
Even MEND listened to Yar'Adua in his inaugural speech..

I hope he (Yar'Adua) is as much of a doer as he is a speaker.

Else we should all brace-up for a full-scale war courtesy of MEND.

Well it wasn't me who said it - It was a MEND statement.


MEND calls for genuine dialogue in Niger Delta
From Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt
The Guardian

"THE people of the Niger Delta are sick of unfulfilled promises and can wait no longer. If (President Umaru Musa) Yar'Adua does not act decisively and speedily, Nigerians should brace up for a full-scale war, starting in the Niger Delta."

With these terse words, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) responded to the olive branch waved by President Yar'Adua after he was sworn in last Tuesday.

MEND's response, which came barely 24 hours after Yar'Adua's call for dialogue, said the movement was willing and ready to rein in its militants provided the Federal Government would demonstrate "genuine willingness" to enter into dialogue to end the intractable crises in the region.

"This government could demonstrate its goodwill by releasing all the Niger Delta indigenes detained by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, while MEND, on its part would release all the hostages its men had kidnapped when they stormed a Chevron oil facility in Bayelsa State on May 1," the group said.

MEND's spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, in a reaction to President Yar'Adua appeal, said it would take more than a verbal appeal for the militants to halt their attacks against the oil industry in the Niger Delta, hence the call for an immediate process of negotiations that would involve an unbiased third party.

He declared: "Only time will tell if he (Yar'Adua) is not just another politician. We are tired of words and plans. Urgent action is required to stem rising militancy in the Delta. The most important requirement of the Niger Delta people is justice. Genuine negotiations towards a just resolution is sufficient hope for the people of the Delta."

MEND said government must examine the conditions which prompted the people of the Niger Delta to accept once again to be part of Nigeria and "restore without delay, all terms of the contract which brought us into Nigeria."

Gbomo called on government to release Asari Dokubo and several other Niger Delta indigenes being held without trial. His words: "The government should demonstrate its willingness to dialogue by releasing all unjustly imprisoned by the Obasanjo regime."

He continued: "The problem in the Niger Delta is like a malignant tumour. It does not stop growing. The rate at which the government will remedy the situation in the Delta will determine the eventual success in halting the unrest peacefully."

MEND said it was worried about the pervasive corruption in the country, as well as in the Niger Delta. Most importantly, it said, President Yar' Adua has promised to respect the rule of law. The group added: "We watch like everyone else to see how the new government intends to excise this cancer."

The group condemned the decision of a Court of Appeal stopping Shell from paying N197 billion to Ijaw as compensation, which it said was for oil spillage from Shell.

He said: "the Appeal Court ruling in favour of Shell is a part of this process. The eventual outcome will determine our future actions regarding this demand for compensation."

MEND said that in order to show its goodwill, "the hostages in our custody will be released today or tomorrow at the latest."

The hostages are John Stapleton (U.S.), Ignazio Gugliotta (Italy), Alfonso Franza (Italy), Raffaele Pascariello (Italy), Mario Celentano (Italy) and Jurica Ruic (Croatia).

sheroko
May 31, 2007, 06:44 AM
l guess only the niger-delta people are suffering in nigeria or africa in general. What different with it make if all the revenue from oil sale is given to the people of this area with the sorry state of rule of law in the society of nigeria

Son of the Delta
May 31, 2007, 11:49 AM
The legacy of the Obasanjo-Odili monopoly of violence is continuing. on the inauguration day alone up to 15 people were killed in Rivers State alone. Before Odili carried out his Obasanjo enhanced rampage that finished communities in Rivers state, he first killed an Ogoni parliamentarian, no one answered, next he killed Marshall Harry, and then he followed by killing a host of local politicians, villagers, and the oppossiton, the next high profile victim was Dikibo, and next communities were razed, people were buried alive in Ogbakiri, Ogoni communities were attacked, Okuruama was emptied, Okirika too was deserted, Tombia was devastated, Ahoada/Odua were not spared a host of other communities just to mention a few had similar experiences. Now, their clones have been installed across the region, Omehia, Odili's clone inauguration alone has cost at least 15 lives . This is a time of history, and this is a time that the world should see and come to the aid of the electorate in Nigeria, because as long as Odili and Obasanjo remain free men, the Nigerian government will continue to kill at will hoping to force legitimacy it never got in the polls. The masses will continue to suffer and there could be a spill over of violence. Liberia has peace today, because Taylor, the originator of violence in that Country is being held.

EezeeBee
May 31, 2007, 10:05 PM
l guess only the niger-delta people are suffering in nigeria or africa in general. What different with it make if all the revenue from oil sale is given to the people of this area with the sorry state of rule of law in the society of nigeria

At the very least YOU will stop hearing the Niger Delta people's complaints about THEIR revenues/ resources, which I'm sure will be a considerable relief to both parties.

Abraxas
Jun 8, 2007, 11:52 AM
25 Holes Discovered on Warri Refinery Crude Line

Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), has said vandals operating in the Niger Delta have afflicted 25 breakages on the Escravos-Warri pipeline, which conveys crude oil to the Warri and Kaduna refineries.

Its Managing Director, Mr Sulaiman Achimugu, at the 16th Annual General Meeting, said yesterday that contractors handling the repairs of the pipelines had on close examination, discovered that the crude line had a total of 25 breakages. Vandalisation of crude lines had been blamed for the inactivity of the Warri and Kaduna refineries since February 2006.

Achimugu, however, said contrary to expectations, the refineries had not resumed production, because the crude oil lines had not been restored. "It was impossible for the contractor to gain access the line in the Niger Delta. Even though they have been granted access, we discovered that instead of one location, 25 locations have been vandalised. We are presenting a request to government for approval to repair the 25 leakages."

On why the company had not adopted other strategies of protecting the pipelines from vandalisation, especially technologies that could trigger off alarm once vandals strike, Achimugu argued that there was no other system available that was better than what the company was doing presently.

"We have to use human beings to do this job. Electronics, all sorts of things cannot work, because Nigerians would go there and remove the electronics you put in place.
Human surveillance in still the best option."

He blamed the losses recorded in business on vandalisation and pirates, adding that pirates often attack staffers of the company who carry vessels in parts of Niger Delta, leading to loss of some of the products.

He also dismissed the option of relaying the lines, saying that it would take a very long time. "We are talking about what we can do in the interim."

He said there was no indications that vandalisation would seize, adding that the only thing on the cards was devising strategies of combating it whenever it comes. Achimugu stressed that the company had performed creditably despite recording losses, adding that it had maintained product supply despite the problems it had been encountering.

Abraxas
Jun 9, 2007, 01:50 AM
Britain Ask Citizens To Leave Niger Delta!
By Agency Reports
Date : Friday, 08 June 2007

Source: Times of Nigeria. (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2338)

The Niger Delta is no longer deemed safe even for British nationals living there after a spate of kidnappings of foreign oil workers. Travel advice for the area has been stepped up by the Foreign Office (FO), saying it is no longer safe for Britons to remain there, whereas before tourists were just advised to stay away.

Although Nigeria is Africa's leading oil exporter, producing about 2.5 million barrels a day, many local militants see little benefit in the lucrative industry on their doorstep.
Kidnappings have become frequent occurrences and militant attacks had cut oil production by more than 20 per cent by October last year.

The militants have also blown up oil pipelines in attempts to further their demands for local control of oil revenues by inhabitants of the country's oil-producing south.
Different ethnic groups constantly clash as they compete for political and economic power, while militia and security forces sent to the area try to restore order.

The violence is aggravated by the widespread availability of small arms, a problem which exists throughout Nigeria, but is particularly acute in the Delta.

Despite a robust military and police presence in the region, local communities remain vulnerable to attack by militias, criminal gangs, and the security forces themselves.

The end of military rule in 1999 was initially met with euphoria, but there is now frustration that it has not led to material benefits or basic security for the poor Delta areas.
Around 4,000 Britons are believed to live in Nigeria as a whole, while many others work in the country's oil and gas industry.

Since January of last year, 31 British nationals and more than 180 foreigners in the Niger Delta have been kidnapped and one Briton has been killed.

More than 100 foreigners have been taken from the Niger Delta region in the last six months, and about 30 are being held for ransom.

Some militant groups have kidnapped oil workers to use as bargaining tools to put pressure on oil companies to create jobs or improve benefits.

Others have also said they want the liberation of two of their leaders imprisoned on corruption and treason charges and more oil revenues for their impoverished lands.

The FO believes armed groups may be planning more attacks on oil and gas industry targets but also on other targets and individuals throughout Nigeria.

In recent months, the situation has become even more dangerous for Britons in the region as criminal gangs have also adopted the practice of kidnapping foreigners for ransom.

Hostages are generally released unharmed after a payment is made to the captors but two have died in the crossfire when security forces intervened.

David Hunt, 58, a grandfather from Teesside, was killed during a botched rescue attempt by the Nigerian Navy after he and six other foreign oil workers were taken last year. <!--<td align="right" width="100%" class="buttonheading"> http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/images/M_images/pdf_button.png (http://javascript<b></b>:void window.open('http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=2338', 'win2', 'status=no,toolbar=no,scrollbars=yes,titlebar=no,m enubar=no,resizable=yes,width=640,height=480,direc tories=no,location=no');) </td>-->

denker
Jun 10, 2007, 06:06 PM
Niger Deltans Set Peace Agenda For Yar'Adua
BY KAYODE OGUNBUNMI

</I>AS the Federal Government seeks ways to diffuse tension in the Niger Delta and restore the people's confidence in the new administration, a new report has identified some key issues the people want the Umaru Musa Yar'Adua government to tackle.

Top on the list is a thorough development policy that will put the region's people on the driver's seat, with appropriate support from statutory federal structures.
The report, Justice Not Charity: Manifesto of the Niger Delta, chronicles the struggle of the Niger Delta people for the protection of their land, dignity, culture, freedom, natural resources and the environment to the pre-colonial times.

Facilitated by the Community Defence Law Foundation (CDLF), a Port Harcourt-based organisation and endorsed by Leaders of Thought from across the region, the report quotes the Niger Delta people as saying that only the restructuring of the Federation to guarantee self-determination, true federalism, resource control, political autonomy, community control over development strategies and the protection of the environment could guarantee justice and peace.

For the Niger Deltans, the biggest challenge facing President Yar'Adua's government is how to put an end to more than 50 years of pain, poverty and privation that have trailed the process of oil production.

The report points out that the peoples of the Niger Delta have, in their various declarations and resolutions, listed realistic options for restoring the region to the path of development, peace and security.

Such declarations include the Ogoni Bills of Right, Kaiama Declaration of the Ijaw, Akalaka Declaration, the Bills of Rights of the Oron People and the Resolutions of the First Urhobo Economic Summit.

Most of the declarations, according to the report, highlight issues of self-determination and political autonomy within Nigeria, restructured federalism, environmental and resource control, social development, international dialogue and solidarity, resolve to resistance and transparency and accountability.

The Manifesto of the Niger Delta insists on a genuine programme for transformation in the region, encompassing the following:

Dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria by the ethnic nationality representatives of the Niger Delta to discuss the issues raised in the democratic resolutions of the people of the region.

Creation of a peaceful mechanism for the restructuring of Nigeria to guarantee self-determination and true fiscal federalism.

States and communities should retain the right to resource control, which involves exercising political power over resource production, management and utilisation within their territories.

Implementation of a minimum of 50 per cent derivation.

Abrogation of the laws that rob the Niger Delta peoples of their lands and resources.

Abrogation of off-shore/on-shore dichotomy.

Creating of framework for unfettered political participation by citizens, legitimate political representation and mechanism for community participation in resources management.

A halt to the development of new oil and gas fields pending the complete clean-up of the despoiled Niger Delta environment and the resolution of the issue of resource control and self-determination.

De-militarisation of the Niger Delta.

Clean-up and environmental remediation of polluted sites since the commencement of oil exploitation in 1956.

An end to environmentally damaging extractive activities, including immediate cessation of gas flaring.

Provision of social security schemes for populations in the Niger Delta.

Community share-holding in the extractive sector.
The Chairman of CDLF Board, Oronto Douglas, said the manifesto would serve as a useful tool for the new government in the quest for an enduring solution to the Niger Delta crisis.

Nonyellum
Jun 12, 2007, 12:18 AM
Million thanks to Abraxas and everyone else for keeping us updated on this thread.

Muchos gracias, in my halting Spanish.

E go better.

Abraxas
Jun 12, 2007, 05:36 AM
Indian workers flee Niger Delta after abductions

Expatriate workers including Indians are fleeing the Niger Delta in Nigeria because of unending abductions by militants.

Indian company Indorama, which bought Nigeria's Eleme Petrochemical plant in Rivers State, has said the plant has been shut down because 120 of its expatriate workers, mostly Indians, had relocated from the region.

The chairman of the Indorama workers union, Kriss Natty, said about 3,000 people of the Niger Delta employed by the company might also lose their jobs, unless the company got government backing to provide security.

Niger Delta militants abducted 12 Indians - eight workers, two of their wives and two children - from the living quarters of the company early June.

Natty said that before the complete shutdown, the company's production activities had dropped by 80 percent.

"The fleeing expatriates," he said, "promised to be back when the security situation in the state and in the Niger Delta improved."

Rivers State governor Celestine Omehia said the abducted Indians had been traced to a neighbouring state.

He expressed regret that the impression was given that the state was unsafe for expatriate workers since more than 16 of them were kidnapped in June alone.

Meanwhile, Oronto Douglas, chairman of a Niger Delta-based NGO Community Defence Law Foundation, has delivered a manifesto of the Niger Delta people to the Nigerian government.

The manifesto, he said, would serve as a useful tool for the government of President Umaru Yar'Adua in its quest for an enduring solution to the Niger Delta crisis.

Part of the manifesto demanded the creation of a peaceful mechanism for the restructuring of Nigeria to guarantee self-determination and true fiscal federalism.

It also demanded the abrogation of laws that robbed the Niger Delta people of their land and resources and an end to environmentally damaging extractive activities, including gas flaring.

Douglas said the manifesto also demanded the provision of a social security scheme for the people of the Niger Delta and community shareholding in the extractive sector.

Myriad groups of militant youths from the Niger Delta have been abducting expatriate workers in the region to back their demand for a greater say in the exploitation of oil and gas endowments.

Abraxas
Jun 16, 2007, 01:38 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/asari07.jpg

Hi, folks!

Port Harcourt (Garden City) is agog and bubbling with jubilation, celebrating the triumphant re-entry of Mujahideen Dokubo-Asari from detention.:D

Thousands of okada "pilots" breezed into the streets of Pitakwa rejoicing with their patron, Alhaji Dokubo-Asari. The seemingly endless convoys of motorcycles rolled into Port Harcourt from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base [Special Operations Group], Rumuomasi aerodrome, just about 12:00 noon on Saturday, 16 June 2007.:D:D

Newly released Nigerian militant leader Mujahid Dokubo-Asari hopes to reunite splintered armed groups in the oil-producing Niger Delta around his radical agenda for independence, he told Reuters on Friday. :D

In an interview hours after his release on bail, Asari distanced himself from a surge in hostage-taking in the swamps of southern Nigeria but said he was not opposed to disrupting the oil industry in Africa's top producer. :rolleyes::D

Asari said militant groups in the region were suffering from a lack of visible leadership.

"They are all faceless. That is the problem because there is no person to deal with. We are going to call a meeting of all the groups. Those who are willing to come, we are going to do something about it," he said.:rolleyes::eek::D:D:D

Asari, the former leader of the rebel Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force which laid down arms in late 2004, was freed on bail on Thursday after 20 months in jail on treason charges.

His release, granted on condition he not participate in any political activity, was a key demand of groups whose attacks and abductions have cut oil output by a quarter and driven away thousands of foreign workers.

"I am totally against kidnapping, but I am not against anything that affects the oil exploration and exploitation," Asari said. "The reason is because as a people we have the right to the ownership of our resources.":D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

Militants have hinted that Asari's release could open the way for talks with the government of newly inaugurated President Umaru Yar'Adua and allow foreign multinationals to resume normal operations in the world's eighth largest oil exporter.

HOSTAGES

Since Yar'Adua's inauguration on May 29, militant groups have freed 19 hostages as a sign of their willingness to give him a chance to fulfill his promise of urgent action to address the region's grievances of poverty and neglect.

But the situation in the region was still volatile on Friday. Two Lebanese and two Indian construction workers were kidnapped in Delta state, a military spokesman said, bringing to about 24 the total number of hostages in captivity.

Asari said any return to normalcy would take time.

"One cannot say my release will immediately revert it back to normal. It will take a much longer time because criminal elements have got themselves involved in this trade of hostage taking, extortion and so on," he said.

"If there is good will on the side of the government I think it will take from one to six months or a year for things to return to normal," he added.

Asari said the militant movement in the delta had become splintered since his detention, and the goals of the different groups were diverse.

"The issues we are demanding are very different. Others are demanding resource control, we are demanding self determination," he said.

Asari, a Muslim convert, said he would work with Yar'Adua's government if it showed sincerity. Like Asari, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is from the Ijaw ethnic group which predominates in the delta. :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

"I am happy that an Ijaw man is the vice president and I will work with him in the best way I can," Asari said, adding that a meeting he held with Jonathan on Friday was private.:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:rolleyes::eek::D:D: D:D:D

Abraxas
Jun 17, 2007, 09:04 AM
Dokubo's Release - Niger Delta Groups Announce Cessation of Hostilities

FOLLOWING Thursday's release of Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari by an Abuja High Court, militants in the Niger Delta have announced a complete cessation of hostilities in the area.

In an on-line statement yesterday signed by one Cynthia Whyte, the militants who spoke under the aegis of Joint Revolutionary Council said they would allign themselves with the new strategy that would be evolved by Asari on how they should go about the struggle for the region .

"We also wish to announce a complete cessation of hostilities against the Nigerian state and her perceived collaborators. We will work in line with the emerging and evolving process."

Continuing, the on-line statement urged President Umaru Yar 'Adua to be wary of leaders in the region they tagged betrayers and spoilers of the Niger Delta cause just as they hailed the media and other groups for standing doggedly behind the region in her crusade against injustice.

"On behalf of the Joint Revolutionary Council and its alliance members, we wish to commend all men of goodwill who stood the course and faced the tide in the two years of the travails and persecutions that was visited on our patriotic and esteemed leader, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari."

"We commend the resilience and dogged determination of key Ijaw elders whose timely support, encouragement and progressive advice helped paved the way for this release. "

"We cannot fail to commend the exceptional courage and leadership shown by the Governor of the Bantustans of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva-Sam. One of the biggest challenges in the achievement of a developed Niger Delta has been the absence of governors and political leaders who have the ability to move our people forward. If he continues in this path of honour, Chief Sylva-Sam may just be the best thing to happen to the Niger Delta in a very long time."

"He should therefore stay his course. We will work closely with leaders who show true commitment to improving the quality of lives of their people. We will listen to leaders who understand the anguish of our people and feel the intenseness of the pain inflicted on our consciousness by the oppressive and occupation forces of the dubious Nigerian state."

"We will not fail to commend in very strong terms, the exceptional and tremendous support of the media of the Nigerian state as well as international media groups who stood by us to spread the gospel of the new Ijaw and Niger Delta consciousness."

Abraxas
Jun 17, 2007, 12:48 PM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/Asari.jpg

Doboku-Asari Arrives Home, proceeds to Buguma from Port Harcourt.

NIGER Delta youths, particularly from the Ijaw extraction, brought Port Harcourt to a standstill for over four hours yesterday, as they came out in their thousands to welcome the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Mujahideen Dokubo-Asari.

A s early as 7.00am, Ijaw youths waving the blue, red and green Ijaw flag started arriving at the Airforce base, on Aba Road, Port Harcourt to receive Dokubo-Asari, who promised to work out modality to stop hostage-taking and banditry in the region.

The youths, numbering over eight thousand, though prevented from entering the airport by security operatives, besieged the New Olusegun Obasanjo Road, specially built to massage the ego of the immediate past predatory autocrat, and resident butcher of Aso Rock, General Aremu Okikiolakan Obasanjo, by the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Sir (Dr.) Peter Odili (KSJ), for several hours, and thereby disrupting the free flow of traffic during the period.

Alhaji Dokubo-Asari arrived at the Nigerian Air Force Base on board a chartered Associated Airline flight, accompanied by the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate and son of the Amayanabo of Kalabari, Prince Tonye Princewill and other prominent Ijaws at about 11.10am.

As soon as he alighted from the aircraft, thousands of his kinsmen burst into jubilation

Addressing journalists, Dokubo-Asari, who said he was elated and humbled by the multitude that came out to accord him a warm reception, praised the masses for putting up with the protracted hardship in the land. and besieged him, making it absolutely difficult for him to even walk to a Hummer Jeep that was to convey him out of the airport.

"I thank the people of the Niger Delta and all the oppressed persons, who have suffered for a long time and who have taken time to be here to welcome me. I feel humbled and elated by this singular act of support," he said.

Dokubo-Asari, who wore a black dress embossed with the photograph of the Ijaw hero, Isaac Adaka-Boro, promised that he would collaborate with other stakeholders in the Niger Delta area to work out ways to stop all acts of hostage taking.

"We will try and work out ways to stop this act of criminality and banditry," he pledged. "We are not going to be something we are not. We are fighting for justice. We should not do injustice to other people. We are fighting for justice. We cannot be seen to be doing injustice to other people."

On the Niger Delta struggle, he noted that the people of the region had explicitly stated their demands and wishes in the Kaiama and Akalaka Declarations as well as the Ogoni Bill of Rights.

He iterated that the only feasible way to resolve the Niger Delta crisis was through the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference where the various ethnic nationalities in the country would determine the terms of participating in the Nigerian project.

On terms of his release, Dokubo-Asari said he was not aware of them since he was not in court the day his bail was granted.

The president of the Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce, Billy Harry, who was also at the airport, described the release of the militant leader as a big relief to the business community in the Niger Delta.

Harry said: "We are expecting that business will get back to normal. The resolution must be done with absolute carefulness.

"The youths of the Niger Delta have expressed their displeasure. What are they fighting for? They said the people are not participating in the oil sector. You cannot set up an NDDC that is controlled from Abuja. The Niger Delta should be given priority."

An Ijaw scholar, Dr. Youpele Banigo, said the historic conjuncture of the Vice-President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, from the Niger Delta, the release of a Master Plan by the NDDC, and the release of Dokubo-Asari "are serious invitation to the Federal Government, and all stakeholders to critically and comprehensively work towards peace and development in the Niger Delta region, and the country."

Shortly after leaving the airport, Dokubo-Asari proceeded to the residence of the former Minister for Culture and Tourism, Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas where he addressed prominent Ijaw leaders.

After narrating his ordeal to them, he demanded that the Federal Government should reserve the position of Minister of Energy and Power to the people of the Niger Delta.

A convoy of over 500 cars and thousands of motorbikes later escorted him to his native Buguma in Asari Toru local government area of Rivers State.

denker
Jun 18, 2007, 08:42 AM
Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, on Sunday blamed the kidnap of foreign oil workers on their refusal to leave the region despite several warnings by militants.

He reiterated to journalists in Port Harcourt that the expatriates have no reason to stay back when the owners of the land have asked them to go.



"We asked them to leave our land," he recalled, "but they refused and sided with the Nigerian military, believing the Army would protect them.
"The foreign oil workers should leave our land peacefully and come back when we might have resolved our differences with the government".


Although Dokubo decried hostage taking, he explained that the problem has gone beyond what a single individual like himself could stop overnight.
He accused the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo of instigating the Niger Delta violence to extend his tenure and further destabilise the Ijaw.
He implored Abuja to also find an answer to the conflict.
Dokubo described the Obasanjo government as "the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria because it made more money than any other but ended up having nothing to show to the people after eight years in office.


"I will fight Obasanjo to a standstill by leading the campaign for him to be brought to justice to account for gross human rights abuses, corruption and maladministration from 1999 to 2007".

He warned that unless Obasanjo and all Governors who stole from the treasury are brought to book, there would be no peace in Nigeria and the Niger Delta in particular,


"Obasanjo used his position to enrich six Nigerian entrepreneurs through the oil resources of the Niger Delta, with five Yoruba and a Northerner as direct beneficiaries, to the detriment of the people of the Niger Delta".

Dokubo also castigated Obasanjo for diverting resources from the region to build the OKNLG in his home state of Ogun while the Brass LNG is yet to come on stream.

"We shall see if the OKNLG will work. If the Kaduna Refinery has worked, then the OKLNG will work. Let us just wait and see. We can only allow it to function if they give us justice and allow us to control our resources.
"You cannot threaten us with the military and turn round to divert our resources to empower a few persons when the owners are dying of hunger and environmental problems".

He promised to carry on with the struggle for self determination for the Niger Delta, and said he is ready to lay down his life to ensure freedom and justice for his people.

"I am not afraid to die for the people, having reached the age of 43 and taken the cause of the Ijaw to a point from which I cannot retreat".

Would he support the administration of President Umaru Yar'Adua and his Deputy, Goodluck Jonathan?

Dokubo said he has nothing to do with any government and would only watch the actions and utterances of the two men to inform his decisions.
On the issue of bail conditions given him by the court, he insisted that he is not a party to any agreement and not bound by anything, as he is neither a politician nor a militant but "an Ijaw nationalist".

A few hours before Dokubo spoke in Port Harcourt, militants had invaded a facility belonging to Agip in Ogboinbiri, Bayelsa State, where they overpowered troops of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in a shoot-out.
The soldiers were chased away and it seemed no life was lost in the attack, which could be a revenge for the nine militants killed by the JTF last Wednesday in Ogboinbiri.
JTF Public Relations Officer, Major Ochugwuba Omale, confirmed that the soldiers were over-powered in the gun duel.

The Movement Of The Niger Delta People (MONDP) later issued a statement that the release of Dokubo is not enough to end the conflict.
"Although we are quite pleased with the release of our leader, we want to warn that the multinational companies operating in the area should not use this as an excuse to continue with the non-challant way they carried on before the commencement of our pro-active actions", the statement, signed by MONDP spokesman, Preye Amazo, said.
"We have earlier demanded that they review their operational policies in the area towards their host communities and we are still insisting on this as a criterion to ensure the total cessation of all hostilities.

"We enjoin the multinational companies to be advised and motivated by the example shown … by Umaru Yar'adua in releasing (Dokubo). This act of 'Good Faith' must be replicated by the multinationals if lasting peace is to be achieved in the Niger Delta.

"In the interim, we have commenced modalities for the release of the expatriates in our custody. We make no firm promises, but we are quite confident that (they) will regain their freedom as soon as possible.

"The expatriates are Jan Van De Mortel (Dutch), James Thorburn (British), Massaoud Ahmadi (French), and Salman Ahmad (Pakistani)".

link: http://www.independentngonline.com/?c=44&a=28709

Abraxas
Jun 18, 2007, 08:45 AM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/asari%204.jpg Asari's release not enough

IT was wild jubilation in most parts of Rivers State Thursday when news of the conditional release of the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujaheed Asari Dokubo, by an Abuja High Court filtered into the state. Asari, as he is fondly called, had spent exactly one year, eight months and twenty-five days in detention at the federal capital.

He was arrested in Port Harcourt at the headquarters of the Rivers State Police Command on Moscow Road on September 20, 2005. According to his wife, Hajia Mujahid Daaba Asari Dokubo, in an interview with this correspondent some time ago, her husband was taken ‘hostage' by the police. She may have reached this conclusion because Asari merely responded to a police invitation for a chat that Tuesday when he was detained and later bundled into a waiting plane and flown to Abuja. And since that black day, as many of his followers styled that day, it had been one legal trick or the other by his captors to continue to keep him behind bars until last Thursday when the court granted him conditional release.

Asari, at a time, was vice president Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, under the leadership of Felix Tuodolor. He later rose to become the president after his former boss completed his tenure. Sources in Rivers State said that he was largely instrumental to the emergence of ex-Governor Peter Odili in the 2003 election but fell out of favour with the political leadership when he reportedly maintained that the state and the region did not vote for the out gone President Olusegun Obasanjo in that year's election. This position, many said, was later largely responsible for his troubles.

He found himself after sometime fighting what many called the greatest battle of his life on a structure he created called the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force. This battle, some called a clash of cult groups, claimed several lives. It generated so much tension in the oil rich state to the extent that Obasanjo had to meet with the warring parties to seek out a common ground for peace. Asari later redirected his energy towards the crusade for resource control by his region. He joined forces with other similar organizations in this new agitation until he was arrested and tried for alleged treasonable felony.

Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail the conditional release. President Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko, said the release would calm frayed nerves among the youths and also open windows for serious dialogue with the region on how to resolve the sad crisis in the area. But he explained that the release was not enough to ease tension occasioned by hostage takings in the region. His words: "It is a welcome development. It will help to cool frayed nerves as well as calm restive youths. The window has been opened for us to go into serious dialogue. We have put together what we consider absolutely necessary to move the nation forward.

"The struggle has been on before Asari went to prison, there were people who were there before he came in. Unfortunately, most of you do not know that there are various camps in this struggle aside Asari Dokubo. Asari Dokubo is not the main camp in the struggle, Asari appears to be the only visible known group of all the groups to majority of you.

The struggle continues because Asari is not the issue. There were and are still fundamental problems affecting the Niger Delta which we have been raising with successive governments. Asari is not the problem, he was unjustly incarcerated and we sought his release but it has nothing to do with the fundamental problems affecting the Niger Delta. What we are just saying is that his release is a good gesture on the part of the Federal Government, we can now, at least,sit down with them, talk and address those fundamental problems. Certainly, his release will not ease any tension, it will only give a kind of window to start the process of dialoguing with the Federal Government."

Tuodolor said the release was not a development worth celebrating, as it was long overdue. Nevertheless, he hailed the step by the Federal Government but added that all charges against him should be dropped. "The development is welcomed but also long over due. We call on government to drop the charges against him. The release will contribute to the peace in the region. Criminals into hostage taking in his name will have no place to hide henceforth.

They will not have any reason to indulge in it again. Let it be on record that we are not thanking government for the release because in the first place there was no cause for the arrest. It was just an attempt to supress the struggle of the region. Again we want to use this opportunity to call on government to demilitarize the Niger Delta region. Just Friday some of our youths were killed by soldiers," the founding IYC president stated.

Scribe of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Front (the political arm of Asari-led Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force), Odums Onisanya James, also hailed the release. He said it would help fish out criminal elements in the struggle and as well eliminate them from it. "So there will be peace.

Now we are going to refocus and redefine the struggle. Whatever condition he was given for the release is not our headache. The issue is that he has been released. The so-called conditions will not soften him. The development has shown the sincerity of the government not like the insincerity of Obasanjo. Now we can talk about the issues of peace in the region".

The head of Supreme Egbesu, Sergeant Werinipre Noel Digifa, had this to say: "We welcome the release but we call on the Federal Government to release all Ijaw in detention in the country on account of the struggle. We have one hundred and fifty Ijaws in different locations in the country. We are appealing that Chief D.S.P Alamiesiegha should also be released. Asari is just a step. We raised a Kaiama Declaration on the way forward, we want it discussed.

The Ogoni Bill of Rights is there; government should discuss with all ethnic nationalities in the region: Urhobo, Itsekiri, etc. Again let me add here that President Yar'Adua would have started on a wrong note if he had continued with the summit on the region. The government quickly corrected itself."

Prince Jumbo Jasper, a youth leader from Bonny, who also spoke on Asari's release, said: "We are very happy with the release. It shows that the new government appreciates the suffering of the people and is ready to work towards the development of the region. But it will not end the crisis in the region. It will go a long way in assuaging the bitterness. Peace is not just absence of violence but also the presence of justice. Until fairness, equity and justice prevail, the struggle will continue. We want resource control and true federalism. The struggle is going to be refocused with the release."

On his part, Siloko Siasia, chairman of South South Youth Leaders Forum, described the release as the beginning of good things to come in the Niger-Delta. His words: "It is a right step in the right direction. Government has shown a high level of commitment towards resolving the Niger Delta problem. The release has shown that President Yar'Adua will be committed to resolving the Niger Delta question. The release gives us a lot of hope. We are all happy, I am personally happy. With this, we are ready to work with the present government to actualize her goals in the region. This will also stop hostage taking in the region. We are going to try as much as possible to network to see that all criminal elements in the struggle are fished out. It is a good beginning for our people."

Unconditional release

For Patrick Nagbaaton, coordinator, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development, Asari's release should have been unconditional. Said he: "The Asari Dokubo phenomenon is one we got to contend with in the Niger Delta. The government should have given him unconditional release because the arrest had further deteriorated the situation in the Delta.

The situation we find ourselves now is such that Asari can't cause an end to the security problem in the region. Peter Odili and Olusegun Obasanjo created the problem. Our organization called for sincerity on their part then but they gambled with the idea.

This led to the problem in the region. And those behind the security problem many don't have any link with Asari in any way. We are calling for unconditional release for him. It must be noted that Asari is all the same fundamental to resolving some of the conflicts in the Niger Delta and his release is a welcome development".

But for the militant group, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta, MEND, the release is a welcome development. Jomo Gbomo, spokesman of the group, said thus in an online statement to Sunday Vanguard: "We consider the release of Asari as justice served, albeit late.

This gesture by the new government is an indication of its preparedness to dialogue and has effectively bought time for the oil industry while the more serious issue of resource control for the Niger Delta is considered."

oguzie j.j.
Jun 18, 2007, 10:33 AM
The release of Alhaji Dokubo is an indication that UMY'S may have started on a good note but the federal govt must go beyond that to ensure that justice is done to the ND people espescially in the area of environmental pollution and compensation to the communities.

One good thing I will personally ask Alhaji is to bring sanity into the JRC and NDPVF. A serious coordination is reqiured to involve MEND which has shown some consistency. The criminals among this groups need to be flushed out to regain lost respect.

La verita' fa male !!!!

Abraxas
Jun 21, 2007, 11:08 PM
Hi, folks!

This article was curled from Sahara Reporters. It is very informative, and sheds reasonable amount of light on the perceptual emancipation and world view of the people of the Niger Delta region, by laying bare the stark reality on the ground in the minds of a severely short-changed people.

Please peruse slowly, gigest and assimilate the message of the author (Dr. Hope Eghagha), and radically upgrade your consciousness accordingly.

Happy reading spree, folks!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


The Fish Returns to the River: Asari Dokubo and the Niger Delta Struggle

By Dr. Hope Eghagha.

Source: SaharaReporters.com (http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/board/.http://www.saharareporters.com/www/article/detail/?id=355), Thu 21st June, 2007

Compatriots who are remotely familiar with liberation struggles know that the shape and course of events are sometimes dictated by or predicated on the fate and fortune or misfortune of certain individuals. Fidel Castro. Nelson Mandela. Kwame Nkrumah. Dedan Kimathi are some examples of such forceful personalities. Supermen (intellectually) they may be, or even ordinary mortals who by sheer commitment evince a larger-than-life role for themselves; their spirit helps to propel and (or) sustain the movement or idea. Sometimes the protagonist is physically removed from the scene by powerful interests, represented by existing superstructures. Paradoxically because of the quality of leadership given or the ideals they stand for, their names become synonymous with the struggle. Mandela poetically captured this in the halcyon years of the anti-apartheid struggle when he proclaimed: ‘The struggle is my life'. The poignancy of this bold assertion took on a profound meaning when he stepped out of gaol twenty-seven years later and became a living legend and an international hero. What he also implied was that even his death could be and was part of the struggle. Indeed, he said as much during the Rivona Trial in 1962.

At other times, private interests instigate acts of violence, with the State providing a cover up. The security agencies, ever loyal to the State, obsequiously engage in acts of terror and extermination and follow these up with a hush. In explicit terms, the State and private interests sometimes coalesce in deleting human beings from earth's surface like a computer deleting characters. It is rare or even difficult for the State or dominating power to easily identify with the spirit and tempo of struggle. During the nationalist struggle, the twin forces combined, at least, for a while, until economic interests became predominant, and the State and some individuals parted ways. To be sure some private interests connived with the colonial power to undermine the struggle of the freedom fighters. Often, the struggle and its symbols stand on the other side of the ideological divide, the side that the State would rather annihilate. They are often contradictory, different, with different goals. Success will never come on a platter of gold to those who wish to be truly free. It has to be fought as a prelude to negotiations.

If in the title of this intervention I have decided to depict the recent bail granted Alhaji Asari Dokubo by the Nigerian State in metaphoric terms, drawing cryptic allusions and portents from the images of the fish and the river, it is because of my apprehension of the contradictions which the arrest and recent release connote in the current phase of the delta peoples' struggle for liberation and resource control. For, in creating a façade of rapport between the State and the Major Third Hero of the Struggle of the Niger Delta peoples, the Obasanjo government also set a booby trap which the first two heroes – Isaac Boro and Ken Saro Wiwa – walked into and became instant martyrs in the hands of previous dictatorial governments. It is apposite to underscore the point that thousands of ordinary people who have succumbed to the pangs of death are also heroes in the collective sense. Heroism at the follower ship level is crucial in this discourse.

I am also conscious of the annihilation of fish and fishes from the aquatic life of the Delta Region occasioned by the rapacious quest for black gold from the soil of the long oppressed people of the region. Denied both of a source of livelihood and self dignity, the violent turn of the current cry of anguish of the people, was foreseen by the discerning. Only the insensitive beneficiaries of the plundered wealth remained blinded to the inevitable reaction from the deprived people of the region. The beauty of black gold and its attendant power ensured that the pragmatic realities were ignored.

The heroic welcome which the people of Rivers and Bayelsa States gave Asari Dokubo cannot be matched by any living politician in the country without renting a crowd. Indeed, the home states are the river for the big fish that was abducted by the Nigerian State to the dry land of Abuja, made opulent by the riches of the rivers and coastal lines of the Niger Delta. His ‘villainy' is somewhat forgotten or placed in a correct ideological perspective and classified as heroism, much like the folkloric Ozidi in J.P. Clark's eponymous Izon saga. Need I say that I am also acutely conscious of the long silence of the intellectual class of the Niger Delta on collectively proffering views and strategies which would help to shape the discourse of the affairs of the region! The youths have stepped out using the tool of violence; when shall we men of mind and matter collectively step into the ring and provide the intellectual wing of the liberation struggle? Do we expect the youths to stem the federal onslaught and then hand over political power to bystanders?

Foremost academic from that region the late Professor Claude Ake helped to stimulate both public and academic discourses of the subject at different fora and contexts. However, the discourse was not sustained in any mass form nor did the political class signify any intention that it needed a frame work to confront the Nigerian State. As we now know there is an urgent need for the intelligentsia of the Niger Delta to set the process in motion in order to provide an intellectual framework for the struggle. As men and women trained in the power of logic they may not embark on the physical struggle for liberation. Yet, strategies are needed in order to wrest leadership from the violent youth and restore it to the elected representatives. However there is great distrust between the people and the leaders of the region. A serving governor who presided over an impoverished state was named ‘Oil Sheikh', coined from collective wealth of the people.

The governors of the region in the last eight years did not show by word or deed that they were conscious of the enormous contradictions in the areas which they governed. For, they were not really voted into power by the collective will of the people. The political system of the country which makes it possible for outside interests to determine who governed the State made it impossible and unnecessary for the governors to be accountable. Despite the resources allocated to Delta State for example, not much can be found in terms of development. The wild jubilation which followed Asari Dokubo's return shows that he is more popular than the former governors all put together.

If anything, the political class was willing to trade fundamental issues with federal appointments and largesse. It was a divide and rule tactic which the military perfected and which the politicians later inherited. Under this arrangement some traditional rulers from the region were used against the people and silenced by rich patronage from the oil prospecting companies. On this score the traditional structure of traditional African society militated against the need to be fierce and even strident in the call for radical reforms. The tragedy was further compounded by the absence of a forum that would articulate the wishes of the Niger Delta people. Against this background it can be understood how the youth of the region managed to seize the initiative and produced for the first time a Vice President of Izon origins.

To be sure the Izon were most vociferous in the struggle, the worst hit by the environmental disaster in the region. Spread across six States in the Niger Delta, this ethnic group with a huge population could not muster a united voice to challenge the indignities of federal occupation until the emergence of Ken Saro Wiwa in the 1990s and Asari Dokubo an odd decade later. Isaac Boro who very early recognised the travesty of federalism that the nation practised was silenced in the 1966s. The intimidation tactic worked. Up till recently no one remembered Isaac Adaka Boro in any memorial adverts. He was taboo in the history of the nation. It was an uprising against the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Even as a pupil in a primary school in Sapele I was not taught anything positive about the Isaac Boro movement. To ‘Keep Nigeria One' was a task indeed which all Nigerians, both first class and second class citizens were expected to treasure even in the throes of death and oppression. Not for us was the anthem ‘To build a country where no man was oppressed'. It was alright for the minorities to be oppressed in the interest of the Niger Delta.

The federal might ensured that the disparate peoples of the region could not be put together in a State to articulate their views. For example, the Izon ought to have four States judging by population strength and economic viability. Certainly these would be more viable than Jigawa, Sokoto, Adamawa and Yobe, states that were created to give the notorious political advantage to the northern oligarchy. Bayelsa State was grudgingly conceded to the Izon. Providence that placed them in such a harsh terrain compensated them just like the Urhobo, Itsekiri and Ogoni with underground wealth that could ameliorate mass suffering. Nature, we must observe has also provided an outlet for the people of Saudi Arabia.

Another tragedy of the region was the inability of the peoples of the area to see themselves as one. Izon, Urhobo, Itsekiri, Isoko, Okpe, Ogoni, etc seemed to have focussed on the things that divided them than on the issues that united them. The interethnic fighting in Warri in the early days of the Ibori administration was a distraction. Ironically, with the benefit of hindsight the coming of Sanni Abacha was instrumental to the decision of the people of the region to bury the hatchet in the head of a common enemy. With the militarization of the Niger Delta, particularly Ogoni land in the notorious days of the brutal Col. Okuotimo, it became clear to the people that the Nigerian Army was an invading force that had to be warded off. For the army of young men and women who had remained unemployed for years, becoming a militant was a way of creating a new identity, an identity of power and relevance.

Asari Dokubo, just like every perspicacious Niger Deltan, knows that the struggle is not over; it has just begun, another phase, that is. Every letter of the historical book of the liberation struggle shows that he ought to be more wary than he ever was. Security gives way to conspiracy. Dokubo narrated his ordeal in solitary confinement while in detention. The reason was the need to break him, make him lose his mind. Martyrdom was not a distant choice for the state when the stakes are high. Oil or the source of world energy in any form is a high stake in any political equation. If the international conspirators had given the go-ahead, Dokubo would not have emerged alive from the hell of the Obasanjo gulag. For, as we now know, Saddam Hussein needed to die for oil to freely flow into the industrial concerns of the Western world. Destroying the social and economic fabrics of Iraq was of little consequence to Washington and London. Sexed up materials were presented to the United Nations Security Council to ensure world cooperation. How did Asari Dokubo escape a similar fate?

Certainly it was not because of greater love which the Nigerian Government had for this, in their view, a most unlikely hero. The threat to greater destabilisation was palpable. The Obasanjo administration never really lived down the stigma of the Odi massacre, a modern watershed in the relationship between the Federal Government and the people who own the crude oil that oils the machinery of the Nigerian State. Besides, the antecedent of Ken Saro Wiwa was etched in the memory of all living Nigerian tyrants. When then British Prime Minister John Major pronounced the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa an example of judicial murder, it is my view that the state apparatchik became very jittery about and very conscious of how world opinion could change overnight against any tyrant, benevolent or otherwise. It is also possible that martyring Dokubo would have truncated the Third Term agenda which at that time was high on the priority list of the civilian junta. The Obasanjo administration was also conscious of the dubious plans that were afoot for the April 2007 general elections. A flawed election conducted by a government with the blood of a popular activist and freedom fighter would have been too much a burden to bear.

Asari Dokubo was detained because of the threat he posed to the supply of oil to the Nigerian State and the international community. For the sake of appearances, Dr Frederick Fasheun, Ganiyu Adams, and Ralph Uwazurike were also detained. The first two, whether by coincidence of close ethnic relationship with the President or otherwise were released from detention last year. Uwazurike and Dokubo remained in detention for a longer period. As we write, Uwazurike is still in detention. The ethnic card is also played in the location of the Liquefied Natural Gas Company in Ogun State, the former president's home state, which is no home to oil production. Acts of injustice as this would continue to anger the boys of the region. More gas companies in the area in question would no doubt create greater and better job opportunities deprived kith and kin of Asari Dokubo.

The tokenism that is the Vice Presidency bestowed on an Izon man, Dr. Jonathan Goodluck, ought to be translated into something permanent if the return of the fish to the big river must have any significance. The Federal Government should be prepared to intervene massively in terms of job creation and infrastructural development. The government should seize the opportunity of the presence of Dr. Goodluck to re-strategise and usher in a radical transformation of the region. Dr. Goodluck should be given a strong voice in the government; he in turn should hold broad consultations, not with contractors and job seekers. As an academic he should be able to attract quality thinking into the process of proffering solutions to the climate of hopelessness in the region. The oil companies should restructure their personnel or Human Resources Departments and make sure they are headed by Niger Deltans. There are too many idle hands in the region that have become familiar with the power of wealth or easy money.

Already, it would seem that abductions have been taken out of the hands of MEND and ideologically conscious movements. This is my reading of the situation. Asari Dokubo may not be able to speak for all the groups in the region. An alternative platform, rather a more embracing platform ought to be created. The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as currently constituted ought to be reviewed. Awarding petty contracts to make the boys happy is not the solution. A proactive NDDC would have ensured that a master plan for the region was in place before funds were scattered in different directions in the last five years. The concept of the NDDC in my view appears to be greater than the individuals in charge of policy implementation in the organ.

The traditional patterns or structures of leadership have collapsed in the face of the violent struggle. Youth militancy is in the ascendancy. The elders have failed; long live the youth is the existing paradigm. It may be apposite then to prevent the next generation of youth from seizing further power by laying a solid foundation for them.

gwobezentashi
Jun 21, 2007, 11:34 PM
Soldiers kill 12 militants, set 11 oil workers free in Bayelsa State.

http://www.tribune.com.ng/

Abraxas
Jun 22, 2007, 12:11 AM
Soldiers kill 12 militants, set 11 oil workers free in Bayelsa State.

http://www.tribune.com.ng/
I produce and sell guns to highly placed Nigerians - Arrested blacksmith

By Dipo Laleye, Minna


Source: Nigerian Tribune, (http://www.tribune.com.ng/21062007/crime1.html) Thur. 21st June, 2007





http://www.tribune.com.ng/21062007/images/crime1.jpg
The suspect, Ahmadu.



TUCKED away in the remote town of Pandogari in Niger State is a middle-aged man, Ahmadu Magaji Pandogari alleged to have been illegally producing one of the best guns in the world without the knowledge of the police in the state before nemesis recently caught up with him.


So far, Magaji was also alleged to have produced close to 80 revolvers which police say are more effective than the imported ones. His source of raw materials according to the police, include scrap aluminium pots and some vehicle parts which he melted and moulded into any type of gun. He also prides himself on the ability to produce land-to-air missile with at least 200 meters range.


The suspected gun-manufacturer who claimed to be an illiterate, was alleged to have confessed that most of his products were not being sold to criminals but to "big men" in the society who use them for self-protection. He was also said to have confessed to the police that his customers always come from far distances to visit him in the remote village, adding that each revolver he produced was sold for between N25,000 and N40,000. Though Magaji was said to have inherited the art of producing guns from his father, ironically, none of his children has the intelligence to produce any weapon because according to him, "they are still young."


Magaji is now in police net in Minna, Niger State though he is being handled with kid gloves by police authorities. In a chat with Crime File, police chiefs who were amazed by Magaji's expertise during his parade, stated that his talent would not be allowed to "waste" adding that he would be deployed to Nigeria Defence Corporation (NDC) to assist in local production of weapons.


Magaji who now lives like a king in police cell wants assistance from government with the assurance that he will continue to operate on the right side of the law. The police did not however say how Magaji was arrested but some of the guns he produced have been recovered and were displayed to newsmen in Minna recently.

Son of the Delta
Jul 5, 2007, 02:26 PM
Latest update on the Niger Delta.

Five foreigners kidnapped in Nigeria as armed group ends truce Wed Jul 4, 12:31 PM ET



PORT HARCOURT (AFP) - Armed men kidnapped five foreigners in oil-rich southern Nigeria early Wednesday, the same day the country's most prominent militant group announced it would end a truce with the government.




It remained unclear, however, who was responsible for the latest kidnappings.

Rivers State police and Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo said the victims comprised two New Zealanders, an Australian, a Lebanese and a Venezuelan.

Employed by a company named Lone Star Drilling, they were in the process of drilling a well for Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell in the Soku region when they were seized.

The Niger Delta has been at the centre of a long confrontation between the government, militants who claim to be fighting for a larger share of oil resources for locals and a plethora of armed gangs out to make ransom money.

Some 200 foreigners, mostly oil workers, have been kidnapped in the region since the beginning of 2006.

According to industry and security sources, a group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) is the best-equipped, best-organised and most media-savvy militant group in the country.

Since it rose to prominence in early 2006, MEND has carried out kidnappings and a variety of other attacks such as car bombings, directed either at Nigerian government targets or at foreign oil companies and workers.

That group announced the end of a month-long suspension of attacks on Wednesday.

It had called the truce soon after new Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua took office on May 29 to allow for talks with the government. MEND had said it would resume attacks after a month if certain conditions were not met.

The conditions included the release of two detained Niger Delta separatist leaders, Mujahid Asari Dokubo, jailed since 2005, and Diepreye Alameseigha, the former governor of Bayelsa State.

Asari Dokubo was released by Nigeria's federal high court on June 14 for "health reasons", but MEND spokesman Jomo Ngomo said in an email to AFP: "After the release of Asari, nothing else has happened."

There were now "more serious" issues which "foster militancy" in the oil-rich region, the statement said, "such as the theft of our resources and the enslavement of the people of the delta".

"The military has continued to murder unarmed civilians with impunity and there are countless indegenes of the delta still in jail without trial," it continued.

"We cannot afford to remain silent in the face of all this."

Abraxas
Jul 7, 2007, 10:10 AM
Hi, folks!

I wonder why the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Umaru Musa Yar'Adua (GCFR), and his Special Adviser on Communications, my very good friend, Segun Adeniyi, lost their voice boxes when Osamuyi Aikpitanhi LOST HIS LIFE, with the direct connivance of the agents of the Government of Spain as much as they have shown so much interest to express so much opprobrium, not on the common criminals that abducted the poor half-UK, half-Ikwerre Nigerian toddler, despite UNSOLICITED assistance graciously provided by MEND? Instead, the whole of the Niger Delta region will have to be demonized, diabolized, and criminalized, just to satisfy Her Majesty's Government.

Oya, my buroda, Ogbeni Olusegun (I Dey Kampe Kekere) Adeniyi, now give it like you should, to His Excellency, the Ambassador of Spain to Nigeria, and tell him that Spain should be ashamed that such barbarity, like what happened to Osamuyi Aikpitanhi in the Iberia airline, ever happened, and that the culprits in Madrid should be fished out soonest and dealt with decisively, or else, hell will freeze, as directed by Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

Chikena!

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)



http://www.thisdayonline.com/images/logo_thisday.gif

Yar'Adua Orders Security Agents to Free Kidnapped Girl


<tt style="color: black;">From Josephine Lohor in Abuja, Ahamefula Ogbu in Port Harcourt, and Fidelia Okwuonu in Lagos, 07.07.2007</tt>

President Umar Yar' Adua yesterday expre-ssed deep concern over the kidnap of a three year-old British girl, Margaret Hill in Port Harcourt and directed all security agencies in the country to ensure her safe return to her parents. In a statement in Abuja yesterday, President Yar'Adua regretted that despite the efforts of his administration to improve the situation in the Niger Delta region, "some persons still prefer to resort to hostage taking."
Inspite of the President's misgivings, the kidnappers yesterday threatened to kill the British girl unless her father agreed to take her place, her mother claimed. Her mother, Oluchi, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) yesterday that the kidnappers had called her demanding a meeting in a town in Bayelsa State.
But in the statement from the Presidency signed by his Special Adviser on Communications, Segun Adeniyi, read:



"President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua is deeply concerned that in spite of his administration's firm commitment to the people of the region and its ongoing efforts to give full effect to its plans for the Niger Delta, incidents of the kidnapping of oil workers and innocent citizens continue to be reported in the area.

"President Yar'Adua is particularly troubled by the kidnapping yesterday of an innocent three-year old girl who was on her way to school. He has directed the security agencies to make every possible effort to ensure that she is returned to her family unharmed and he remains in touch with all efforts being made to secure the girl's release.



"The President's thoughts and best wishes are with her parents and relatives in their anguish which he hopes will be speedily relieved by her safe return.



"He believes that no political or economic grievance can possibly justify the recourse to the kidnapping of an innocent three-year old child.



"The Yar'Adua Admin-istration remains fully committed to the rapid resolution of the problems of the people of the Niger Delta. This commitment is underscored by the visit of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to the region last week in the course of which he held useful talks with leaders of some of the militant groups.



"President Yar'Adua therefore appeals once again for a total cessation of all acts of violence in the region, the release of little Miss Margaret Hill and all other hostages as well as the institution of a regional consensus to give his administration a chance to fulfill its plans to address the long-standing grievances of the people of the Niger Delta".
Meanwhile, the girl's mother in her interview with the BBC said the militants allowed her to speak to her daughter who was crying. "They say I can bring my husband to swap with the baby." The kidnappers then threatened to kill Margaret if Mr. Hill did not come within three hours", she said.



After the deadline had expired, Mrs. Hill said Margaret was being fed just "bread and water. The people who are holding her just called again and they were threatening to kill the baby. They accused me of trying to play games with them. They say I can bring my husband to swap with the baby. He wanted to go down for his baby but the police commander told him not to."



In a related development, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) "We will join in the hunt for the monsters who carried out this abduction and mete out adequate punishment for this crime - We abhor all forms of violence against women and children," has offered to help find the girl the group said. The UK's Foreign Office has called for the immediate safe release" of the girl.



Margaret, the daughter of an expatriate worker, was grabbed from a car on her way to school. The gunmen smashed the window of her car as it stood in traffic. Her father, Mike Hill, who has lived in the country for 10 years, runs a bar in Port Harcourt.
In a related development, the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro said he would not disclose the method the police is adopting in ensuring they secured the release of the girl without any harm coming to her.


"We are working on it and she will be freed without any harm coming to her," Okiro assured.


The mother of the toddler had told THISDAY yesterday to call back in 10 minutes times to enable her take permission from her husband to speak and probably release the photograph of the girl.



When called after a while, she said she was busy and tired and wanted to be left alone and severally cut the line while inquiries were still being made.


Okiro who responded to questions from newsmen in Port Harcourt while on routine tour of commands in the zone said that hostage taking in the Niger Delta was not being carried out by Niger Delta indigenes but by people from states bordering it. He pointed out that some persons arrested for hostage taking turned out not to be from the region, adding that Niger Delta youths would not do anything to tarnish their image.


He also dismissed hostage taking as being part of the Niger Delta's agitation for resource control, stating it had become a criminal act. He said people should volunteer information on suspicious movements to assist the police protect them.


"It is unfortunate the little girl was kidnapped. It has nothing to do with agitation. Kidnap and agitation are antithetical. The federal government has launched the Niger Delta Development Master plan; contracts have been awarded for construction of bridges and factories that will create jobs. When the workers come, they are taken hostage and so work stops; so who is working against the development of the Niger Delta?," he queried.
He charged his men to defend themselves when attacked by any group especially in their offices, adding, "As long as you are to protect lives and property, protect yourself first. Your place is your citadel and you have to protect it. If they come to attack you, use minimum fire and repel it. By minimum fire, I mean fire back to protect the station. I do not want to hear about burning stations".


On how to contain the level of arms flooding the region, he said that small arms in circulation in the West African sub-region were the nightmare of not only Nigeria but other countries.


He stated that while countries which border Nigeria had conflicts and Nigeria did not, they still use the country as a transit route and some of the arms end up in the country.
He announced some reforms which include the decentralization of the promotion of policemen up to the rank of sergeant at formations by the Commissioner of Police while he pledged to update the promotion list in the force to motivate them.


He told the gathering that he had already written to the government to increase the number of the police so that those due for promotion can be accommodated and a budget for their salaries prepared and paid to them.


Okiro promised to tackle the issue of housing for the police, explaining that he has approached some banks and the National Housing Fund where a scheme to offer housing loans to policemen to own houses they can retire into or settle their families in while going on transfer.


On how to equip the police, he said that the Police Equipment Funds Committee which has been mandated to raise funds to equip them will handle the issue of vehicles, communication, arms and ammunition.

Son of the Delta
Jul 7, 2007, 09:09 PM
THE CAUSES OF ANGER AND REBELLION IN THE NIGER DELTA


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By Dr. Priye Torulagha

After a bloody civil war (1967-70) which claimed more than a million lives, Nigeria cannot afford to repeat the same political mistakes again. Therefore, the political leaders of the country must be proactive and committed to ensuring that political crises are not allowed to fetter out of control, as it did before the civil war. In this regard, it is to the national security interest of the country that its political leaders deal and manage the Niger Delta crisis in such a way as to minimize or eliminate the possibility of war. To do so, it is necessary for the leaders to be well informed about the issues that are fueling restiveness in the region.




The purpose of this article is two fold:

1.to attempt to identify the issues that are fueling anger among the people generally and armed rebellion by the youths and

2.to identify possible ways in which the issues could be resolved amicably.

The hope is that President Umar Musa Yar'Adua and his advisers would take reasoned political measures that are capable of leading to the resolution of the conflict and stabilize the region. Those Nigerians who followed the pre-civil war political situation in the country before the civil war very closely would recognize the fact that the leaders at the time wasted so much effort until a point of no return was reached. The result was a bloody civil war in which Nigerians killed Nigerians mercilessly.


In order not to repeat the same mistakes again, it is necessary for regional and national leaders to understand the causes of instability in the Niger Delta. The following are some of the factors that are fueling anger and militant opposition to the status quo in the region:



1.The Bakassinization of the Niger Delta: Niger Deltans feel that Nigeria has never treated the Niger Delta as part of Nigeria proper. Both political and military leaders of the country, going back to the 1960s, tended to view the region as a mere outpost that does not matter in the context of Nigeria's distribution of political power and resources. The discovery of petroleum did not change the view that the region is merely an outpost that could be ignored but exploited at will.

Thus, there is a perception among the indigenes of the region that Nigeria and its leaders are only interested in the oil and not the people. They are afraid that as soon as the oil wells run dry, Nigeria's leaders would ignore the region. Being fearful of ending up with nothing to show for the vast oil wealth, the youths, who are the future leaders of various ethnic groups in the region, want to change the status quo.



Bakassinization is coined from Bakassi. It should be noted that Nigeria ignored the Bakassi until oil was found before showing interest. Cameroon outfoxed Nigeria and obtained a favorable legal ruling in the International Court of Justice to claim the territory.



2.Paternalistic Response to Regional Demands with Four-Letter Organizations:
Due to either lack of interest and or political will, it appears that whenever the indigenes of the region express concern about their neglect, the Federal Government of Nigeria often respond hurriedly by setting up a four or more letter parastatal organization to create the impression that the government is interested in developing the region. For example, in the 1960s, the Federal Government set up the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB). In the 1980s, the Oil Mineral Producing Area Development Commission (OMPADEC) was put in place. Today, it is the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The problem with these parastatal organizations is that they are temporary political machineries and are subject to the whims and caprices of those in power. Sometimes, they are well funded and other times they are not. Due to the unpredictability of the political environment in which they operate, they do not have a staying power like the cabinet-level ministries. Unlike the administrative leaders of the ministries, the leaders of these organizations are political appointees and are forced to spend a greater part of their time playing politics in order to keep the organizations afloat financially. Moreover, the leaders of these organizations are expected to behave as sycophants in order to sustain themselves and the organizations. This renders the organizations ineffective in developing the region. Likewise, it appears that some of the national leaders use these organizations as a conduit to ferret money away while pretending to develop the Niger Delta.




3.Lack of Federal Ministries: For whatever reason, the Federal Government, for decades, consistently refused to set up branches of the federal ministries that deal with infrastructural development in the region. As a result, even in 2007, there is no significant presence of the Federal Ministries of Works, Transport, Health, Education etc in the region. The situation actually gets worse as one heads toward Ijaw territory. In Ijawland, there is no Nigerian presence at all. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the former governor of Bayelsa State and the current vice president of Nigeria noted:

Though it is well known to the Federal Government and the international community as far back as 1956, oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri. It is ironical that we are talking about 2006 and in terms of public utility that part of the country is not yet known. We do not have electricity from the Federal Government" (Ikokwu, June 13, 2006).

Even the East /West Road, built by Gen. Yakubu Gowon in the early 1970s, was neglected for over thirty years. Not until the youths of the region began to take forceful measures to change the dynamics, before former President Olusegun Obasanjo realized that something had to be done to rehabilitate the road. Despite this effort, the Federal Government ignored the need to rehabilitate the Lagos- Benin Road which is the major artery that connects the South-South and the South-East zones of the country. The leaders of the South-South had to send an SOS to force the immediate former president to do a patch up job. On the other hand, he did not hesitate to approve money for the rehabilitation, dualization, and construction of new roads in other parts of the country during his tenure in office.


Perhaps, due to either lack of concern or sensitivity, when the Federal Government established the Federal University of Petroleum Resources at Effurun in Delta State, it filled the top echelon of the institution with personnel from the non-oil producing regions of the country. Concerned that the Federal Government was again engaged in a deliberate effort to marginalize the Niger Delta, the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Stakeholders Forum (OMSTAFOR) and Host Communities of Nigeria Oil and Gas (HOSCON) rejected the appointment of Prof. Babatunde Alabi as the Vice Chancellor of the university. The OMSTAFOR and HOSCON also lamented the fact that not a single person from the South-South was appointed to the Governing Council of the University (Arubi, April 30, 2007).


There is no doubt that the NDDC alone cannot develop the region due to decades of neglect. What is needed is a collaborative effort involving the ministries and the para-statal organization. In short, Nigeria needs to carry out a major development program in the Niger Delta to offset years of neglect.



4.The National Budget and the Niger Delta: There is a tendency by Nigeria's leaders and policy makers to assume that the creation of a four letter para-statal organization is sufficient to satisfy the developmental needs of the Niger Delta. As a result, federal ministries are not located in the region to help boost development and provide a degree of permanent government presence in the region. It is obvious that the lack of sizable federal ministries contributes to the discrimination of the region in the distribution of financial resources through the national budget. For almost forty years, the Federal Government hesitated to include the Niger Delta in the national budget. As a result, while projects in other regions were nationally budgeted for, the region barely got anything. The indigenes of the region regularly hear about dams, irrigation projects, roads, bridges, higher educational facilities etc. being built in other regions while such projects are rarely executed in the Niger Delta. Instead, the region is always expected to sacrifice so that other regions could benefit from its wealth. For instance, the national desire to dredge the River Niger is motivated by the economic interests of other parts of the country and not the interest of the Niger Delta, even though the ecological damage could be felt more in the region than in other parts of the river.

There was no national debate concerning the massive infusion of funds to enhance Lagos infrastructurally and develop Abuja. If the kind of amount that was used to develop Abuja were recommended for the development of the Niger Delta, there is no doubt that a sizable number of people in the country, especially from the non-oil producing regions, would oppose such financial mobilization for the development of a single region of the country, even though most of the funds would be generated from resources (oil and gas) coming from the region.



5.Revenue Sharing Formula: The indigenes of the Niger Delta are angry over the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria arbitrarily changed the revenue sharing formula to deprive them of the right to determine their economic fate the way they see fit. They point to the fact that when groundnut, cocoa, palm oil etc. were the mainstay of the economy, the Federal Government allowed a sharing of the revenue based on derivation. However, since oil became the mainstay of the economy, the Federal Government eliminated derivation and took total control of the oil revenue, thereby, depriving the oil-producing region the right to an equitable sharing of the wealth. They believe that the Federal Government usurped their natural right to a fair share of revenue due to the fact that they are mostly members of minority ethnic groups. They further argue that if oil were mostly found in majority areas of the country, the Federal Government would not have tempered with the derivation principle.

Thus, it has reached a point in which the host communities are no longer afraid to take extrajudicial actions to express their anger. Prince Donald Nwemegha stated:


"We are angry but we are also asking our youths to lay down their arms. The day you give us our 50 percent, we surrender our arms. You would not have problems any more. As soon as we are in control of our resources, we can assure you there will be peace so get this message across to your colleagues" (Nwaeze, August 31, 2006).
6.The Intolerable Decrees: The indigenes point out that the Federal Government instituted the Petroleum Act, the Land-Use Decree, the Gas Re-Injection Decree and others to totally deprive them of the right to a fair share. By totally nationalizing the revenue from oil, decisions about oil production, including who gets license to explore oil, who gets oil blocks, what project is to be carried out etc. are made outside of the region in which oil is explored.

Niger Deltans further point out that other mineral resources (bauxite, chromium, tin, gold, coal, etc.) in the country are not controlled to the extent in which oil is nationalized. This means that while the ethnic groups in the Niger Delta, including the Igbos, cannot determine the fate of resources found in their territories, other ethnic groups can determine the fate of resources located in their territories. Consequently, people in Ife, Modakeke, Jos etc. can mine gold, tin and other minerals and make a living while the Edos, Ibibios, Igbos, Ijaws, Ikwerres, Ilajes, Isokos, Itsekiris, Urhobos, Efiks, etc. cannot do so. Thus, the Land Use Decree is not enforced stringently in other parts of the country the way it is enforced in the Niger Delta. This creates a double standard and discrimination, thereby, fueling anger and the need to do something to change the status quo.


It is this double standard that forced Ret. Maj. Gen. David Ejoor to call former President Obasanjo when the president quietly settled the Ife-Modakeke dispute which partially involved royalties from gold exploration in that part of the country. The general called Obasanjo and said "You have helped to stop the crisis between Ife and Modakeke and the government has not taken over their gold the way you have taken over our oil have you? He said no" (Sunday Punch, July 3, 2005) In particular, the general pointed out to the former president that he did not threaten to use military force to stop the Ife and Modakeke people while the president did not hesitate to send military forces into the Niger Delta. As can be seen, only oil is regarded as a national resource while gold and other resources are treated as private resources of those who own the territories in which these minerals are located.


7.Resource Transfer: Due to the Intolerable Decrees, Niger Deltans argue that revenue from oil is used to develop other parts of the country while the Niger Delta is ignored. They point to the massive infusion of oil wealth in the modernization of Lagos during the reign of Gen. Yakubu Gowon. They also point to the multibillion dollars used to build Abuja into a modern city during the reigns of Gens. Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha. They are angry over the fact that the Federal Government does not hesitate to infuse extensive oil wealth in building infrastructures in other parts of the country while quite unwilling to infuse multibillion dollars from the oil wealth to build the Niger Delta, after all, the oil wealth originates from the Niger Delta.

They add that since oil is highly nationalized with most of the revenue ending up in other regions and pockets of individuals, it means that the Federal Government has a policy geared toward transfer of wealth from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country.



8.Revenue Looting: The indigenes seem to be very angry that the oil wealth is looted by individuals who supposed to use the wealth to develop the country. Thus, for the past thirty or more years, most of the individual wealth accumulated in the country came by way of looting the oil wealth. The World Bank reported that
"80&#37; of oil wealth is owned by 1% of the population, 70% of private wealth is abroad whilst 3/4 of the country live on about $1 a day - at least 15 million of those live in the Niger Delta..." (Ekine, Fbruary 15, 2007).

This means that Nigeria's leaders have not been effective using the oil wealth for national development. This is evidenced by the fact that parastatal organizations set up to manage the oil revenue have basically served as instruments for funneling money into the private bank accounts of the high and mighty. In this regard, Niger Deltans are convinced that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) are simply conduit for individuals and their friends to enrich themselves. Revelations by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar clearly showed that the PTDF was barely used for petroleum technological development, as the name indicated. Rather, it was an unofficial bank for those politically connected to Aso Rock (Umar, Nwankwere & Chukwulaka, March 1, 2007).


Furthermore, as a demonstration of the fact that the oil wealth is looted rather than used for national development, the indigenes point to the increasing discovery by the newly installed governors that their state treasuries are empty. The implication is that most of the previous governors looted their state funds to enrich themselves before leaving office. Interestingly, no one seems to be seriously prosecuted for carting away public money, even though the act is a criminal violation.




9.Oil Block Distribution: There is anger that Nigeria's leaders distribute oil blocks to themselves, their relatives, and friends while neglecting to develop the country. Thus, even though former President Obasanjo spoke many times about fighting corruption, he maintained the corrupting oil block system until his term of office expired. The system shortchanges the nation since national wealth is transferred to individual ownership through oil blocks.

In particular, most of the oil blocks go to Nigerians who are not from the oil-producing region. This means that the leaders of the country intentionally transfer wealth from the oil-producing region to individuals from the non-oil producing regions of the country, thereby, indirectly enriching those regions while pauperizing the Niger Delta.

Oil block distribution is done secretly so that the public is not fully aware of who gets what share. Indeed, the manner in which oil blocks are distributed seems to violate the reasons given for the enactment of the Land-Use Decree. A vast majority of those who get oil blocks have no experience whatsoever in oil exploration and neither do they have any technical expertise that would have justified their acquisition of oil bocks in Nigeria.




10.Militarization of the Niger Delta: Niger Deltans believe that Nigeria's leaders use strong-arm military tactics to intimidate them to submission. .In this regard, they view "Operation Restore Hope" as a military occupation to allow oil companies to continue to destroy their lands and exploit them.
They wonder whether the appellation "Operation Restore Hope" is intended to mock at their powerlessness. What hope? Whose hope? Is it possible for someone who feels being exploited and occupied to be happy and hopeful?


Each time the security forces are deployed to flush out "troublemakers", which is the Nigerian euphemism for the armed fighters, the blood among Niger Deltans boils up knowing full well that the army, navy, airforce, and the police forces have been equipped and beefed up with money coming from the Niger Delta. The people react by saying, "you steal our oil money and use the money to buy arms to come kill us so that you can steal more oil money." Thus, when former Vice President Atiku Abubakar revealed that former President Obasanjo had authorized the purchasing of arms worth $2 billion dollars, Niger Deltans screamed loudly that the situation in the region could have been stabilized with the infusion of $2 billion for infrastructural development. When Saharareporters (February 20, 2007) reported that the immediate former president acquired 193 Cobra Amphibious Armored Vehicles from Singapore, the indigenes got really angry.



11.States within a State: The oil companies operate as if they are sovereign nations. They seem to be above the law and are not subject to charges, despite offences committed against Nigerian citizens of the Niger Delta. The Land Use Decree gives them freedom to do whatever they want in the region. They can violate property rights of the people with impunity. They do not even have to negotiate with the local communities since they receive their permission to operate in the Niger Delta from either Lagos or Abuja.

This means that they can dig, destroy, pollute, burn, and flare gas to destroy the environment and get away with such acts without any Nigerian effort to stop them. The people feel that Nigeria's leaders have conspired with the oil companies to annihilate them through the destruction of their environment and the spreading of poisonous chemicals that cause incurable diseases. Indeed, the oil companies operate as states within a state in Nigeria, thereby, neutralizing the sovereignty of Nigeria.


These multinational companies obey the laws in their home countries. In their homelands, before they carry out any exploration, they conduct exhaustive environmental studies and pay appropriate compensation and taxes. Generally, they negotiate with the government and local communities and pay those who own the lands. In Nigeria, they seem to have total disregard for the rights of the local communities. Sometimes, they pay some individuals within the communities and ignore the rest. Sometimes, they hire some youths to attack those who do not support their presence. Sometimes, they pay those who are politically connected but have no right whatsoever to sign land contracts. These practices fuel intracommunal and intercommunal conflicts. In some cases, they eagerly work with the security forces to violently suppress legitimate demands. Nigeria does not seem to have any interest in protecting the rights of its citizens in the oil-producing region.



12.Oil Spillage and Gas Flaring: After more than forty years of exploration of petroleum, it is easy to assume that the oil companies and Nigeria have developed a workable oil spillage and gas flaring control systems in place. Unfortunately, there is no system in place to effectively manage oil spillage and gas flaring in the country. As a result, whenever there is spillage, the oil companies have no inclination to act swiftly in cleaning the environment. The Nigerian government too has no interest in directing the oil companied to intervene quickly and clean up the oil mess. Thus, the local communities suffer severely from the damage caused by oil spillage. Right now, the Buseni community in Bayelsa State is subjected to chemical poisoning emanating from various spillages in the area and the oil company responsible for the spillage is no where in insight. In May, 2007, angry Ogoni youths took over an oil facility belonging to Royal Dutch Shell Plc. demanding compensation for damage caused by oil spillage. In fact, the Ogonis have been battling the company for about 14 years now over spillage in various parts of their territory (BBC, May 15, 200&). Nigeria does not care to force the company to live up to its responsibility.

Gas flaring is an ongoing process. This means that Nigeria allows the oil companies to 'fry' the Niger Delta, thereby, altering the ecosystem. Nigeria keeps postponing the date to enforce the stoppage of gas flaring, thereby, indicating that it cares more for the money than the people. When the people react, security forces are immediately dispatched to teach them a lesson for disturbing the oil companies. This increases the anger, thereby, forcing some of the youths to become militant.



13.Employment Discrimination: Niger Deltans seem angry that they cannot even gain employment in oil companies that operate in their territories. The oil companies tend to hire Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions to fill almost every level of employment. These Nigerians have no regard for the environment since they are not from the Niger Delta. At the end of the day, they go back to their regions and flaunt their oil generated income and mock the Niger Deltans for their stupidity.

The practice of hiring other Nigerians and foreign workers creates serious underemployment in the region. Many university graduates from the Niger Delta cannot find jobs in the oil companies even when they received their degrees in various engineering and technological fields. The joblessness creates unhappiness and provides a large pool of educated youths for recruitment into the armed struggle in various ways. The youths argue, 'if they use force to steal our resources, we will use force to get back our resources.' The lack of employment for the indigenes of the region compelled Prof. Kimse Okoko, President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to give "multinational oil companies operating in Ijawland a five year ultimatum to employ a minimum of 40% of Ijaws in their management cadre" (Iwori, February 11, 2005).


Apart from having no regard for the people of the region, the non-indigenous Nigerians and foreign workers contribute to the destabilization of the social order in many parts of the Niger Delta by impregnating young women and leaving them to take care of the children without any support. Thus, an increasing number of children are being born by young women to oil company workers who have no regard for the children they helped to procreate.


The oil company workers also bring all kinds of diseases as they interact with women in the region. The rate of HIV/AIDS is high in the oil-producing region due to this outside interference. The Federal Government of Nigeria does not even care about the social problems emanating from the large presence of outside oil workers in the region. The only concern is the quantity of oil that needed to be produced.



14.Payment Differentials: The oil companies also antagonize their Nigerian employees by paying foreign oil workers higher wages than their Nigerian counterparts, even though both groups perform the same jobs. Sometimes, the foreign workers are even less educated than the Nigerian employees, yet, they are paid more. Similarly, benefits given to foreign oil workers are more attractive than those given to their Nigerian counterparts. This creates animosity between foreign and Nigerian workers, thereby, fuelling some of the kidnappings of foreign workers.


15.Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs): Due to the Petroleum Act, the Land Use Decree, the Gas Re-Injection Decree etc., the oil companies know that they do not have to negotiate with the indigenes of the territories they do business as soon as they get clearance from Lagos or Abuja to do business in the Niger Delta. As a result, they sign MOUs and break them at will, knowing full well that the local communities cannot do anything to them.

Thus, instead of engaging in genuine negotiations with the local communities, they prefer to negotiate secretly with self-appointed individuals in various oil-producing communities. By so doing, they avoid being socially responsible to the communities they do business. Sometimes, they do not mind hiring some youths to cause mayhem in the community so that they can get their way without paying reasonable fees for the use of the lands. As a result of these kinds of tricky and deceitful tactics, almost every community in which oil is found is embroiled in some kind of conflict between those who receive secret payments from the oil companies and those who do not receive anything. Odiama in Bayelsa State and Kula in Rivers State are typical examples of the destructive tactics that the oil companies deploy in the communities they operate.



16.The Oil Companies and Nigeria's Security Forces: The oil companies work closely with Nigeria's security forces to make sure that the rights of the indigenes of the oil-producing region are not enforced. The oil companies sometimes pay security officers to punish local communities for threatening them. In early and middle1990s, Ogoniland was ravaged by security forces which collaborated with the Almighty Shell. Led by Maj. (later Colonel) Paul Okuntimo, the Ogonis were treated like objects for target practice. Starting from the late 1990s, the Ijaws replaced the Ogonis as objects for target practice by the security forces. The list of towns and villages ravaged by security forces continue to grow. The most recent being Ogboinbiri in Bayelsa State.


17.Formation of International Military Alliance: While Nigerian officials continue to deny allegations about spending money to upgrade the military to fight in the Niger Delta, they do not hide the fact that they are interested in forming military alliances with foreign military powers. The Guardian reported that "Nigeria and the United States have entered into an energy security partnership to protect the Niger Delta region and the Gulf of Guinea" (Abubakar, Decemebr 9, 2005). It was also reported sometimes ago that India would provide training on terrorism to the Nigerian military. Similarly, Nigeria is expected to be part of a military umbrella in Africa to fight and stop terrorism (Agha, May 31, 2006). Many Niger Deltans believe that the word "terrorism" is a codeword for military intervention in the Niger Delta.


18.West African Gas Pipeline Project: It is a common saying that charity begins at home. However, former President Obasanjo did not seem to buy into that saying, hence, agreed to a joint venture to build the West African Gas Pipeline which will supply gas from the Niger Delta to Benin, Togo, Ghana, and possibly Ivory Coast. While the effort to build a regional economic alliance is laudable, however, the fact that most Nigerians have never experienced a stable supply of electricity and gas to their homes makes one wonder why would a country decide to supply a critical resource to other nations while it has not been able to provide such critical resources to its own citizens. Added to the fact that Nigerians have never had a steady supply of energy, in most parts of the Niger Delta, there is no drinkable water, electricity, and health care facilities.

Interestingly, the West African Gas Pipeline Project is located in an area between Ondo and Ogun States. It is estimated to cost about $25 billions. This means that this project will dwarf every project that has been located in the Niger Delta. Moreover, it is going to employ people from the area in which it is located, thereby, creating massive employment and generating enormous economic activities for the people in the SouthWest region of Nigeria. On the other hand, in the Niger Delta, the indigenes are rarely employed in projects located in their communities. Whether it is at the Eleme Refinery or Eket Terminal or Brass Terminal or Bonny Terminal or Forcados/Escravos Terminal, the indigenes are always mere onlookers while others get the jobs and the contracts. Prof. Okoko stated:

"We wish to send a clear message to the oil companies that we shall no longer tolerate their deliberate exclusionist policies, where our qualified youths are denied employment in their organizations, and our qualified contractors are denied contracts" (Iwori, February 11, 2005).

The indigenes of Akwa Ibom and Delta States have demonstrated many times for the lack of employment for local residents in major oil facilities in their states. Thus, the biggest gas project is located in a region that barely produces gas, yet, those who are going to benefit most from the project have no direct attachment to the source of gas. The way decisions are made concerning oil and gas tend to perpetuate powerlessness in the oil-producing region while enhancing the political, financial, and economic powers of the decisionmakers and their regions. This creates frustration and anger to stop the flow of oil and gas. Perhaps, the discovery of oil in Ghana might lead the country to develop cold feet concerning the West African Gas Pipeline because this project is a hot political cassava.




19.Perpetuation of Sycophancy in the Niger Delta: Niger Deltans feel angered by the fact that Nigeria does not allow them to choose their own leaders. They believe that efforts are constantly made by those who wield national power to impose leaders on the region. The following attest to this concern:


a.The sons and daughters of the Niger Delta who speaks boldly about the issues are viewed as "troublemakers" and efforts are made to silence them. Nigeria's leaders tend to either ignore or threaten them with imprisonment or assassination. For example, the Late Gen. Phillip Effiong was an incorruptible son of the oil-producing region. He served honorably in Nigeria and in Biafra. Yet, Nigeria's leaders ignored him. Gen. David Ejoor is one of the most respectable Niger Delta leaders still alive. He contributed so much to Nigeria, yet, he is always ignored while individuals who have no credibility are courted and dealt with. Dr. Obi Walli, Dr. Denni Fiberesima, Pa Rewane, and Chief Ken Saro Wiwa were killed. Asari Dokubo was tricked, arrested, detained, and charged for treason. He was released only after President Yar'Adua took over the presidency. There are others who are still being detained for one reason or another.


b.Niger Deltans tend to believe that only the sons and daughters of the Niger Delta who are willing to serve the interest of those who wield national power are installed as political leaders in the region. Since1999 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) became the political kingmaking party in Nigeria, the Niger Delta States have had governors imposed on them. They want to elect their own leaders, as democracy demands.


c.The indigenes note that Nigeria's leaders often talk about finding a solution to the Niger Delta problem but they seem only interested in talking to those perceived by the indigenes as sycophants and traitors. It seems that Abuja is only interested in talking to those that would do the bidding of Abuja and not those that would be able to present the issues the way the people in the region really feel. It is arguable that Nigeria has not been able to resolve the regional issues because national leaders are not given first-hand information about the real issues.


20.Lack of Performance by Oil Producing States: The indigenes of the region express unhappiness over the fact that elected officials chosen by Abuja to lead the oil-producing states have repeatedly failed to deliver the goods and services that would have contributed to the development of the region as well as enhance the lives of the people. After more than seven years, the masses in most oil-producing states cannot see any tangible development in their communities, despite an increase in the budgets of these states, as a result of the federation account. It is estimated that the Federal Government gave N3.07 trillion to the Niger Delta States, starting from 1999 to early 2007 (Ogbu, March 23, 2007). The lack of tangible development compelled Chief E.K. Clark to say, during the Presidential Council for the Socio-Economic Development of the Coastal States of the Niger Delta, that "most of the state governments in the Niger Delta were cooking up false reports on fathom projects" (Amaize, February 19, 2007).

The lack of tangible development is leading to a serious division of opinion between elected officials and the people, especially the youths. The people increasingly view their elected officials as the 'enemies' of the people for betraying them. They also believe that the elected officials would not have gotten away with lack of performance if not for the protection that the political leaders receive from Abuja. A spokesperson for an armed group lashed out:


From fraudulent road construction contracts to vain water projects and gravely distorted gas turbine projects, these governors have squandered billions of naira and dollars that they cannot account for. To avoid justice, these governors believe that dumb allegiance to Abuja and stoogy loyalty will save them. They have failed" (Onoyume, February 20, 2007)

It is not far fetched to say that Abuja effort to control the politics of the region is greatly responsible for the lack of performance. During Gen. Yakubu Gowon's regime, the governors of Bendel, South Eastern, and Rivers States performed excellently because Lagos allowed the governors to do what they wanted to do for their people. Consequently, Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia, Col. Samuel Essuene, and Commander Diete Spiff turned their states into progressive zones in the nation. These states embarked upon road construction, educational development, and manpower enhancement. The University of Benin, University of Calabar and the Rivers State University of Science and Technology were initiated by the governors of these states. Bendel led the nation in providing public transportation with the Bendel Lines. The Waterlines provided both road and water transportation in Rivers State. It was quite easy for those who completed their secondary and university education to get employment, either in the public or private sector. During that time, political connection was not necessary for an individual to obtain a job. As a result, crime was very low in the Niger Delta region. Due to the massive scholarship programs offered by these states, particularly Rivers and South-Eastern States, many youths from these states attended universities all over the world, all paid for by the states. Rivers State also had a floating hospital service which provided medical care to communities in the riverine areas. The Ministry of Establishment and the Civil Service Commission were accessible to the population at large. There were projects all over the place, developed by public officials to their communites.

Today, the nine Niger Delta states are laughing stocks. Despite increase in their monthly allocations, the citizens cannot see any enhancement in their lives. This leads to frustration and anger toward public officials and Abuja.



21.Rule of Law: Each time local, state, regional, and national elected and unelected public officials caution the youths of the Niger Delta by advising them to follow the rule of law, the blood pressure of many youths goes up in utter disbelief about the hypocrisy of Nigeria's public officials concerning the rule of law in the country. They wonder whether the public officials are living in a different planet. The truth is that there is no rule of law in Nigeria. The following attest to the doubt held by many people, especially the youths, about the rule of law:


a.The Nigerian Police Force is mired in corruption. As a result of corruption, there is constant violation of the law by police officers. It is not uncommon for a complainant to become the accused and the accused to become the complainant, depending on the amount of bribe. It is not uncommon for ordinary citizens to be shot for refusing to pay bribes. A person can easily be framed for armed robbery and thrown into jail.


b.An arrest is tantamount to imprisonment as the accused is beaten and locked up. The person can remain under arrest for years and nobody cares, especially, if the person has no money or connection to influence the process. Manfred Nowak, a United Nations official noted "More than half of Nigeria's prison population has never been convicted of any crime. It is common for prisoners to wait five to 10 years to come to trial" (BBC News Africa, March 9, 2007). Emmanuel Onwubiko, a commissioner with Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission concurred with Nowak's observation (Ibid.).


c.In high profile cases, the police have a tendency to be very "quick" and "efficient" in arresting suspects to the extent that many Nigerians are convinced that the suspects often paraded publicly did not commit the crimes. In other words, the police have a tendency to arrest suspects in high profile cases even before beginning investigations to unfold the facts of the cases. After parading the suspects on television, nothing happens to the cases anymore. The families of the victims are forced to live in a state of perpetual limbo.


d.On the other hand, since the beginning of the current democratic system, the police have not been able to prosecute anyone for killing Bola Ige, Marshall Harry, Mr. Barnabas and Mrs. Abigail Igwe, Chief A. K. Dikibo, Funsho Williams and many others. If the police cannot successfully prosecute a case involving the former Attorney General of Nigeria, government officials should not be surprised by the lack of public confidence in the rule of law in the country.
e.Judges tend to agree too quickly with government's positions on the law instead of applying the law as neutral arbiters. As a result, innocent people are victimized by the legal system. It is not uncommon for those arrested to remain in detention for years before their cases are heard, even for minor offences. This is why a Nigerian judge permitted the arrest, trial, and execution of Chief Ken Saro Wiwa. The judge or judges did not even allow an appeal to take place before he was put to death. It is rare to hear of a Nigerian judge dismissing a case involving an ordinary Nigerian for lack of evidence.
Due to the fact that Nigerian judges tend to agree too easily with legal positions taken by the government, it is very easy for an innocent person to be victimized by Nigeria's

judicial system.



f.Due to lack of an effective judicial system, some naval personnel are not afraid to violate the law with impunity by allowing detained ships to disappear from the custody of the navy. After the notorious African Pride case, other ships have disappeared from the custody of the navy. Quite often, the ships are used for oil bunkering which is a violation of Nigerian law, yet, some of those who have sworn to protect the territorial integrity of the country do not mind joining forces with oil bunkerers to release such ships to their offending owners. Therefore, whenever the news of the disappearing ships hit the headlines, the youths in the Niger Delta react by saying "is this the navy that will come fight us?"


22.War Booty: Some Niger Deltans believe that Nigeria's leaders treat the region as if it is a captured or conquered territory and the oil wealth treated as a war booty, following the civil war. The youths are really incensed that some prominent national figures, including former president Obasanjo, made statements implying that Nigeria has a right to exploit the region because it won the civil war. The perception that Nigeria's leaders treat the region as a captured territory and the oil as a war booty, no doubt, contributed to the decision by some youths to resort to armed opposition. They reasoned that the only way to stop both military and political leaders of the country from thinking that they have an inalienable right to take from the region because Nigeria 'liberated' the region from Biafra is to use force.


23.Name Calling: Many youths in the Niger Delta believe that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. By this, they mean that those who have skeletons in their cupboards should not call others names. They also imply that those who constantly violate the law by looting public funds should not threaten others with the law. They wonder why seven governors ran away during the swearing-in ceremony of the new governors on May 29, 2007. This Day ( May 30, 2007) reported:

"No fewer than seven former governors failed to show up at the handing over ceremonies in their respective states yesterday {April 29}, while four were suspected to have fled the country for fear of being arrested by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)."

Think about it for a moment, when the number one citizen in a state runs away from the law, it is obvious that something is wrong. Therefore, name calling only seems to make the Niger Delta situation much more complicated.



Fifth Column Activities: It is a well known fact that some of the groups that are now causing political headache in the Niger Delta were sponsored by regional and national politicians. The politicians wanted to control their 'areas of political interest' and to ensure electoral victories. Unfortunately, the 'hired hands' have metamorphosed into formidable groups with well stocked arms. Similarly, some of the youth groups were recruited by regional and national political leaders to infiltrate other groups and create problems so that the government would be able to render all the groups controllable. Unfortunately, the process grew out of control and the groups have developed their own means of living. Thus, Niger Deltans believe that if Nigeria is really serious about peace, it should also arrest those political leaders who helped to destabilize the region. Merely focusing on the youths without also going after the big fishes in the country would not lead to stability.


Oil Bunkering and the Disappearing Ships: Niger Deltans feel exploited and blamed unnecessarily for the problems in the region. They want to know who are the big sharks who hire ships to bunker oil in the Niger Delta. They wonder how African Pride and many other oil bunkering ships were able to disappear while in the custody of the Nigerian Navy. To them, these oil bunkering ships could not have assumed ghostly characters or forms and literarily disappear without explanation if the owners are not very powerful individuals in the country who have connection to the corridors of power in Abuja. The youths in the region view the disappearing ships as evidence that the oil in the region is being stolen by those who have connections to Aso Rock. Otherwise, the Nigerian Navy would have stopped the leakage in its security system.


Recommended Solutions


Although President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan are technically outsiders who miraculously found their way to the pinnacle of national power, they have a great opportunity to solve the Niger Delta problem. They are capable of solving the problem since Nigerians want to give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to try to deal with the multitudes of problems facing the country. For them to succeed, they must look at things from a very different perspective and strongly convince themselves that Nigeria's problems require political solutions and not high-handed military approach.


To be successful, the following activities or actions could be very helpful in ameliorating the Niger Delta crisis:


1.The president should work tactically to legitimize his presidency by moving away from the poisonous PDP politics and be level headed with the Nigerian people. To do so, the president should not be afraid to employ any Nigerian who is qualified and competent. By reaching out to those Nigerians who are not members of the PDP, the president would help to initiate a new collaborative culture that fosters national unity.


2.There is a need to deemphasize the use of force and rely more on communication with stakeholders across the country to bring everyone together.


3.Continue the war on corruption by allowing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to go after alleged looters and prosecute them without political interference.


4.The Nigerian Police Force needs to be thoroughly cleaned. One way to do so is to terminate any officer who is associated with any violation of the law. The salaries and benefits of the members of the police and armed forces must be increased so that they can have a livable income. A program of action is needed to build and modernize police and military barracks so that police officers and soldiers can have decent quarters to live and raise their families.


5.Stop the current oil block distribution system that perpetuates corruption by rewarding certain individuals and penalizing the rest of society. It does not make any sense to claim that petroleum is a national resource, yet, allow few individuals to benefit excessively while depriving other citizens.


6.Revisit the resource control matter. The Federal Government can live with a 60/40 or 50/50 percent share with the oil producing states. It is important to resolve the resource control issue since other minerals in the country are not nationalized to the extent in which petroleum and gas are. It is not fair that those whose lands contain gold, tin etc. can explore freely and those whose lands contain petroleum are totally deprived.


7.Avoid treating the Niger Delta as a mere outpost of Nigeria. From now on, the region must be included in the national budget. Similarly, projects must be distributed in such a way that every region has something to show for its being part of Nigeria. Therefore, it is hoped that the president abides by his statements concerning the Niger Delta when he said:

the crisis in the Niger Delta commands our attention and it is a matter of strategic importance to our country.

I will use every resource available to me to address this crisis in a spirit of Fairness, justice and cooperation. We have a good starting point because our Predecessor has already launched a master plan that can serve as a basis for Comprehensive examination of all issues.


We will involve all stakeholders in working out a solution...Let us allow the

Intending dialogue to take place and continue to act from there...(Lohor, May 30, 2007).



8.The president should allow the people to choose their own leaders during negotiations of the issues affecting the Niger Delta. In this regard, the representatives of the region's negotiating team should not be limited to only elected public officials and known public figures. In any negotiation, the negotiating team from the region should also include some community and youth leaders. Encourage the fighters to participate too. If they participate, do not violate the trust placed on the peace process by doing what former President Obasanjo did when he agreed to negotiate with Dokubo Asari and then turned around to arrest, detain, and try him for treason.


9.Denationalize the political leadership in the oil producing states. Even though Nigeria claims to be a democracy, there is a perception in the Niger Delta that their political leaders are imposed upon them from Abuja. Due to the imposition, the people are not able to exercise their democratic right to reward and punish their states' officials for good or bad performance. In other words, both elected and appointed public officials in the oil-producing region seem to be unresponsive to the needs of their people because their allegiance is directed at Abuja. The officials tend to believe that if they pay homage to their Abuja sponsors, they would be protected from the wrath of the people back home.

If the Federal Government really wants to negotiate with the people in the region, it should not look for sycophants or those who are trying to butter their breads. Instead, the government should allow the people to freely choose their negotiators. It should be noted that former President Obasanjo tried so much to manipulate every political negotiation in the country, hence, the National Political Reform Conference and the Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum failed.



10.The Federal Government should not merely give out the monthly allocations from the Federation Account, it should also make sure that there is transparency and accountability. In other words, it is necessary for the Federal Government to make sure that funds allocated to the oil-producing states, as well as other states, are used for infrastructural development and services to the citizens. Just passing out money is no longer enough since the wealth does not trickle down to the people in the towns and villages. Of course, the Federal Government would not be able to ensure transparency and accountability in the states if it is incapable of running the affairs of the country in a responsible manner. This is why fighting corruption is critical to the success of the current regime.


11.The president should not put undue pressure on Vice President Jonathan, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Awoye Azazi and other high officials from the oil region in order to solve the Niger Delta problem. Putting undue pressure on them could lead to further escalation of the conflict by compelling the youths to view such a development as an attempt by the Federal Government to use the sons and daughters of the region to control the region. However, it is very important for the president to listen to the vice president and others from the region in order to develop an achievable peace and stability.


12.To demonstrate good faith and the spirit of a new beginning, the president should release all political prisoners that were detained for one reason or anther by the previous regime. In this regard, the release of Dokubo Asari is a step in the right direction. Ralph Uwazuirike too must be released unconditionally.


13.Stop name callings (terrorists, criminals, pirates, hooligans etc) of those who do not agree with you. In particular, peace is not possible if you call the armed fighters names and then expect them to work with you in achieving peace. Name calling by high level government officials are viewed as acts of provocation intended to increase tension, especially, by the youths. The youths are fully aware that high level public officials engage in misappropriation of public funds which is stealing. Those whose hands are not clean cannot call others names.

It should be noted that when Britain adopted uncompromising high-handed military measures to crush the Iris Republican Army, the IRA responded with its own tough measures to counter the government effort. However, when Britain changed tactics and became more diplomatic in resolving the Irish problem, both sides began to talk honestly and were able to compromise on their positions. In Nigeria, it could be said that high-handed military tactics led to the emergence of armed groups. People, especially the youths, got tired of being crushed by security forces, so, they decided to form their own armed groups. Logically, if Nigeria deescalate by relying less on security forces to solve political crises in the country, the armed fighters too would deescalate.



14.Stop trying to build military alliances intended to subdue any group in Nigeria. Internal matters should be handled internally. It makes the indigenes of the Niger Delta very angry whenever they read about Nigeria's clandestine efforts to woo foreign military forces or specialists.


15.Build trust by minimizing manipulative politics. Due to repeated disappointing promises, Nigerians are not trustful of their political leaders and public officials. Distrust is even higher in the oil-producing region due to decades of failed promises. Similarly, due to corruption, lack of the rule of law, and unreliability of the elected public officials, the armed fighters are very distrustful of Nigeria's leaders and public officials.


16.Stop treating the South-South and the South-East regions as captured territories. The youths in these regions would not accept the notion that they have no right to exercise authority over resources that are found in their territories. It is hypocritical to say "No Victor No Vanquished" as was officially declared at the end of the civil war in 1970 and then turn around to take actions that imply that you won the war, therefore, you are entitled to take the resource of the area, at will, as a war booty.


17.Treat the Niger Delta as a national security zone. National security does not mean merely deploying security forces to occupy it. Rather, it implies paying a closer attention toward its development. Generally, when a region is the economic mainstay of the state, it is compelling for the state to treat the region as a national security zone. This means that the state is proactively involved in the infrastructural development and stabilization of the region. Consequently, the Federal Government must be proactive in ensuring that development takes place in the region so that anger and opposition dissipate. Similarly, treat Igboland as part of Nigeria and not as a conquered territory, otherwise, the youths would continue to identify with the aspirations of MASSOB, just as the youths in the riverine areas identify with the aspirations of the fighters.

Conclusion

Indeed, this is a comprehensive attempt at cataloguing the issues that have contributed to the intensification of opposition toward oil exploration in the Niger Delta. While it is not guaranteed that the issues and suggestions enumerated above would ensure total peace in the region, nevertheless, they could be very helpful in minimizing the conflict. It is necessary for negotiators to understand the holistic nature of the crisis and not assume that some twisting of the arms would put a stop to the problems. To resolve the issues, a national will is needed, otherwise, nothing will happen and instability will continue with the potential for a much bigger conflict.




References


Abubakar, L. (December 9, 2005). Nigeria, U.S. sign pact on Niger Delta, Gulf of Guinea. Guardian Newspapers. http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article06. 12/09/2005.

Agha, E. (May 31, 2006). US explains presence in Gulf of Guinea. This Day. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=49448. 5/31/06.


Amaize, E. (February 19, 2007). Clark faults Ibori's report on projects. Vanguard. http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/niger_delta/nd21902207.html.


Arubi, R. (April 30, 2007). N-Deltans reject FG's appointees into Varsity of Petroleum Resources. Vabguard. http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/niger_delta/nd230042007html. 5/1/2007.


BBC Nes Africa. (March 9, 2007). Nigerian police torture 'routine.'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6435787.stm. 3/12/07.


(May 15, 2007). Locals seize Bigeria oil facility. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6658773.stm 5/15/2007.


Ekine, S. (February 15, 2007). US Marines & the Niger Delta. Posted on Iijawnation@yahoogroups.com. 2/17/2007


Iwori, J (Ferbruary 11, 2005). Ijaws: oil companies get 6=5-yr ultimatum. This Day. http://www.this dayonline.com/nview.php?id=9231. 2/1/2005


Ogbu, A. (March 23, 2007). Niger Delta receives N3.07 trillion in 8 years. This Day. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?=73678. 3/23/07.


Okokwu, C., (June 13, 2006). This Day. Htpp://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=50453. 6/13/06.


Nweze, K. (August 31, 2006). Niger Delta: Host communities give conditions for peace.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=57172. 8/31/06


Kohor, J. (May 30, 2007). Yar'Adua: It's time for restoration. This Day. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=79554.


Saharareporters (February 20, 2007) Niger Delta: Obasanjo acquires 193 Cobra Amphibious Vehicles. Posted on Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com.


Sunda Punch, (July 3, 2006). Major General David Ejoor's eye-opening statements. Posted on Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com 7/6/2005.


This Day. (May 30, 2007). 7 governors absent at handover. http://www.thisdayonline.com.nview.php?id=79553.


Umar, B., Nwankere, L., & Chukwulaka, M. (March 1, 2007). PTDF reports: Senators, others cry foul.

The Sun

Abraxas
Jul 12, 2007, 01:39 AM
Militants To Hold Talks With Umar Yar'Adua

President Umaru Yar'Adua (GCFR)is scheduled to meet with Niger-Delta militants in Abuja, soon over their demand for the creation of two more states - Oil Rivers and Toruebe for the Ijaws and an additional Local Government Area in Bayelsa State, as part of the conditions for peace to reign in the region.

It was learnt with authority yesterday that the demand for the creation of two more Ijaw states and one more Local Government in Bayelsa State to bring the present seven Local Governments to eight were made to the Vice President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan by leaders of the militant groups in the region when he visited them in the creek recently.

Dr. Jonathan reportedly told the militants that he, as Vice President, could not guarantee the creation of two more Ijaw states and a Local Government in Bayelsa, suggesting that it was his boss, President Umaru Yar'Adua that had the power to give a dependable answer.

"It was on this basis", hinted our source, "that it was agreed that the militants would meet with President Umaru Yar'Adua."

The date for the meeting could not be confirmed, yesterday, but Dr. Jonathan is facilitating the parley between Yar'Adua and the militants.

Asked if the militant leaders would attend the meeting with Yar'Adua personally, our source said some of them would be there while others would send their representatives.
Besides, it was gathered that the militants agreed to cease hostilities for three months to give the Federal Government an opportunity to address their demands, and not the earlier one month, which had already lapsed, that a faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) gave the government previously.

To ensure that all the militant groups in the region were carried along in the high-level parley with the government, the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND), Niger-Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF) boss, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and others recently convened an enlarged meeting of Ijaw freedom fighters at Oporoza, the administrative headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom to brief the entire Ijaw youths.

The meeting, held, last Thursday, was attended by Ijaw youth leaders from all over the country, but it was not conclusive, as it was shifted to this weekend, to enable other representatives attend the meeting.

DoubleWahala
Jul 12, 2007, 02:17 AM
Dr. Jonathan reportedly told the militants that he, as Vice President, could not guarantee the creation of two more Ijaw states and a Local Government in Bayelsa, suggesting that it was his boss, President Umaru Yar'Adua that had the power to give a dependable answer.

"It was on this basis", hinted our source, "that it was agreed that the militants would meet with President Umaru Yar'Adua."



How I wish it was this straight-foward.

Creation of states has to be done (for the time being) according to the provisions of our constitution, viz;


8. (1) An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of creating a new State shall only be passed if-

(a) a request, supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new State) in each of the following, namely -

(i) the Senate and the House of Representatives,

(ii) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and

(iii) the local government councils in respect of the area,

is received by the National Assembly;

(b) a proposal for the creation of the State is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the area where the demand for creation of the State originated;

(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of all the States of the Federation supported by a simple majority of members of the Houses of Assembly; and

(d) the proposal is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of each House of the National Assembly.

As you can see, it is a very onerous process, especially in sub-sections (c) and (d), which requires a two-thirds majority of all the states of the federation and each house of the National Assembly!

So, in all honesty, I dont know what useful purpose is served by meeting with UMY'A. The north will never agree to the creation of more states in the south-south. The only remotely feasible way that this might work out, is if a quid pro quo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quid_pro_quo) is agreed upon, whereby each region (six in all) is able to get two more states each; your guess is as good as mine as to the workability of such an arrangement.

OK...even if the provisions of the constitution are to be changed, to make the process less drawn-out, that in itself, is another onerous kettle of fish:


9. (1) The National Assembly may, subject to the provision of this section, alter any of the provisions of this Constitution.

(2) An Act of the National Assembly for the altertion of this Constitution, not being an Act to which section 8 of this Constitution applies, shall not be passed in either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds majority of all the members of that House and approved by resolution of the Houses of Assembly of not less than two-thirds of all the States.

(3) An Act of the National Assembly for the purpose of altering the provisions of this section, section 8 or Chapter IV of this Constitution shall not be passed by either House of the National Assembly unless the proposal is approved by the votes of not less than four-fifths majority of all the members of each House, and also approved by resolution of the House of Assembly of not less than two-third of all States.

(4) For the purposes of section 8 of this Constitution and of subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the number of members of each House of the National Assembly shall, notwithstanding any vacancy, be deemed to be the number of members specified in sections 48 and 49 of this Constitution.



In light of political realities on ground, this (2 more states for south-south) is an extremely long shot. The only politically feasible way of achieving some of the inherent outcome of creating more states (more budgetary allocation), is to create more local governments. The steps stipulated in the constitution are not as onerous:


8(3) A bill for a Law of a House of Assembly for the purpose of creating a new local government area shall only be passed if -

(a) a request supported by at least two-thirds majority of members (representing the area demanding the creation of the new local government area) in each of the following, namely -

(i) the House of Assembly in respect of the area, and

(ii) the local government councils in respect of the area,

is received by the House of Assembly;

(b) a proposal for the creation of the local government area is thereafter approved in a referendum by at least two-thirds majority of the people of the local government area where the demand for the proposed local government area originated;

(c) the result of the referendum is then approved by a simple majority of the members in each local government council in a majority of all the local government councils in the State; and

(d) the result of the referendum is approved by a resolution passed by two-thirds majority of members of the House of Assembly.

From the above, we can see that it is not necessary for two-thirds majority of all the states to be in agreement. It will be purely an internal state exercise.

In conclusion, more Local governments - a possibility. More states - highly unlikely.



DW

Abraxas
Jul 14, 2007, 03:22 PM
Militants In First Nigeria Talks

Nigeria's most prominent oil militant leader, Mujahideen Dokubo-Asari, has held his first talks with the new government and promised to help end the violence in the Niger Delta.

Mujahid Dokubo-Asari met Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan (GCON) in the capital, Abuja, after a call for a ceasefire by another militant leader Tom Ateke.

"Abductions are not part of our struggle," Mr Dokubo-Asari said.

Attacks on oil facilities and the kidnapping of oil workers has cut Nigeria's oil output by 25%.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (GCON), who is from the Niger Delta, was sworn in along with President Umaru Yar'Adua (GCFR) in May 2007, with the president promising to bring peace to the region.

Further talks are underway in the port city of Calabar, away from the centre of the violence in the region.

Six different militant groups who are believed to be behind the recent spate of kidnappings are expected at the two-day meeting.

On Thursday, the son of a Nigerian chief was kidnapped in the main oil city, Port Harcourt, as he was being driven to school.

The gunmen holding two-year-old Samuel Amadi, son of Iriebe Chief Eze Francis Amadi,ransom of 50 million naira (US$393,000 approx.) to release him.

This follows the release of a British three-year-old girl on Sunday, after four days in captivity.

are reportedly demanding a Mr Dokubo-Asari dismissed suggestions that his latest move might be an indication that he was angling for a job in the new government.

"Our struggle is a moral struggle for justice,"he said.

Most Niger Delta residents live in poverty despite the oil wealth of their region.

The militants want a greater share of the profits to remain in local hands.

Some criminal gangshave also taken to kidnapping, as ransoms are often paid, although this is officially denied.

omaks
Jul 15, 2007, 09:14 AM
Militants lay down arms, beg for forgiveness
ISINE IBANGA


The leaders of seven militant groups in Rivers State on Saturday begged the people of the state for forgiveness and renounced further acts of kidnapping and bloodletting.

The Kirike Bese Peace and Development Project and the Wakirike United Peace Guide, all in Okirika, jointly brought the militant leaders and their members together to sign a peace accord.

An evangelist, Clara Ngeribika, is the president of KBPDP President, while Mr. Edgerton Akuru, is the secretary.

The repentant gunmen, whose members also renounced crime and violence, included the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Mr. Ateke Tom; his counterpart at the Niger Delta Solidarity Front, Mr. Abiye Abaku; and the leader of the Outlaws, Mr. Sampson Adoki.

Others are Mr. Peretoru Iyaye, who commands the Klansmen, Mr. Theophilus Fubara of the Green Landers; and Mr. Glory Iyango of the Black Axe.

The leader of the Bush Boys/Peace Makers, Mr. Sunny Opuambe, who is also a party to the peace initiative, was however, absent at the meeting which took place at From Market Square in Okoriju town, Okirika.

He was said to be attending a similar meeting in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The militants, who wore white shirts and navy blue-coloured wrappers, sang and danced along the roads in the major villages of Okirika shortly after swearing to an oath not be involved in criminal activities again.

Speaking on behalf of the other militant leaders before the oaths were administered, the President of Wakirike United Peace Guide and leader of the Green Landers, Fubara knelt down and begged the people for forgiveness.

He admitted that they had committed so much havoc including killing, maiming and destruction of properties of the people, saying that they were now changed people.

”All the groups represented here have done evil against our people but I beg you on their behalf to forgive us and receive us back to the fold. We promise never to go back to such evil again.”

Saying that an idle brain is the workshop of the devil, Fubara appealed to the government at all levels to assist in rehabilitating them as a step towards re-integrating them into their respective communities.

He particularly called on the Niger Delta Development Commission to extend its projects to Okirikaland, which he said had not benefited from the commission.

Rev. Boma Fred, a native of Okirikaland, who administered the oath on the militants, reminded them that God‘s judgement would come upon them if they again take up arms against their people.

He prayed God to heal the people of the pains and suffering they encountered from the hands of the youths as well as the return of genuine peace to the land.

The militants swore with the Holy Bible, which was handed to each of them by the officiating ministers, while also taking a native oath, consisting of fish and sliced cassava before they signed the peace document.

Meanwhile, there was a security alert in the Niger Delta on Saturday, following a presidential order to the heads of the security agencies in the region to brace-up or face unpleasant actions.

It was learnt that President Umaru Yar’Adua, who was unhappy about the recent developments in the region, especially the abduction of children by the militants, directed the security agents to redouble their efforts in crime control and prevention in their own interest.

Sunday Punch learnt that Yar’Adua read the Riot Act to the military service commanders, commissioners of police and directors of the State Security Service in the region, on Saturday.

Findings by Sunday Punch revealed that the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Owoeye Azazi, conveyed the position of Yar’Adua to the military service commanders through the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Restore Hope, Brig-Gen Lawrence Ngubane.

Similarly, the presidential signal to the police commissioners was handed down by the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, while the Director-General of the SSS, Col. Kayode Are (rtd), relayed the message to his subordinates in the region.



A new day is emerging in the Niger Delta Region. Son of Delta and other sceptics take note. This is just the beginning......and peace and unity will eventually reign supreme. Isha Allah/God willing.:D:D:D:lol::lol::lol:

Son of the Delta
Jul 16, 2007, 07:22 PM
Oma Nigeria should do what is right and I assure everywhere will be bright! If justice reigns in Nigeria and state agression and genocide stops nobody will have any cause to take unconventional measures. This is not the first time some of these people came out to make such statements. The power to promote peace does not lie in the hands of those that made those statments.It lies solely in the hands of Obasanjo/Odili and perhaps Yar`Adua. The day they will allow people to exist in peace without intimidation is the day that such statments will no longer be mere rhetoric.

Abraxas
Jul 19, 2007, 07:10 PM
Hi, folks!

I wonder who would emerge as the so-called "leaders and opinion moulders" of the Niger Delta region: Dr. Peter Odili? Alabo TOG Graham-Douglas? Dr. Abiye Sekibo? TonyAnnenih? Lucky Igbinedion? James Ibori? Obong Vctor Attah? Ateke Tom? Dokubo Asari? Admiral Mike Akhigbe? General Okikiolakan Obasanjo? General Jomo Gbomo? Let us watch and pray.

Make I no laff, bo. :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D Make we just dey look, sha. I dey come.

Obrigado.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


Niger Delta Militants Present Ceasefire Terms To Yar‘Adua

Niger Delta militants will today propose four terms including the release of former Governor Diepereye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State and a general amnesty for a general cease- fire in their quest for self determination.

The terms of the cease-fire will be conveyed by Asari Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteers Force (NDPVF) during a scheduled meeting between a delegation of the militant groups and President Umaru Yar‘Adua in Abuja.

Senator David Brigidi chairman of the Federal Government instituted Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee confirmed the terms as laid down by the militant groups from his preliminary contacts with the groups.

Besides the release of Chief Alamieyeseigha, the militant groups are also asking the federal authorities to create the enabling environment that will allow the leaders of the militant groups to unmask themselves and appear in Abuja for the negotiations.

"They just want some preliminary conditions to be met so that they could create a ceasefire for the dialogue to take place. Our duty is to put the ceasefire in place so that the leaders, opinion moulders and delegations from the ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta will be able to come to Abuja and discuss,'' Senator Brigidi who was picked by the Federal Government to broker the talks with the militant groups told Vanguard.

Abraxas
Jul 20, 2007, 04:15 PM
$16bn Lost in Niger Delta, Says US Report

A new report released by the United States Department of State says an estimated 587,000 bbl/d of crude production was shut-in in Nigeria as of April 2007, owing to increased pipeline vandalism, kidnappings and militant takeover of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

This has caused the country loses estimated at $16 billion dollars in export revenues since December 2005.

The majority of shut-in, the report observed, is located onshore in the Niger Delta, with Shell incurring most of it (477,000bbl/d), followed by Chevron (70,000 bbl/d) and Agip (40,000 bbl/d).

The report entitled, "Nigeria Energy Data, Statistics and Analysis – Oil, Gas, Electricity, Coal", stated that militant attacks have had a negative impact on Nigeria's domestic refining capabilities.

Giving instances, it said attacks in February 2006, in the Western Delta region forced the Warrri (125,000bbl/d) and the Kaduna (110,000 bbl/d) refineries to shut down. This was followed by the shut down of two refineries in Port Harcourt in December 2006 due to lack of feedstocks.

In spite of the shut-in production, the report says Nigerian importers of crude oil have "experienced little to no decrease in Nigerian crude imports over the past 15 months. The steady exports suggest that the new production capacity additions (approximately 545,000 bbl/d) have mostly offset shut-in production."

In 2006, Nigeria shipped approximately 42 per cent of its crude exports to the US, 19 per cent to Europe, 7.6 per cent to South America, Asia and the Caribbean, it states. The percentage of Nigeria's export to the US, perhaps, confirms recent reports that it has surpassed Venezuela and Saudi-Arabia to become the third largest export of oil to the US
The report also revealed that Nigeria had 36.2 billion barrels of oil reserves as of January 2007, with the government planning to expand it to 40 billion barrels by 2010.

The majority of reserves, it says, are found along the Niger River Delta and offshore in the Bight of Benin, Gulf of Guinea and Bight of Bonny. The Bonga field is estimated to hold recoverable oil reserves of 600 million barrels.

In 2006, total Nigerian oil production, including lease condensates, natural gas liquids and refinery gain averaged 2.45 million bbl/d (of which 2.28 million bbl/d was crude oil), it says. It advised that if Nigeria could bring back all oil currently shut-in, the country could reach crude oil production capacity of three million bbl/d.

Odinaka
Jul 20, 2007, 07:05 PM
THE CAUSES OF ANGER AND REBELLION IN THE NIGER DELTA


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Dr. Priye Torulagha

After a bloody civil war (1967-70) which claimed more than a million lives, Nigeria cannot afford to repeat the same political mistakes again. Therefore, the political leaders of the country must be proactive and committed to ensuring that political crises are not allowed to fetter out of control, as it did before the civil war. In this regard, it is to the national security interest of the country that its political leaders deal and manage the Niger Delta crisis in such a way as to minimize or eliminate the possibility of war. To do so, it is necessary for the leaders to be well informed about the issues that are fueling restiveness in the region.




The purpose of this article is two fold:

1.to attempt to identify the issues that are fueling anger among the people generally and armed rebellion by the youths and

2.to identify possible ways in which the issues could be resolved amicably.

The hope is that President Umar Musa Yar'Adua and his advisers would take reasoned political measures that are capable of leading to the resolution of the conflict and stabilize the region. Those Nigerians who followed the pre-civil war political situation in the country before the civil war very closely would recognize the fact that the leaders at the time wasted so much effort until a point of no return was reached. The result was a bloody civil war in which Nigerians killed Nigerians mercilessly.


In order not to repeat the same mistakes again, it is necessary for regional and national leaders to understand the causes of instability in the Niger Delta. The following are some of the factors that are fueling anger and militant opposition to the status quo in the region:



1.The Bakassinization of the Niger Delta: Niger Deltans feel that Nigeria has never treated the Niger Delta as part of Nigeria proper. Both political and military leaders of the country, going back to the 1960s, tended to view the region as a mere outpost that does not matter in the context of Nigeria's distribution of political power and resources. The discovery of petroleum did not change the view that the region is merely an outpost that could be ignored but exploited at will.

Thus, there is a perception among the indigenes of the region that Nigeria and its leaders are only interested in the oil and not the people. They are afraid that as soon as the oil wells run dry, Nigeria's leaders would ignore the region. Being fearful of ending up with nothing to show for the vast oil wealth, the youths, who are the future leaders of various ethnic groups in the region, want to change the status quo.



Bakassinization is coined from Bakassi. It should be noted that Nigeria ignored the Bakassi until oil was found before showing interest. Cameroon outfoxed Nigeria and obtained a favorable legal ruling in the International Court of Justice to claim the territory.



2.Paternalistic Response to Regional Demands with Four-Letter Organizations:
Due to either lack of interest and or political will, it appears that whenever the indigenes of the region express concern about their neglect, the Federal Government of Nigeria often respond hurriedly by setting up a four or more letter parastatal organization to create the impression that the government is interested in developing the region. For example, in the 1960s, the Federal Government set up the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB). In the 1980s, the Oil Mineral Producing Area Development Commission (OMPADEC) was put in place. Today, it is the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The problem with these parastatal organizations is that they are temporary political machineries and are subject to the whims and caprices of those in power. Sometimes, they are well funded and other times they are not. Due to the unpredictability of the political environment in which they operate, they do not have a staying power like the cabinet-level ministries. Unlike the administrative leaders of the ministries, the leaders of these organizations are political appointees and are forced to spend a greater part of their time playing politics in order to keep the organizations afloat financially. Moreover, the leaders of these organizations are expected to behave as sycophants in order to sustain themselves and the organizations. This renders the organizations ineffective in developing the region. Likewise, it appears that some of the national leaders use these organizations as a conduit to ferret money away while pretending to develop the Niger Delta.




3.Lack of Federal Ministries: For whatever reason, the Federal Government, for decades, consistently refused to set up branches of the federal ministries that deal with infrastructural development in the region. As a result, even in 2007, there is no significant presence of the Federal Ministries of Works, Transport, Health, Education etc in the region. The situation actually gets worse as one heads toward Ijaw territory. In Ijawland, there is no Nigerian presence at all. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, the former governor of Bayelsa State and the current vice president of Nigeria noted:

Though it is well known to the Federal Government and the international community as far back as 1956, oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri. It is ironical that we are talking about 2006 and in terms of public utility that part of the country is not yet known. We do not have electricity from the Federal Government" (Ikokwu, June 13, 2006).

Even the East /West Road, built by Gen. Yakubu Gowon in the early 1970s, was neglected for over thirty years. Not until the youths of the region began to take forceful measures to change the dynamics, before former President Olusegun Obasanjo realized that something had to be done to rehabilitate the road. Despite this effort, the Federal Government ignored the need to rehabilitate the Lagos- Benin Road which is the major artery that connects the South-South and the South-East zones of the country. The leaders of the South-South had to send an SOS to force the immediate former president to do a patch up job. On the other hand, he did not hesitate to approve money for the rehabilitation, dualization, and construction of new roads in other parts of the country during his tenure in office.


Perhaps, due to either lack of concern or sensitivity, when the Federal Government established the Federal University of Petroleum Resources at Effurun in Delta State, it filled the top echelon of the institution with personnel from the non-oil producing regions of the country. Concerned that the Federal Government was again engaged in a deliberate effort to marginalize the Niger Delta, the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Stakeholders Forum (OMSTAFOR) and Host Communities of Nigeria Oil and Gas (HOSCON) rejected the appointment of Prof. Babatunde Alabi as the Vice Chancellor of the university. The OMSTAFOR and HOSCON also lamented the fact that not a single person from the South-South was appointed to the Governing Council of the University (Arubi, April 30, 2007).


There is no doubt that the NDDC alone cannot develop the region due to decades of neglect. What is needed is a collaborative effort involving the ministries and the para-statal organization. In short, Nigeria needs to carry out a major development program in the Niger Delta to offset years of neglect.



4.The National Budget and the Niger Delta: There is a tendency by Nigeria's leaders and policy makers to assume that the creation of a four letter para-statal organization is sufficient to satisfy the developmental needs of the Niger Delta. As a result, federal ministries are not located in the region to help boost development and provide a degree of permanent government presence in the region. It is obvious that the lack of sizable federal ministries contributes to the discrimination of the region in the distribution of financial resources through the national budget. For almost forty years, the Federal Government hesitated to include the Niger Delta in the national budget. As a result, while projects in other regions were nationally budgeted for, the region barely got anything. The indigenes of the region regularly hear about dams, irrigation projects, roads, bridges, higher educational facilities etc. being built in other regions while such projects are rarely executed in the Niger Delta. Instead, the region is always expected to sacrifice so that other regions could benefit from its wealth. For instance, the national desire to dredge the River Niger is motivated by the economic interests of other parts of the country and not the interest of the Niger Delta, even though the ecological damage could be felt more in the region than in other parts of the river.

There was no national debate concerning the massive infusion of funds to enhance Lagos infrastructurally and develop Abuja. If the kind of amount that was used to develop Abuja were recommended for the development of the Niger Delta, there is no doubt that a sizable number of people in the country, especially from the non-oil producing regions, would oppose such financial mobilization for the development of a single region of the country, even though most of the funds would be generated from resources (oil and gas) coming from the region.



5.Revenue Sharing Formula: The indigenes of the Niger Delta are angry over the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria arbitrarily changed the revenue sharing formula to deprive them of the right to determine their economic fate the way they see fit. They point to the fact that when groundnut, cocoa, palm oil etc. were the mainstay of the economy, the Federal Government allowed a sharing of the revenue based on derivation. However, since oil became the mainstay of the economy, the Federal Government eliminated derivation and took total control of the oil revenue, thereby, depriving the oil-producing region the right to an equitable sharing of the wealth. They believe that the Federal Government usurped their natural right to a fair share of revenue due to the fact that they are mostly members of minority ethnic groups. They further argue that if oil were mostly found in majority areas of the country, the Federal Government would not have tempered with the derivation principle.

Thus, it has reached a point in which the host communities are no longer afraid to take extrajudicial actions to express their anger. Prince Donald Nwemegha stated:


"We are angry but we are also asking our youths to lay down their arms. The day you give us our 50 percent, we surrender our arms. You would not have problems any more. As soon as we are in control of our resources, we can assure you there will be peace so get this message across to your colleagues" (Nwaeze, August 31, 2006).
6.The Intolerable Decrees: The indigenes point out that the Federal Government instituted the Petroleum Act, the Land-Use Decree, the Gas Re-Injection Decree and others to totally deprive them of the right to a fair share. By totally nationalizing the revenue from oil, decisions about oil production, including who gets license to explore oil, who gets oil blocks, what project is to be carried out etc. are made outside of the region in which oil is explored.

Niger Deltans further point out that other mineral resources (bauxite, chromium, tin, gold, coal, etc.) in the country are not controlled to the extent in which oil is nationalized. This means that while the ethnic groups in the Niger Delta, including the Igbos, cannot determine the fate of resources found in their territories, other ethnic groups can determine the fate of resources located in their territories. Consequently, people in Ife, Modakeke, Jos etc. can mine gold, tin and other minerals and make a living while the Edos, Ibibios, Igbos, Ijaws, Ikwerres, Ilajes, Isokos, Itsekiris, Urhobos, Efiks, etc. cannot do so. Thus, the Land Use Decree is not enforced stringently in other parts of the country the way it is enforced in the Niger Delta. This creates a double standard and discrimination, thereby, fueling anger and the need to do something to change the status quo.


It is this double standard that forced Ret. Maj. Gen. David Ejoor to call former President Obasanjo when the president quietly settled the Ife-Modakeke dispute which partially involved royalties from gold exploration in that part of the country. The general called Obasanjo and said "You have helped to stop the crisis between Ife and Modakeke and the government has not taken over their gold the way you have taken over our oil have you? He said no" (Sunday Punch, July 3, 2005) In particular, the general pointed out to the former president that he did not threaten to use military force to stop the Ife and Modakeke people while the president did not hesitate to send military forces into the Niger Delta. As can be seen, only oil is regarded as a national resource while gold and other resources are treated as private resources of those who own the territories in which these minerals are located.


7.Resource Transfer: Due to the Intolerable Decrees, Niger Deltans argue that revenue from oil is used to develop other parts of the country while the Niger Delta is ignored. They point to the massive infusion of oil wealth in the modernization of Lagos during the reign of Gen. Yakubu Gowon. They also point to the multibillion dollars used to build Abuja into a modern city during the reigns of Gens. Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha. They are angry over the fact that the Federal Government does not hesitate to infuse extensive oil wealth in building infrastructures in other parts of the country while quite unwilling to infuse multibillion dollars from the oil wealth to build the Niger Delta, after all, the oil wealth originates from the Niger Delta.

They add that since oil is highly nationalized with most of the revenue ending up in other regions and pockets of individuals, it means that the Federal Government has a policy geared toward transfer of wealth from the Niger Delta to other parts of the country.



8.Revenue Looting: The indigenes seem to be very angry that the oil wealth is looted by individuals who supposed to use the wealth to develop the country. Thus, for the past thirty or more years, most of the individual wealth accumulated in the country came by way of looting the oil wealth. The World Bank reported that
"80&#37; of oil wealth is owned by 1% of the population, 70% of private wealth is abroad whilst 3/4 of the country live on about $1 a day - at least 15 million of those live in the Niger Delta..." (Ekine, Fbruary 15, 2007).

This means that Nigeria's leaders have not been effective using the oil wealth for national development. This is evidenced by the fact that parastatal organizations set up to manage the oil revenue have basically served as instruments for funneling money into the private bank accounts of the high and mighty. In this regard, Niger Deltans are convinced that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) are simply conduit for individuals and their friends to enrich themselves. Revelations by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar clearly showed that the PTDF was barely used for petroleum technological development, as the name indicated. Rather, it was an unofficial bank for those politically connected to Aso Rock (Umar, Nwankwere & Chukwulaka, March 1, 2007).


Furthermore, as a demonstration of the fact that the oil wealth is looted rather than used for national development, the indigenes point to the increasing discovery by the newly installed governors that their state treasuries are empty. The implication is that most of the previous governors looted their state funds to enrich themselves before leaving office. Interestingly, no one seems to be seriously prosecuted for carting away public money, even though the act is a criminal violation.




9.Oil Block Distribution: There is anger that Nigeria's leaders distribute oil blocks to themselves, their relatives, and friends while neglecting to develop the country. Thus, even though former President Obasanjo spoke many times about fighting corruption, he maintained the corrupting oil block system until his term of office expired. The system shortchanges the nation since national wealth is transferred to individual ownership through oil blocks.

In particular, most of the oil blocks go to Nigerians who are not from the oil-producing region. This means that the leaders of the country intentionally transfer wealth from the oil-producing region to individuals from the non-oil producing regions of the country, thereby, indirectly enriching those regions while pauperizing the Niger Delta.

Oil block distribution is done secretly so that the public is not fully aware of who gets what share. Indeed, the manner in which oil blocks are distributed seems to violate the reasons given for the enactment of the Land-Use Decree. A vast majority of those who get oil blocks have no experience whatsoever in oil exploration and neither do they have any technical expertise that would have justified their acquisition of oil bocks in Nigeria.




10.Militarization of the Niger Delta: Niger Deltans believe that Nigeria's leaders use strong-arm military tactics to intimidate them to submission. .In this regard, they view "Operation Restore Hope" as a military occupation to allow oil companies to continue to destroy their lands and exploit them.
They wonder whether the appellation "Operation Restore Hope" is intended to mock at their powerlessness. What hope? Whose hope? Is it possible for someone who feels being exploited and occupied to be happy and hopeful?


Each time the security forces are deployed to flush out "troublemakers", which is the Nigerian euphemism for the armed fighters, the blood among Niger Deltans boils up knowing full well that the army, navy, airforce, and the police forces have been equipped and beefed up with money coming from the Niger Delta. The people react by saying, "you steal our oil money and use the money to buy arms to come kill us so that you can steal more oil money." Thus, when former Vice President Atiku Abubakar revealed that former President Obasanjo had authorized the purchasing of arms worth $2 billion dollars, Niger Deltans screamed loudly that the situation in the region could have been stabilized with the infusion of $2 billion for infrastructural development. When Saharareporters (February 20, 2007) reported that the immediate former president acquired 193 Cobra Amphibious Armored Vehicles from Singapore, the indigenes got really angry.



11.States within a State: The oil companies operate as if they are sovereign nations. They seem to be above the law and are not subject to charges, despite offences committed against Nigerian citizens of the Niger Delta. The Land Use Decree gives them freedom to do whatever they want in the region. They can violate property rights of the people with impunity. They do not even have to negotiate with the local communities since they receive their permission to operate in the Niger Delta from either Lagos or Abuja.

This means that they can dig, destroy, pollute, burn, and flare gas to destroy the environment and get away with such acts without any Nigerian effort to stop them. The people feel that Nigeria's leaders have conspired with the oil companies to annihilate them through the destruction of their environment and the spreading of poisonous chemicals that cause incurable diseases. Indeed, the oil companies operate as states within a state in Nigeria, thereby, neutralizing the sovereignty of Nigeria.


These multinational companies obey the laws in their home countries. In their homelands, before they carry out any exploration, they conduct exhaustive environmental studies and pay appropriate compensation and taxes. Generally, they negotiate with the government and local communities and pay those who own the lands. In Nigeria, they seem to have total disregard for the rights of the local communities. Sometimes, they pay some individuals within the communities and ignore the rest. Sometimes, they hire some youths to attack those who do not support their presence. Sometimes, they pay those who are politically connected but have no right whatsoever to sign land contracts. These practices fuel intracommunal and intercommunal conflicts. In some cases, they eagerly work with the security forces to violently suppress legitimate demands. Nigeria does not seem to have any interest in protecting the rights of its citizens in the oil-producing region.



12.Oil Spillage and Gas Flaring: After more than forty years of exploration of petroleum, it is easy to assume that the oil companies and Nigeria have developed a workable oil spillage and gas flaring control systems in place. Unfortunately, there is no system in place to effectively manage oil spillage and gas flaring in the country. As a result, whenever there is spillage, the oil companies have no inclination to act swiftly in cleaning the environment. The Nigerian government too has no interest in directing the oil companied to intervene quickly and clean up the oil mess. Thus, the local communities suffer severely from the damage caused by oil spillage. Right now, the Buseni community in Bayelsa State is subjected to chemical poisoning emanating from various spillages in the area and the oil company responsible for the spillage is no where in insight. In May, 2007, angry Ogoni youths took over an oil facility belonging to Royal Dutch Shell Plc. demanding compensation for damage caused by oil spillage. In fact, the Ogonis have been battling the company for about 14 years now over spillage in various parts of their territory (BBC, May 15, 200&). Nigeria does not care to force the company to live up to its responsibility.

Gas flaring is an ongoing process. This means that Nigeria allows the oil companies to 'fry' the Niger Delta, thereby, altering the ecosystem. Nigeria keeps postponing the date to enforce the stoppage of gas flaring, thereby, indicating that it cares more for the money than the people. When the people react, security forces are immediately dispatched to teach them a lesson for disturbing the oil companies. This increases the anger, thereby, forcing some of the youths to become militant.



13.Employment Discrimination: Niger Deltans seem angry that they cannot even gain employment in oil companies that operate in their territories. The oil companies tend to hire Nigerians from the non-oil producing regions to fill almost every level of employment. These Nigerians have no regard for the environment since they are not from the Niger Delta. At the end of the day, they go back to their regions and flaunt their oil generated income and mock the Niger Deltans for their stupidity.

The practice of hiring other Nigerians and foreign workers creates serious underemployment in the region. Many university graduates from the Niger Delta cannot find jobs in the oil companies even when they received their degrees in various engineering and technological fields. The joblessness creates unhappiness and provides a large pool of educated youths for recruitment into the armed struggle in various ways. The youths argue, 'if they use force to steal our resources, we will use force to get back our resources.' The lack of employment for the indigenes of the region compelled Prof. Kimse Okoko, President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to give "multinational oil companies operating in Ijawland a five year ultimatum to employ a minimum of 40% of Ijaws in their management cadre" (Iwori, February 11, 2005).


Apart from having no regard for the people of the region, the non-indigenous Nigerians and foreign workers contribute to the destabilization of the social order in many parts of the Niger Delta by impregnating young women and leaving them to take care of the children without any support. Thus, an increasing number of children are being born by young women to oil company workers who have no regard for the children they helped to procreate.


The oil company workers also bring all kinds of diseases as they interact with women in the region. The rate of HIV/AIDS is high in the oil-producing region due to this outside interference. The Federal Government of Nigeria does not even care about the social problems emanating from the large presence of outside oil workers in the region. The only concern is the quantity of oil that needed to be produced.



14.Payment Differentials: The oil companies also antagonize their Nigerian employees by paying foreign oil workers higher wages than their Nigerian counterparts, even though both groups perform the same jobs. Sometimes, the foreign workers are even less educated than the Nigerian employees, yet, they are paid more. Similarly, benefits given to foreign oil workers are more attractive than those given to their Nigerian counterparts. This creates animosity between foreign and Nigerian workers, thereby, fuelling some of the kidnappings of foreign workers.


15.Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs): Due to the Petroleum Act, the Land Use Decree, the Gas Re-Injection Decree etc., the oil companies know that they do not have to negotiate with the indigenes of the territories they do business as soon as they get clearance from Lagos or Abuja to do business in the Niger Delta. As a result, they sign MOUs and break them at will, knowing full well that the local communities cannot do anything to them.

Thus, instead of engaging in genuine negotiations with the local communities, they prefer to negotiate secretly with self-appointed individuals in various oil-producing communities. By so doing, they avoid being socially responsible to the communities they do business. Sometimes, they do not mind hiring some youths to cause mayhem in the community so that they can get their way without paying reasonable fees for the use of the lands. As a result of these kinds of tricky and deceitful tactics, almost every community in which oil is found is embroiled in some kind of conflict between those who receive secret payments from the oil companies and those who do not receive anything. Odiama in Bayelsa State and Kula in Rivers State are typical examples of the destructive tactics that the oil companies deploy in the communities they operate.



16.The Oil Companies and Nigeria's Security Forces: The oil companies work closely with Nigeria's security forces to make sure that the rights of the indigenes of the oil-producing region are not enforced. The oil companies sometimes pay security officers to punish local communities for threatening them. In early and middle1990s, Ogoniland was ravaged by security forces which collaborated with the Almighty Shell. Led by Maj. (later Colonel) Paul Okuntimo, the Ogonis were treated like objects for target practice. Starting from the late 1990s, the Ijaws replaced the Ogonis as objects for target practice by the security forces. The list of towns and villages ravaged by security forces continue to grow. The most recent being Ogboinbiri in Bayelsa State.


17.Formation of International Military Alliance: While Nigerian officials continue to deny allegations about spending money to upgrade the military to fight in the Niger Delta, they do not hide the fact that they are interested in forming military alliances with foreign military powers. The Guardian reported that "Nigeria and the United States have entered into an energy security partnership to protect the Niger Delta region and the Gulf of Guinea" (Abubakar, Decemebr 9, 2005). It was also reported sometimes ago that India would provide training on terrorism to the Nigerian military. Similarly, Nigeria is expected to be part of a military umbrella in Africa to fight and stop terrorism (Agha, May 31, 2006). Many Niger Deltans believe that the word "terrorism" is a codeword for military intervention in the Niger Delta.


18.West African Gas Pipeline Project: It is a common saying that charity begins at home. However, former President Obasanjo did not seem to buy into that saying, hence, agreed to a joint venture to build the West African Gas Pipeline which will supply gas from the Niger Delta to Benin, Togo, Ghana, and possibly Ivory Coast. While the effort to build a regional economic alliance is laudable, however, the fact that most Nigerians have never experienced a stable supply of electricity and gas to their homes makes one wonder why would a country decide to supply a critical resource to other nations while it has not been able to provide such critical resources to its own citizens. Added to the fact that Nigerians have never had a steady supply of energy, in most parts of the Niger Delta, there is no drinkable water, electricity, and health care facilities.

Interestingly, the West African Gas Pipeline Project is located in an area between Ondo and Ogun States. It is estimated to cost about $25 billions. This means that this project will dwarf every project that has been located in the Niger Delta. Moreover, it is going to employ people from the area in which it is located, thereby, creating massive employment and generating enormous economic activities for the people in the SouthWest region of Nigeria. On the other hand, in the Niger Delta, the indigenes are rarely employed in projects located in their communities. Whether it is at the Eleme Refinery or Eket Terminal or Brass Terminal or Bonny Terminal or Forcados/Escravos Terminal, the indigenes are always mere onlookers while others get the jobs and the contracts. Prof. Okoko stated:

"We wish to send a clear message to the oil companies that we shall no longer tolerate their deliberate exclusionist policies, where our qualified youths are denied employment in their organizations, and our qualified contractors are denied contracts" (Iwori, February 11, 2005).

The indigenes of Akwa Ibom and Delta States have demonstrated many times for the lack of employment for local residents in major oil facilities in their states. Thus, the biggest gas project is located in a region that barely produces gas, yet, those who are going to benefit most from the project have no direct attachment to the source of gas. The way decisions are made concerning oil and gas tend to perpetuate powerlessness in the oil-producing region while enhancing the political, financial, and economic powers of the decisionmakers and their regions. This creates frustration and anger to stop the flow of oil and gas. Perhaps, the discovery of oil in Ghana might lead the country to develop cold feet concerning the West African Gas Pipeline because this project is a hot political cassava.




19.Perpetuation of Sycophancy in the Niger Delta: Niger Deltans feel angered by the fact that Nigeria does not allow them to choose their own leaders. They believe that efforts are constantly made by those who wield national power to impose leaders on the region. The following attest to this concern:


a.The sons and daughters of the Niger Delta who speaks boldly about the issues are viewed as "troublemakers" and efforts are made to silence them. Nigeria's leaders tend to either ignore or threaten them with imprisonment or assassination. For example, the Late Gen. Phillip Effiong was an incorruptible son of the oil-producing region. He served honorably in Nigeria and in Biafra. Yet, Nigeria's leaders ignored him. Gen. David Ejoor is one of the most respectable Niger Delta leaders still alive. He contributed so much to Nigeria, yet, he is always ignored while individuals who have no credibility are courted and dealt with. Dr. Obi Walli, Dr. Denni Fiberesima, Pa Rewane, and Chief Ken Saro Wiwa were killed. Asari Dokubo was tricked, arrested, detained, and charged for treason. He was released only after President Yar'Adua took over the presidency. There are others who are still being detained for one reason or another.


b.Niger Deltans tend to believe that only the sons and daughters of the Niger Delta who are willing to serve the interest of those who wield national power are installed as political leaders in the region. Since1999 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) became the political kingmaking party in Nigeria, the Niger Delta States have had governors imposed on them. They want to elect their own leaders, as democracy demands.


c.The indigenes note that Nigeria's leaders often talk about finding a solution to the Niger Delta problem but they seem only interested in talking to those perceived by the indigenes as sycophants and traitors. It seems that Abuja is only interested in talking to those that would do the bidding of Abuja and not those that would be able to present the issues the way the people in the region really feel. It is arguable that Nigeria has not been able to resolve the regional issues because national leaders are not given first-hand information about the real issues.


20.Lack of Performance by Oil Producing States: The indigenes of the region express unhappiness over the fact that elected officials chosen by Abuja to lead the oil-producing states have repeatedly failed to deliver the goods and services that would have contributed to the development of the region as well as enhance the lives of the people. After more than seven years, the masses in most oil-producing states cannot see any tangible development in their communities, despite an increase in the budgets of these states, as a result of the federation account. It is estimated that the Federal Government gave N3.07 trillion to the Niger Delta States, starting from 1999 to early 2007 (Ogbu, March 23, 2007). The lack of tangible development compelled Chief E.K. Clark to say, during the Presidential Council for the Socio-Economic Development of the Coastal States of the Niger Delta, that "most of the state governments in the Niger Delta were cooking up false reports on fathom projects" (Amaize, February 19, 2007).

The lack of tangible development is leading to a serious division of opinion between elected officials and the people, especially the youths. The people increasingly view their elected officials as the 'enemies' of the people for betraying them. They also believe that the elected officials would not have gotten away with lack of performance if not for the protection that the political leaders receive from Abuja. A spokesperson for an armed group lashed out:


From fraudulent road construction contracts to vain water projects and gravely distorted gas turbine projects, these governors have squandered billions of naira and dollars that they cannot account for. To avoid justice, these governors believe that dumb allegiance to Abuja and stoogy loyalty will save them. They have failed" (Onoyume, February 20, 2007)

It is not far fetched to say that Abuja effort to control the politics of the region is greatly responsible for the lack of performance. During Gen. Yakubu Gowon's regime, the governors of Bendel, South Eastern, and Rivers States performed excellently because Lagos allowed the governors to do what they wanted to do for their people. Consequently, Brigadier Samuel Ogbemudia, Col. Samuel Essuene, and Commander Diete Spiff turned their states into progressive zones in the nation. These states embarked upon road construction, educational development, and manpower enhancement. The University of Benin, University of Calabar and the Rivers State University of Science and Technology were initiated by the governors of these states. Bendel led the nation in providing public transportation with the Bendel Lines. The Waterlines provided both road and water transportation in Rivers State. It was quite easy for those who completed their secondary and university education to get employment, either in the public or private sector. During that time, political connection was not necessary for an individual to obtain a job. As a result, crime was very low in the Niger Delta region. Due to the massive scholarship programs offered by these states, particularly Rivers and South-Eastern States, many youths from these states attended universities all over the world, all paid for by the states. Rivers State also had a floating hospital service which provided medical care to communities in the riverine areas. The Ministry of Establishment and the Civil Service Commission were accessible to the population at large. There were projects all over the place, developed by public officials to their communites.

Today, the nine Niger Delta states are laughing stocks. Despite increase in their monthly allocations, the citizens cannot see any enhancement in their lives. This leads to frustration and anger toward public officials and Abuja.



21.Rule of Law: Each time local, state, regional, and national elected and unelected public officials caution the youths of the Niger Delta by advising them to follow the rule of law, the blood pressure of many youths goes up in utter disbelief about the hypocrisy of Nigeria's public officials concerning the rule of law in the country. They wonder whether the public officials are living in a different planet. The truth is that there is no rule of law in Nigeria. The following attest to the doubt held by many people, especially the youths, about the rule of law:


a.The Nigerian Police Force is mired in corruption. As a result of corruption, there is constant violation of the law by police officers. It is not uncommon for a complainant to become the accused and the accused to become the complainant, depending on the amount of bribe. It is not uncommon for ordinary citizens to be shot for refusing to pay bribes. A person can easily be framed for armed robbery and thrown into jail.


b.An arrest is tantamount to imprisonment as the accused is beaten and locked up. The person can remain under arrest for years and nobody cares, especially, if the person has no money or connection to influence the process. Manfred Nowak, a United Nations official noted "More than half of Nigeria's prison population has never been convicted of any crime. It is common for prisoners to wait five to 10 years to come to trial" (BBC News Africa, March 9, 2007). Emmanuel Onwubiko, a commissioner with Nigeria's National Human Rights Commission concurred with Nowak's observation (Ibid.).


c.In high profile cases, the police have a tendency to be very "quick" and "efficient" in arresting suspects to the extent that many Nigerians are convinced that the suspects often paraded publicly did not commit the crimes. In other words, the police have a tendency to arrest suspects in high profile cases even before beginning investigations to unfold the facts of the cases. After parading the suspects on television, nothing happens to the cases anymore. The families of the victims are forced to live in a state of perpetual limbo.


d.On the other hand, since the beginning of the current democratic system, the police have not been able to prosecute anyone for killing Bola Ige, Marshall Harry, Mr. Barnabas and Mrs. Abigail Igwe, Chief A. K. Dikibo, Funsho Williams and many others. If the police cannot successfully prosecute a case involving the former Attorney General of Nigeria, government officials should not be surprised by the lack of public confidence in the rule of law in the country.
e.Judges tend to agree too quickly with government's positions on the law instead of applying the law as neutral arbiters. As a result, innocent people are victimized by the legal system. It is not uncommon for those arrested to remain in detention for years before their cases are heard, even for minor offences. This is why a Nigerian judge permitted the arrest, trial, and execution of Chief Ken Saro Wiwa. The judge or judges did not even allow an appeal to take place before he was put to death. It is rare to hear of a Nigerian judge dismissing a case involving an ordinary Nigerian for lack of evidence.
Due to the fact that Nigerian judges tend to agree too easily with legal positions taken by the government, it is very easy for an innocent person to be victimized by Nigeria's

judicial system.



f.Due to lack of an effective judicial system, some naval personnel are not afraid to violate the law with impunity by allowing detained ships to disappear from the custody of the navy. After the notorious African Pride case, other ships have disappeared from the custody of the navy. Quite often, the ships are used for oil bunkering which is a violation of Nigerian law, yet, some of those who have sworn to protect the territorial integrity of the country do not mind joining forces with oil bunkerers to release such ships to their offending owners. Therefore, whenever the news of the disappearing ships hit the headlines, the youths in the Niger Delta react by saying "is this the navy that will come fight us?"


22.War Booty: Some Niger Deltans believe that Nigeria's leaders treat the region as if it is a captured or conquered territory and the oil wealth treated as a war booty, following the civil war. The youths are really incensed that some prominent national figures, including former president Obasanjo, made statements implying that Nigeria has a right to exploit the region because it won the civil war. The perception that Nigeria's leaders treat the region as a captured territory and the oil as a war booty, no doubt, contributed to the decision by some youths to resort to armed opposition. They reasoned that the only way to stop both military and political leaders of the country from thinking that they have an inalienable right to take from the region because Nigeria 'liberated' the region from Biafra is to use force.


23.Name Calling: Many youths in the Niger Delta believe that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. By this, they mean that those who have skeletons in their cupboards should not call others names. They also imply that those who constantly violate the law by looting public funds should not threaten others with the law. They wonder why seven governors ran away during the swearing-in ceremony of the new governors on May 29, 2007. This Day ( May 30, 2007) reported:

"No fewer than seven former governors failed to show up at the handing over ceremonies in their respective states yesterday {April 29}, while four were suspected to have fled the country for fear of being arrested by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)."

Think about it for a moment, when the number one citizen in a state runs away from the law, it is obvious that something is wrong. Therefore, name calling only seems to make the Niger Delta situation much more complicated.



Fifth Column Activities: It is a well known fact that some of the groups that are now causing political headache in the Niger Delta were sponsored by regional and national politicians. The politicians wanted to control their 'areas of political interest' and to ensure electoral victories. Unfortunately, the 'hired hands' have metamorphosed into formidable groups with well stocked arms. Similarly, some of the youth groups were recruited by regional and national political leaders to infiltrate other groups and create problems so that the government would be able to render all the groups controllable. Unfortunately, the process grew out of control and the groups have developed their own means of living. Thus, Niger Deltans believe that if Nigeria is really serious about peace, it should also arrest those political leaders who helped to destabilize the region. Merely focusing on the youths without also going after the big fishes in the country would not lead to stability.


Oil Bunkering and the Disappearing Ships: Niger Deltans feel exploited and blamed unnecessarily for the problems in the region. They want to know who are the big sharks who hire ships to bunker oil in the Niger Delta. They wonder how African Pride and many other oil bunkering ships were able to disappear while in the custody of the Nigerian Navy. To them, these oil bunkering ships could not have assumed ghostly characters or forms and literarily disappear without explanation if the owners are not very powerful individuals in the country who have connection to the corridors of power in Abuja. The youths in the region view the disappearing ships as evidence that the oil in the region is being stolen by those who have connections to Aso Rock. Otherwise, the Nigerian Navy would have stopped the leakage in its security system.


Recommended Solutions


Although President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan are technically outsiders who miraculously found their way to the pinnacle of national power, they have a great opportunity to solve the Niger Delta problem. They are capable of solving the problem since Nigerians want to give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to try to deal with the multitudes of problems facing the country. For them to succeed, they must look at things from a very different perspective and strongly convince themselves that Nigeria's problems require political solutions and not high-handed military approach.


To be successful, the following activities or actions could be very helpful in ameliorating the Niger Delta crisis:


1.The president should work tactically to legitimize his presidency by moving away from the poisonous PDP politics and be level headed with the Nigerian people. To do so, the president should not be afraid to employ any Nigerian who is qualified and competent. By reaching out to those Nigerians who are not members of the PDP, the president would help to initiate a new collaborative culture that fosters national unity.


2.There is a need to deemphasize the use of force and rely more on communication with stakeholders across the country to bring everyone together.


3.Continue the war on corruption by allowing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to go after alleged looters and prosecute them without political interference.


4.The Nigerian Police Force needs to be thoroughly cleaned. One way to do so is to terminate any officer who is associated with any violation of the law. The salaries and benefits of the members of the police and armed forces must be increased so that they can have a livable income. A program of action is needed to build and modernize police and military barracks so that police officers and soldiers can have decent quarters to live and raise their families.


5.Stop the current oil block distribution system that perpetuates corruption by rewarding certain individuals and penalizing the rest of society. It does not make any sense to claim that petroleum is a national resource, yet, allow few individuals to benefit excessively while depriving other citizens.


6.Revisit the resource control matter. The Federal Government can live with a 60/40 or 50/50 percent share with the oil producing states. It is important to resolve the resource control issue since other minerals in the country are not nationalized to the extent in which petroleum and gas are. It is not fair that those whose lands contain gold, tin etc. can explore freely and those whose lands contain petroleum are totally deprived.


7.Avoid treating the Niger Delta as a mere outpost of Nigeria. From now on, the region must be included in the national budget. Similarly, projects must be distributed in such a way that every region has something to show for its being part of Nigeria. Therefore, it is hoped that the president abides by his statements concerning the Niger Delta when he said:

the crisis in the Niger Delta commands our attention and it is a matter of strategic importance to our country.

I will use every resource available to me to address this crisis in a spirit of Fairness, justice and cooperation. We have a good starting point because our Predecessor has already launched a master plan that can serve as a basis for Comprehensive examination of all issues.


We will involve all stakeholders in working out a solution...Let us allow the

Intending dialogue to take place and continue to act from there...(Lohor, May 30, 2007).



8.The president should allow the people to choose their own leaders during negotiations of the issues affecting the Niger Delta. In this regard, the representatives of the region's negotiating team should not be limited to only elected public officials and known public figures. In any negotiation, the negotiating team from the region should also include some community and youth leaders. Encourage the fighters to participate too. If they participate, do not violate the trust placed on the peace process by doing what former President Obasanjo did when he agreed to negotiate with Dokubo Asari and then turned around to arrest, detain, and try him for treason.


9.Denationalize the political leadership in the oil producing states. Even though Nigeria claims to be a democracy, there is a perception in the Niger Delta that their political leaders are imposed upon them from Abuja. Due to the imposition, the people are not able to exercise their democratic right to reward and punish their states' officials for good or bad performance. In other words, both elected and appointed public officials in the oil-producing region seem to be unresponsive to the needs of their people because their allegiance is directed at Abuja. The officials tend to believe that if they pay homage to their Abuja sponsors, they would be protected from the wrath of the people back home.

If the Federal Government really wants to negotiate with the people in the region, it should not look for sycophants or those who are trying to butter their breads. Instead, the government should allow the people to freely choose their negotiators. It should be noted that former President Obasanjo tried so much to manipulate every political negotiation in the country, hence, the National Political Reform Conference and the Niger Delta Stakeholders Forum failed.



10.The Federal Government should not merely give out the monthly allocations from the Federation Account, it should also make sure that there is transparency and accountability. In other words, it is necessary for the Federal Government to make sure that funds allocated to the oil-producing states, as well as other states, are used for infrastructural development and services to the citizens. Just passing out money is no longer enough since the wealth does not trickle down to the people in the towns and villages. Of course, the Federal Government would not be able to ensure transparency and accountability in the states if it is incapable of running the affairs of the country in a responsible manner. This is why fighting corruption is critical to the success of the current regime.


11.The president should not put undue pressure on Vice President Jonathan, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Awoye Azazi and other high officials from the oil region in order to solve the Niger Delta problem. Putting undue pressure on them could lead to further escalation of the conflict by compelling the youths to view such a development as an attempt by the Federal Government to use the sons and daughters of the region to control the region. However, it is very important for the president to listen to the vice president and others from the region in order to develop an achievable peace and stability.


12.To demonstrate good faith and the spirit of a new beginning, the president should release all political prisoners that were detained for one reason or anther by the previous regime. In this regard, the release of Dokubo Asari is a step in the right direction. Ralph Uwazuirike too must be released unconditionally.


13.Stop name callings (terrorists, criminals, pirates, hooligans etc) of those who do not agree with you. In particular, peace is not possible if you call the armed fighters names and then expect them to work with you in achieving peace. Name calling by high level government officials are viewed as acts of provocation intended to increase tension, especially, by the youths. The youths are fully aware that high level public officials engage in misappropriation of public funds which is stealing. Those whose hands are not clean cannot call others names.

It should be noted that when Britain adopted uncompromising high-handed military measures to crush the Iris Republican Army, the IRA responded with its own tough measures to counter the government effort. However, when Britain changed tactics and became more diplomatic in resolving the Irish problem, both sides began to talk honestly and were able to compromise on their positions. In Nigeria, it could be said that high-handed military tactics led to the emergence of armed groups. People, especially the youths, got tired of being crushed by security forces, so, they decided to form their own armed groups. Logically, if Nigeria deescalate by relying less on security forces to solve political crises in the country, the armed fighters too would deescalate.



14.Stop trying to build military alliances intended to subdue any group in Nigeria. Internal matters should be handled internally. It makes the indigenes of the Niger Delta very angry whenever they read about Nigeria's clandestine efforts to woo foreign military forces or specialists.


15.Build trust by minimizing manipulative politics. Due to repeated disappointing promises, Nigerians are not trustful of their political leaders and public officials. Distrust is even higher in the oil-producing region due to decades of failed promises. Similarly, due to corruption, lack of the rule of law, and unreliability of the elected public officials, the armed fighters are very distrustful of Nigeria's leaders and public officials.


16.Stop treating the South-South and the South-East regions as captured territories. The youths in these regions would not accept the notion that they have no right to exercise authority over resources that are found in their territories. It is hypocritical to say "No Victor No Vanquished" as was officially declared at the end of the civil war in 1970 and then turn around to take actions that imply that you won the war, therefore, you are entitled to take the resource of the area, at will, as a war booty.


17.Treat the Niger Delta as a national security zone. National security does not mean merely deploying security forces to occupy it. Rather, it implies paying a closer attention toward its development. Generally, when a region is the economic mainstay of the state, it is compelling for the state to treat the region as a national security zone. This means that the state is proactively involved in the infrastructural development and stabilization of the region. Consequently, the Federal Government must be proactive in ensuring that development takes place in the region so that anger and opposition dissipate. Similarly, treat Igboland as part of Nigeria and not as a conquered territory, otherwise, the youths would continue to identify with the aspirations of MASSOB, just as the youths in the riverine areas identify with the aspirations of the fighters.

Conclusion

Indeed, this is a comprehensive attempt at cataloguing the issues that have contributed to the intensification of opposition toward oil exploration in the Niger Delta. While it is not guaranteed that the issues and suggestions enumerated above would ensure total peace in the region, nevertheless, they could be very helpful in minimizing the conflict. It is necessary for negotiators to understand the holistic nature of the crisis and not assume that some twisting of the arms would put a stop to the problems. To resolve the issues, a national will is needed, otherwise, nothing will happen and instability will continue with the potential for a much bigger conflict.




References


Abubakar, L. (December 9, 2005). Nigeria, U.S. sign pact on Niger Delta, Gulf of Guinea. Guardian Newspapers. http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article06. 12/09/2005.

Agha, E. (May 31, 2006). US explains presence in Gulf of Guinea. This Day. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=49448. 5/31/06.


Amaize, E. (February 19, 2007). Clark faults Ibori's report on projects. Vanguard. http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/niger_delta/nd21902207.html.


Arubi, R. (April 30, 2007). N-Deltans reject FG's appointees into Varsity of Petroleum Resources. Vabguard. http://www.vanguardngr.com/articles/2002/niger_delta/nd230042007html. 5/1/2007.


BBC Nes Africa. (March 9, 2007). Nigerian police torture 'routine.'

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6435787.stm. 3/12/07.


(May 15, 2007). Locals seize Bigeria oil facility. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6658773.stm 5/15/2007.


Ekine, S. (February 15, 2007). US Marines & the Niger Delta. Posted on Iijawnation@yahoogroups.com. 2/17/2007


Iwori, J (Ferbruary 11, 2005). Ijaws: oil companies get 6=5-yr ultimatum. This Day. http://www.this dayonline.com/nview.php?id=9231. 2/1/2005


Ogbu, A. (March 23, 2007). Niger Delta receives N3.07 trillion in 8 years. This Day. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?=73678. 3/23/07.


Okokwu, C., (June 13, 2006). This Day. Htpp://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=50453. 6/13/06.


Nweze, K. (August 31, 2006). Niger Delta: Host communities give conditions for peace.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=57172. 8/31/06


Kohor, J. (May 30, 2007). Yar'Adua: It's time for restoration. This Day. http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=79554.


Saharareporters (February 20, 2007) Niger Delta: Obasanjo acquires 193 Cobra Amphibious Vehicles. Posted on Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com.


Sunda Punch, (July 3, 2006). Major General David Ejoor's eye-opening statements. Posted on Ijawnation@yahoogroups.com 7/6/2005.


This Day. (May 30, 2007). 7 governors absent at handover. http://www.thisdayonline.com.nview.php?id=79553.


Umar, B., Nwankere, L., & Chukwulaka, M. (March 1, 2007). PTDF reports: Senators, others cry foul.

The Sun

Son of the Delta, that was indeed a long and interesting essay. I must confess that there are things the author said that sounded somewhat strange to me. Do you have a permanent link to the article?

Son of the Delta
Jul 21, 2007, 06:19 PM
Son of the Delta, that was indeed a long and interesting essay. I must confess that there are things the author said that sounded somewhat strange to me. Do you have a permanent link to the article?


Good day Odinaka this is a link to the article.It was published on Nigeriaworld.com
http://nigeriaworld.com/articles/2007/jun/280.html

Son of the Delta
Jul 21, 2007, 06:26 PM
How I wish it was this straight-foward.

Creation of states has to be done (for the time being) according to the provisions of our constitution, viz;



As you can see, it is a very onerous process, especially in sub-sections (c) and (d), which requires a two-thirds majority of all the states of the federation and each house of the National Assembly!

So, in all honesty, I dont know what useful purpose is served by meeting with UMY'A. The north will never agree to the creation of more states in the south-south. The only remotely feasible way that this might work out, is if a quid pro quo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quid_pro_quo) is agreed upon, whereby each region (six in all) is able to get two more states each; your guess is as good as mine as to the workability of such an arrangement.

OK...even if the provisions of the constitution are to be changed, to make the process less drawn-out, that in itself, is another onerous kettle of fish:





In light of political realities on ground, this (2 more states for south-south) is an extremely long shot. The only politically feasible way of achieving some of the inherent outcome of creating more states (more budgetary allocation), is to create more local governments. The steps stipulated in the constitution are not as onerous:



From the above, we can see that it is not necessary for two-thirds majority of all the states to be in agreement. It will be purely an internal state exercise.

In conclusion, more Local governments - a possibility. More states - highly unlikely.



DW

@DoubleWahala
State creation has not been a problem in the past so it is not a problem now.Rather it is a solution to the current crisis.

Sapele Man
Jul 21, 2007, 06:29 PM
Oma Nigeria should do what is right and I assure everywhere will be bright! If justice reigns in Nigeria and state agression and genocide stops nobody will have any cause to take unconventional measures. This is not the first time some of these people came out to make such statements. The power to promote peace does not lie in the hands of those that made those statments.It lies solely in the hands of Obasanjo/Odili and perhaps Yar`Adua. The day they will allow people to exist in peace without intimidation is the day that such statments will no longer be mere rhetoric.



Son of the Delta,

You are going too far.....into the wrong direction.

Son of the Delta
Jul 21, 2007, 06:40 PM
Son of the Delta,

You are going too far.....into the wrong direction.


Sapele man this is a bogus statement! Please be more precise.

Sapele Man
Jul 21, 2007, 07:06 PM
Sapele man this is a bogus statement! Please be more precise.


Son of the Delta,

What is bogus about it a statement that says you are going too far into the wrong direction?

The power to make peace rest with the two opposing parties….in this case the representatives of the oppress people of the Niger Delta and the Federal government.

I have read some of your other comments…. most of which I agree with. But you need to accept that sometimes a good soldier run to fight another day. While I understand the issues, which underlines your campaign, I do not share your method that considers everyone who holds an opposite view as being the enemy.

Son of the Delta
Jul 21, 2007, 07:21 PM
Son of the Delta,

What is bogus about it a statement that says you are going too far into the wrong direction?

The power to make peace rest with the two opposing parties….in this case the representatives of the oppress people of the Niger Delta and the Federal government.

I have read some of your other comments…. most of which I agree with. But you need to accept that sometimes a good soldier run to fight another day. While I understand the issues, which underlines your campaign, I do not share your method that considers everyone who holds an opposite view as being the enemy.

We have to be realistic this is not the first time such groups have made peace.The true leaders of these groups like Odili and Obasanjo are still in control of political power in Nigeria and Rivers respectively.Unless they decide to loose their grip on political power or they are forced to relinquish their violently acquired political power am afraid to say there will be many more of those peace parades without peace returning to the area.

Sapele Man
Jul 21, 2007, 07:34 PM
We have to be realistic this is not the first time such groups have made peace.The true leaders of these groups like Odili and Obasanjo are still in control of political power in Nigeria and Rivers respectively.Unless they decide to loose their grip on political power or they are forced to relinquish their violently acquired political power am afraid to say there will be many more of those peace parades without peace returning to the area.


Son of the Delta,

You have to give peace a chance. Nothing is wrong to try every peaceful avenue. Jaw, jaw is better than war, war.

There are more local people loosing their lives every day than the Odili-Obasanjo's people combined.

Justice always overcomes evil. I believe that.

Son of the Delta
Jul 21, 2007, 07:48 PM
Son of the Delta,

You have to give peace a chance. Nothing is wrong to try every peaceful avenue. Jaw, jaw is better than war, war.

There are more local people loosing their lives every day than the Odili-Obasanjo's people combined.
Justice always overcomes evil. I believe that.


Sapele man clear your eyes, free your mind and read what I wrote carefully.
Once again Obasanjo and Odili run the gangs,finance them, protect them and issue out orders to them.Some of them dont even have an option to say that they will not fight for Obasanjo.If thugs could not bring peace after several public peace announcement then you should know that the power to implement peace lies in the hand of their bosses.

Thank God you observed that more local people are loosing their lives than the Obasanjo-Odili people combined.This why I say Obasanjo and his private army are carrying out an ethnic cleansing in the Niger Delta.

Son of the Delta
Jul 22, 2007, 03:22 PM
New IYC president on hostage taking.


Youth leader
EMMA AMAIZE Regional Editor, South South
Posted to the Web: Sunday, July 22, 2007



YOU would be making a blunder if you think that the slim-built new national president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, Dr. Chris Ekiyor, is a man that cannot break the back of anything because of his green-look appearance. Sunday Vanguard encountered this former students' union President and activist in Warri, Delta State, and found out why Ijaw youths elected him as their leader. Just back from the first phase of his visit to the camp of militants (the militant wing of the IYC) in the creeks of the Niger-Delta, where he went to interact with them on the way forward for the region, Ekiyor says the militants know what they are doing contrary to the thinking by most Nigerians that the struggle has derailed.

He, however, admitted that infiltrators have crashed into the system but pointed out that plans were afoot to drop hostage taking as a means of drawing government attention to the underdevelopment, neglect and poverty in the region. If you thought you would box him to a corner when he said in another mouthful of air that he subscribes to hostage taking, which is a criminal act, he tells you that what the Nigerian government had done and is still doing to the people of the Niger-Delta is worse than hostage-taking. With all the appeals by the federal and state governments to the militants to surrender their arms, he said the IYC could not guarantee that but he opined that they would do so, without any prompting, the moment the government is seen as having sincerely started the development of the region in practical terms. Excerpts:

YOU were recently elected as the national president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, how did you achieve this feat, what is your background and what is your mission?

Alright, every Ijaw man has the potential to lead the Ijaw Youth Council, which is my own submission. For my background, I have been part and parcel of the Ijaw youth struggle. I was there at the Kaiama Declaration in 1998, I know the principles of the founding fathers, I have been understudying many Ijaw leaders as far as the struggle is concerned for many years now and, growing from the background, I have also understood the pains of our people and have toed the line of remaining in activism. That informed my earlier desire to even lead the Ijaw community when I was in the university as an undergraduate. I eventually emerged as a student union president of the Ijaw students' union before I eventually became the students' union president, all in the line of activism. I also joined the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG) because I felt we were monitoring things that have to do with our lifestyle so we can have a broad picture to study the Ijaw nation. Having done that over the years, I was, of course, convinced that we have a need to refocus our struggle and articulate it to something that will be a hard copy for the world because at a point in time, people were beginning to say that we are derailing.

Strategic planning

But I want to assure you that we are still on course, we know what we are doing. The agitations are not abnormal; they are scenarios that can occur in a definite situation or country like ours. So, I have also served the IYC in the past before now in committee capacity, I was in the strategic planning committee for conflict resolution when Alhaji Asari and Ateke had their conflict in Rivers State. Though the committee did not see the light of the day because of financial constraints and the fact that the two parties involved did not agree to meet, we moved to a point before government took over from us. Recently, I also served in the constitution drafting and review committee for the IYC and everywhere we found ourselves, we played our small roles.

Talking about re-focusing the struggle and knowing what you are doing, the worry at the moment in the country is that Ijaw youths mostly have turned militancy to a profession, going to the extent of kidnapping toddlers and asking for ransom. What kind of being on course are you talking about with this kind of development and how is the IYC under your leadership going to call those derailing the struggle to order?

First, I want to sound it clear and loud that, the Ijaw youths, the militant wing, that is the guys in the creeks, have from time to time taken some hostages but it was on the basis of negotiating for the emancipation of the Niger-Delta people. Those hostages were taken as negotiation tools to get the world notice the big picture of what is happening to our region in terms of ecological destruction, marginalization and underdevelopment. But a new arrangement emerged by a group of persons so called, who, I can attest, are not even Ijaws, who are not part of the struggle but are, today, taking hostages, including children, for ransom and also going ahead to harass some company operatives for ransom.

But I can tell you that the engine rooms of the IYC, the militants who are taking these hostages for the purpose of the struggle are very much known and we are putting our heads together to make sure that there is in-house cleansing to remove the chaff from the grains. Because we have found out that the people that have been taking children hostage in the past few weeks are not even part of the struggle. I had to call the appropriate Ijaw youth leader in-charge of such matters to issue a 48-hour ultimatum to the kidnappers of the British toddler, Margaret Hill, failure upon which they should move in and tell them that we are not ready for nonsense. So, we are working with an understanding.

Change of strategy: I have been going to the creeks, the thinking of these people is the founding document of the struggle, which is Kaiama Declaration, and I can assure you that all the militant groups are well informed about the Kaiama Declaration and we know what we are doing. Naturally, in every situation, there are those who cash-in to mess up things and we are taking up the challenge and ensure that we remove those elements that are trying to mess up our genuine agitation, which is where we are going. And my intention is to make sure that in the next few weeks, all the groups, as the IYC constitution allows, are put into the council of organizational leaders so that we can control things. By so doing, you will know if the Ijaws have taken hostage and the reason for it. We are saying that we are about changing strategy and those thinking that this hostage thing will be there for them to be making money will soon find themselves in the lurch, as the strategy would change and they would not be able to take hostages again.

Well, the Acting Inspector General of police, Mr. Mike Okiro, recently, alluded to the fact that 80 per cent of the hostage takers were not really from the Niger-Delta but how and why did the militants involved in the struggle allow infiltrators to take over?

I may not be able to quantify the percentage of those involved in kidnapping that are not Ijaws but I can attest to you that the ugly trend you have seen recently in this hostage taking thing, definitely, cannot be an Ijaw assignment because the militant groups in Ijaw are very focused. When they take hostages, they put the demands on the table before the world. They tell the world, this is what we are saying, develop the region, create jobs and all that.Yes, in the course of getting to release hostages, perhaps, I may not know, I have not been a negotiator in that direction, I don't know if money changes hands but I am sure that Ijaw struggle, hostage taking is part of it, if it becomes the only way that government will listen to us. I subscribe to it but that there are some elements who are not Niger-Deltans, who are non-Ijaws and are trying to rubbish us, the government and politicians are trying to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

So, they may have been funding some of these skeletal groups to discredit the strategy which we created to prosecute our struggle. So, we are changing our strategy and in a short while, the world will get to see that our strategy has changed and this one will not give room for infiltrators to participate in it.

Why it will be difficult to drop arms: I want to say categorically that the IYC, the militant wing, the generality of Ijaw people are peace loving people. Twenty years ago, if you touch an Ijaw man, he would tell you, "sorry, I did not know that you were going to pass here," but circumstances and events unfolding have put the Ijaw man on the defensive and all our actions, whether the one you say is right or wrong, are in the defence of our territory. Basically, what we are doing today is towards a goal. We may keep changing the strategy until we get to that goal. So, the issue of dropping arms may not arise if the Nigerian government is not sincere in itself.

But once we see genuine approach by the Nigerian state, we are peace loving people, what business do we have to do with arms if not for the way we are being treated? We were there all these years, we never carried arms. Circumstances and situations resulted in arms carrying. The Nigerian state itself introduced violence into the creeks, they came there with the military and the people had to defend themselves.

I am sure that with a genuine drive by the government and the people of this country to put back what is taken from the region to the region genuinely, talking about resource control, derivation and others, once they start doing these things, they don't need to ask anybody to drop arms. Willfully, everybody will drop his arms but if you want to use force and other negative things, it will not stand the test of time. You may get federal security agencies to protect the companies, oil workers and platforms but how long is that going to continue?

You said that you subscribe to hostage taking, which is to say that you subscribe to criminality because hostage taking is a criminal act, why?
Yes, criminality is an event, laws are made by men and when they are made, if you work contrary to the law, it is an offence, you have broken the law. The law says hostage taking is criminal but, to us, the law does not apply because whatever the Nigerian state is doing to us is more criminal than hostage taking. They have harassed us, they have molested us, they have undermined us, they have underdeveloped us, they have impoverished us, they have taken our resources, and taken us hostage too. They have made us so inhuman; they have dehumanized us to the extent that what we are doing is a reaction to the action meted on us.

So, the issue of criminality to my mind does not exist. Because I live in a country where I cannot even talk about my own God-given right and wealth, I can't even see it, have to go cap in hand to pick crumbs from what God has used to bless us. Our aquatic life is dead, you cannot plant yam in our region to grow, and our cassava cannot give good harvest. These underdevelopments and molestations in themselves are worse than hostage taking. So, if government is talking about the criminality in hostage taking, it should first of all address the fundamentals that led to hostage taking.

Abraxas
Jul 23, 2007, 03:06 AM
Robbers, Not Militants, Killed Lebanese Businessman –Police

Source: Sunday Punch 22 July 2007.

The Rivers State Police command on Saturday said Niger Delta Militants were not responsible for recent killings and shootings in some parts of the state.

On Friday morning, gunmen shot and killed a Lebanese businessman in his home in Port Harcourt, barely an hour before a police station at Elekahia in another part of the city, came under attack.

But the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State command, Mr. Felix Ogbaudu, told Sunday Punch that criminals were responsible for the attacks.

He said it was wrong for people to attribute every attack in the area to militants, saying that based on investigations, the Lebanese was shot by armed robbers and not militants as widely speculated.

Said the commissioner, "People should not attribute everything that happens to militants. For instance the Lebanese who was killed yesterday was not shot by militants.

"The shootings in some part of Port Harcourt in recent times have not been by militants. For a long time now, the militants have not attacked anybody. What has been happening are perpetrated by a few youths who belong to cult groups.

"These boys now take hostage for the purpose of making money and that has nothing to do with the struggle for the rights of the Niger Delta people.

"We must begin to draw a line between the activities of militants who are involved in the Niger Delta struggle and cultists who take hostages for the purpose of making money."

He said that people had been abducted in Anambra and in Ebonyi stressing that if similar incidents occurred in Rivers State or any other Niger Delta state, they would have been blamed on militants.

He referred to the killing of a Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation's manager in Kaduna State and said that investigation has shown that hoodlums carried out the attack.

Continuing, Ogbaudu said, "The militants have come out to say enough of the rubbish. They have publicly renounced violence and Ateke Tom and the others were on newspapers and on television the other day to tell the world that they are no longer fighting and taking hostage.

"Criminals now do most of the things happening and we cannot blame the militants for what they have not done."

But the Chief Press Secretary to the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Emmah Okah said that the government was against every form of violence and crime no matter who was involved.

Okah, who made government's position known to Sunday Punch in a telephone interview, noted that no situation was enough to warrant people to take laws into their hands.

He said, "Although we are not aware of the circumstances that have led to the shootings, but for whatever it is, it is condemnable. The government shall continue to stand against criminality and violent vices in any part of the state.

"Government has made efforts toward creating employment for those who show genuine willingness to quit crime.

"We use this opportunity to call on repentant cultists and militants willing to be rehabilitated to take advantage of this window of opportunity to empower themselves economically so that they can live normal lives and be useful to themselves and to society."

Attempts to speak to the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement, Mr. Ateke Tom, failed, as calls by our correspondent to his three mobile phones did not succeed.

Abraxas
Jul 24, 2007, 09:41 AM
MEND Statement

We disclaim the interview in the Vanguard of Monday, July 23, 2007, purportedly granted by MEND to one Jide Ajani of the Vanguard Newspaper.

The Vanguard in our opinion, has mostly been a tool of the Nigerian government, propagating falsehood which it hopes will replace the truth.

MEND never sent a delegation to meet with Yar'Adua, and will never do that. It is a simplistic assumption that the Niger Delta issues can be that easily resolved. All those clamouring for visits to Abuja are simply politicians pretending to be militants. They are totally irrelevant in the scheme of things, and will shortly be proven to be so.

MEND, as we have constantly maintained, is representative of the interests of the entire people of the Niger Delta, and not the Ijaws of the Delta alone. We will never permit our dream of freedom for the entire Niger Delta be sabotaged by a few tribalistic, myopic, Ijaw politicians, masquerading as militants and negotiators.

The people of the Niger Delta need justice, not ministerial posts, or states. We need our resources stolen from us for fifty (50) years. This must be returned immediately, as that is the only way true peace will ever return to the Niger Delta, and Nigeria.

Abraxas
Aug 6, 2007, 06:43 PM
Ijaws will not bear the burden of our dear "Governor-General"
- Ms. Cynthia Whyte
Source: Port Harcourt Telegraph (http://www.thephctelegraph.com/stories/010807/0208news_01.html); Monday, 6-August-2007

Ijaws will not bear the humiliation of the self-styled Governor General of the Ijaw nation and former Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, by the Nigerian state, so declared the spokesperson of the Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, Ms. Cynthia Whyte.

Cynthia Whyte said in response to series of questions posed by journalists that the Ijaws would expect that other "thieving governors", plea bargains or not, would be made by the nation's authorities to face the same treatment that Alamieyeseigha passed through. Ms. Whyte also spoke on a number other issues of Ijaw and national interest. This is how the interview with probing journalists went:

Question: Former Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha has being released, after a plea bargaining. He is today a very free man. How fulfilled does your group feel?

Whyte: The unglorified release of DSP Alamieyeseigha represents the culmination of a grand design to humiliate, undermine and impugn on the aspirations of the Ijaw nationhood. That not withstanding, Ijaws will refuse to carry the burden of the conviction of Alamieyeseigha. We therefore demand that the same treatment meted out to Alamieyeseigha be dished out to all other thieving governors, whether they plea bargain, or return stolen funds or properties. It is unfortunate that most of these thieving governors (e.g. Sir (Dr.) Peter Odili) have even nominated ministers and gotten their nominees endorsed and confirmed. Most of these thieving governors are being allowed to roam freely on the streets of the Nigerian state today because of the strength, volume and value of their financial contributions to the 'crafty' hegemony that today lord over the Nigerian state.

For two whole years, DSP Alamieyeseigha was confined, and kept hostage by the Nigerian state in very despicable and humiliating conditions while his fellow thieving governors continued to enjoy the privileges provided by their positions. How unfair? What greater maltreatment can any one receive? All said and done, the future and whatever it brings will clarify how we feel about all these.

Question: What is the position of the Joint Revolutionary Council on the new ministerial appointments recently announced by the Yar'Adua/Goodluck Government?

Whyte: The 'shammed' nomination and eventual confirmation of ministers by Yar'Adua has proven once again the insincere resolve of the Nigerian state to tackle the problems of the long suffering people of the Ijaw and Niger Delta territory. All we got was a junior minister (energy) and a minister of transport. How sad! It wasn't even that bad under Obasanjo where we had five (5) ministers.

At its micro-level, in terms of enlivening the processing of compensating Ijaws and Niger Deltans for the misdeeds and neglect of the past, the appointment of ministerial positions of relevance to competent Ijaw and Niger Delta people is the easiest way of ensuring some good measure of resource control and self-determination for the people of the Niger Delta. If all the petroleum/crude oil that oils the Nigerian enterprise is harvested from the land of our forefathers, then it is only just and honorable that we be allowed total right of management of our resources.
Worse case scenario should demand that our people be given the coveted ministerial offices which directly oversee the exploitation, exploration and management of our resources. This means that even the ministry of finance should also be a portfolio reserved for competent and capable Ijaws and Niger Deltans. We have enough who can effectively handle these positions at home and in the Diaspora. It is important that Diasporan Ijaws who have been proven and tested in certain areas of competency be invited to participate in the healing process.

Question: What would you say is responsible for the current spate of violence in cities such as Port Harcourt today? Is there any near end to the current breach of the peace and increasing insecurity?

Whyte: What do you expect from a system that produces governors and public officers who are either too corrupt or too dumb to think out of the box? Development objectives (such as provision of jobs and opportunities, staffing and equipping of schools, construction of roads, revamping ailing companies etc do not require rocket science). It only requires sincerity and commitment in order to ensure that the quality of life of our people is improved. If 'Big Government' refuses to equip our youths with the knowledge and skills they need to live productive, progressive and successful lives, then we must not complain about the upsurge in violence in Port Harcourt and its environs. If 'Big Oil' refuses to train and recruit our young people, then they must be ready to withstand the fallouts generated as a result of the huge inequality in income between our impoverished local people and the oil workers who traverse our territories.

If a governor of a state will prefer to buy air ambulances rather than revamp ailing industries and create jobs in the process, then he (not the youths) should be held responsible. If government had invested time and resources to provide infrastructure for certain disadvantaged areas in Port Harcourt, we will not be having the ghetto watersides that today harbor armed bandits and criminals. If the Rivers State government had begun a Direct Labor initiative for the construction of roads and other infrastructures in Rivers State, many of these young men could have converted their energies to better objectives. We have enough money and competent people to create solutions to our problems. What we do not have is real and true elected leaders and representatives who carry the burden of the people in their heart.

A sincere and committed government will exploit the opportunities created by the United Nations(UNESCO) Vocational and Technical Education Programme (UNEVOC) to set up a Development Solidarity Initiative which will in turn establish world class vocational training centers with satellite campuses in all local government areas. These training centers can then be managed by an agreed public-private partnership. Human capacity development remains the biggest challenge in the campaign to resolve the current unrest in the Niger Delta.

Our leaders are not just thinking. They lack the ability to operate at high and productive mental thresholds. This is unfortunate. They are our problem, not the gun totting youths. However, there are concerned Niger Deltans of Ijaw stock who are leading various initiatives aimed at ensuring that our young people are trained to participate in the oil industry. I am informed that Global Energy's Kenneth Yellowe working closely with our patriotic and esteemed leader Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari is currently leading the market penetration initiatives of one of America's leading oil and gas training groups.

Also a foundation is being put together by Ijaw people worldwide who believe in Mujahid Dokubo-Asari to jumpstart new initiatives for peace in the Niger Delta. This foundation will be chaired by Dokubo-Asari in view of his position as flag bearer and leading light of the Niger Delta struggle. Economic empowerment, social orientation and conflict resolution shall fall within the remit of the foundation's soft goals.

Question: Does your group see any near end to unrest in the Niger Delta?

Whyte: There seems to be a concerted and sincere effort by the current government to bring about peace and stability in the Niger Delta.

Question: What role is the Joint Revolutionary Council playing to fast track this process?

Whyte: When push comes to shove, all issues and action items will indeed be eventually resolved. When leaders are elected and not selected. When the people of the Ijaw and Niger Delta territory will be properly recognized, compensated and respected as the people who today fund the continued existence of this contraption called Nigeria.

Our people are in great pain. Pain caused by long decades of injustice and a deliberate attempt by a dubious hegemony in the Nigerian state to suck our lands dry and leave us in penury. The Good Lord recognized the difficulty of our terrain and he blessed us with so much crude oil and gas reserves. Today these resources are being stolen from our land in blatant disregard to the existence of our people and without just recompense. How can there be peace? Today economically disadvantaged Ijaw young women are being feasted upon and ravaged by highly paid and HIV carrying oil workers. How can you preach peace?

Question: The JRC promised to cease hostilities against the Nigerian state. How sustainable will this truce be?

Whyte: There may be a momentary cessation of hostilities so that we can fathom out how to move the struggle to the next level but there will be no peace. None…until the wrongs have been made right and then the right has been made sustainable. Like we have continued to say, we are watching closely at the emerging and evolving processes, Alamieyeseigha's release being the most recent. However, let me remind you all that the release of Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and more recently DSP Alamieyeseigha should not be mistaken to be the end thereof. These acts by the Nigerian state are by themselves a means to an end in terms of responding to the agitations of our people. The key issues that border on the quality of our people and their demand for self determination must be honestly and sincerely dealt with. We will continue to work very closely with some of our leaders to ensure that the Vice President of the Nigerian State Goodluck Jonathan is given the support he needs to ensure that the right things are done in good time.

Son of the Delta
Aug 8, 2007, 01:31 PM
Asari Dokubo has mentioned Peter Odili and Celestine Ngozichim Omehia as major protagonists in the security problems Rivers is facing.





Only Sovereign National Conference Can Save Nigeria...Dokubo
Written by Bonaventure Melah
Tuesday, 07 August 2007
&#183;Condemns kidnapping and hostage taking

&#183;Says Peter Odili knows those in the act

&#183;Police to parade 17 hostage takers tomorrow

Leader of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF) Asari Dokubo has called on President Umar Musa Yar’Adua to convene a sovereign national conference where all ethnic groups that make up the country can discuss whether or not they want to belong to Nigeria. He said only that will see to the end of the conflict in the oil rich region. Asari also accused Peter Odili, former governor of Rivers state and his successor Celestine Omeha as collaborators with those who are kidnapping people and declared the acts as not only illegal but criminal. He advised government to fish out those involved as thy have deviated from the philosophy behind the Niger Delta struggle.

Asari Dokubo stated the above yesterday while addressing a press conference at the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Abuja. He said he was at the place to inform the police authorities of his intension to travel to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment as the condition for his release stipulates. He was flanked at the Press Conference by the Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro and other top officers of the Force.

Reacting to questions from journalists after addressing the press, Dokubo said President Yar’Adua has opened the door for negotiation between the government and his group and other Niger Delta leaders on ways to resolve the lingering crises in the region and that the high point of their demand would be the convocation of a sovereign national conference. Alternatively, he said the government of Nigeria should hands off the management and control of the oil sector and leave it in the hands of people of the region as is done in other countries of the world, saying that gross injustice has been visited on the Niger/Delta people by successive governments in the country. He describe as criminal hypocrisy, the fact that Nigerian government used the money from the Niger/Delta to fight apartheid regime in South Africa, saying that the condition of black South African people under apartheid rule was far better than the condition of the Ijaws, the Isokos and other oil producing communities in the region.

“In Saudi Arabia, in Malaysia and many other countries of the world where there is oil, the people in the areas with the oil are the most developed, even in Iraq”. He described the Nigerian situation as the worst in the world saying it can never be accepted.

The Niger/Delta militant leader said that groups loyal to him have decided on a ceasefire as a mark of respect to Goodluck Jonathan, the vice president of Nigeria. When this reporter asked whether people will not see his declaration of ceasefire because of Jonathan as nepotism, Dokubo said he has no apology to anybody for being “nepotistic” as according to him, he has stake in Ijaw and not in Nigeria. “I am an Ijaw nationalist, I am nepotistic. I see myself as an Ijaw man, that’s how I see myself. Until there is a sovereign national conference and we sit down and discuss the issue and you make me a Nigerian where I can stand with any other Nigerian and say we are equal. Not that somebody will sit in Abuja and share my resources and you call me a Nigerian. Not that somebody will sit in Abuja and pick Jonathan and make him Vice President without the contribution of our people and you call me a Nigerian. Somebody will make somebody a governor of River State without input from our people and you call me a Nigerian. We must be equal stakeholders not you calling me a junior partner in the nation when I am the one feeding you”, he said.

On the insinuation in some quarters that he has sold out and now working for government, Dokubo said he cannot work for government because he does not want anything from government. He said he rejected his affluent background to fight and suffer for his people who he said have been oppressed by Nigerian government.

Lifting the sleeve of his shirt to show the scares on them, Dokubo said he was not born with injuries but by parents who were well- to – do as his father was a High Court Judge. “What you see today are credentials of this struggle. But over 90&#37; of Ijaw people said we should give the new government a chance. Again, hostage taking and kidnapping of toddlers and children are not part of our struggle. These are criminal and I will always oppose it”, he said and called on the youths of the region to shun and expose those involved in the acts.

Reacting to issues raised by Asari Dokubo, the IG of Police, Mike Okiro said the Force will launch attack on criminals who are hiding under the guise of the Niger/Delta struggle to perpetuate criminality. He disclosed that many of the people involved have been arrested and that 17 of them would be paraded at the Force Headquarters today.



Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 August 2007 )


SOURCE:elendureports.com

Odinaka
Aug 8, 2007, 01:54 PM
That Peter Odili is still walking the streets in naija a free man is a big indictment of the democracy that have been in place still May 29, 1999.

Abraxas
Aug 10, 2007, 09:55 AM
How Ibori Bought Willbros With $155 Million ...Linked With Funding Militant Groups
By Pointblanknews.com

Source: SaharaReporters.com (http://www.saharareporters.com/www/news/detail/?id=386)

The mafia style engaged by some notable Nigerian politicians is gradually becoming clear to watchers of events in the country. Former Delta State Governor, Mr. James Ibori is arousing wide-spread curiosity on account of his alleged role in using his executive influence to overwhelmingly use some Niger-Delta militants to drive out of Nigeria a well known oil servicing engineering company, Willbros Engineering. Ibori bought the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company for a record $155 Million and the company hurriedly left town.

Only last week Ibori's £20 million assets were frozen by the London Metropolitan Police through a British High Court order.

In a development that has been described by intelligence sources as "typical" and "a matter of consistent pattern, the Ibori-Wilbros matter may have now become a guiding light for unraveling the source of fund and ammunition that regularly stoke insurgent activities in the Nigerian oil rich Niger-Delta.

Also being investigated in the same vein is former Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Diepreye Alamieyesiegha who is also alleged to have used some Ijaw youths to stage kidnaps and ransom demands to blackmail the central government in Nigeria in order to foist a fraudulent air of power and influence.

According to pointblanknews.com investigation, Ibori and Alamieyesiegha, two Nigerian prominent politicians already indicted for corrupt enrichments and stealing of public funds and money laundering activities, could face possible extradition to the United States if there is "actionable intelligence" identifying them as sponsors of kidnapping activities aimed at expatriate workers in Nigeria. Already the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA is said to be closing in on some of the alleged activities of the Governor which were aimed at "funding of illegal arms and kidnappings in Nigeria."

Pointblanknews.com learnt that Mr. Ibori once expressed interest in acquiring majority share in Willbros Engineering sometimes in 2005. His overtures were rebuffed. To the officials running Willbros operations in Nigeria did not know that that would not be the last episode of a saga that would later attract the attention of the entire world. Ibori was said to have bid a retreat and started a complicated plot that would eventually lead to his eventual take over of the lucrative company.

Source who wanted anonymity "in respect of discussing a top security event" revealed that Ibori allegedly contacted a militant group which he purportedly sponsors and allegedly made a deal that would later lead to the abduction of nine Willbross workers in February 2006.


It was said that the company did not suspect any connection between the Governor and the kidnappers. Willbros was said to have innocently solicited the help of the Governor to secure freedom for its hostage workers. Ibori was said to have promised to assist within the shortest possible time. Of course he did.

But forceful abduction of oil workers did not stop. Willbros officials therefore panicked and went back to Governor Ibori to willingly beg him for a possible take over of the company. He expressly obliged and made and initial payment of $105 million cash. He would later come to the United States shortly after leaving office and paid the balance of $50Million to Willbros parent company in Oklahoma before proceeding to Monaco to attend the wedding of the son of Abacha's ally and Lebanese billionaire, Gilbert Chagoury.

A company source at the headquarter offices of Willbros confirmed to Pointblanknews.com that the deal with Mr. Ibori "was a cash transaction and we would not want to say more than that please."

In 2002 there were inconclusive suspicions that Governors Ibori and Alamieyesiegha were involved in importing arms into Nigeria. The immediate purpose for the importation was not clear. But the two strong men of Nigeria South-South politics took advantage of a moratorium granted on importations by the then nascent Obasanjo leadership. The cargo allegedly loaded with arms escaped security scrutiny. Recent increase in militants' activities in the Niger Delta, incessant armed robbery and unresolved mysteries of contract killings have led investigators into concluding that those importations may have links.

Despite obvious logic indicating that Ibori may have been involved in with spread feelings of fear and insecurity in Nigeria, nobody can vouch for a smooth ride for CIA in seeking for his extradition to the US. Washington may not have the full backing of the present administration in Nigeria in seeking to bring people like Ibori and Alamieyesiegha to justice on activities classified as "terrorism." Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was said to have made an inexcusable gaffe in allegedly obtaining detailed "intelligence report" on Ibori and Alamiesiegha; instead of taking action in accordance with the law, he was said to have used his knowledge of the issue to blackmail Ibori to donating N10 Billion to the Yar'Adua for Presidency campaign. The N10 Billion campaign donation by Ibori remains his ticket into unhindered access to the presidency.

When Pointblanknews.com contacted the EFCC's office in Abuja, the spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwaja was not available to comment on the issues relating to Ibori's investigation but a reliable source hinted that "Ibori is one of those we are investigating. We already have the briefs from the Metropolitan Police and we are combining that with what we have here in Nigeria on him."

The EFCC source added, "In no distant time we shall prosecute him and others we have been working on."

Son of the Delta
Aug 10, 2007, 04:09 PM
British officials close shop in P.H.C.


UK Shuts Official Representations In Nigeria's Port Harcourt



PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (AP)--The U.K. said Friday it had closed the British Council and other government-sponsored activities, in Port Harcourt in Nigeria's southern oil region after sporadic gunfights entered a fifth day.

Earlier, it had advised all its nationals to leave three southern Nigeria states, including Rivers State.

Gunfire could be heard in the city, residents said, as gang members apparently continued their running battles in Port Harcourt.

Security forces have boosted their numbers in the streets and around some public buildings since fighting broke out Monday.

At least a half dozen people have died in the violence, police say, although local media put the toll much higher.

Also Friday, gunmen kidnapped a U.K. oil worker as he traveled to work in Nigeria's southern oil region, police said. The man was snatched from his car shortly after dawn, Rivers State Police Commissioner Felix Ogbaudu said.

Amid rising violence, some 200 people have been kidnapped this year in the restive southern region of Africa's biggest oil producer.


(END) Dow Jones Newswires
08-10-070910ET
Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Son of the Delta
Aug 10, 2007, 04:17 PM
Russian hostages kidnapped in Akwa-Ibom released.


Russian hostages freed in Nigeria

Six Russians kidnapped by gunmen more than two months ago from an aluminium firm in southern Nigeria have been freed, government officials say.
The four men and two women are reportedly in good health.

They were seized on 3 June in the south-eastern town of Ikot Abasi, and their Nigerian driver was shot dead.

Kidnappings - more often of oil workers - have become a common occurrence in the south of Nigeria. Victims tend to be released after a ransom is paid.

The Russians were working at an aluminium-smelting plant controlled by Russia Aluminium (Rusal), the world's largest aluminium producer.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has welcomed their release: "If the reports are true, we are satisfied with the outcome of the affair," a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrei Krivtsov, told RIA Novosti news agency.

"The work for the liberation of the Russians has been long and painstaking. We are satisfied that the matter was resolved in a positive way," he said.

It was not clear which group kidnapped the Russians.

President Umaru Yar'Adua has said tackling the unrest in the south is one of his top priorities.

Son of the Delta
Aug 10, 2007, 04:20 PM
Another oil worker is snatched.


Saturday August 11, 01:01 AM
Briton abducted in Nigeria
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen seized a British manager from oil services firm Hydrodive in the anarchic Nigerian city of Port Harcourt in the Niger Delta on Friday, authorities said.
"The man was on his way to work when some gunmen in a car overtook his vehicle and blocked it before snatching him," said Felix Ogbaudu, commissioner of police of Rivers state where Port Harcourt is located.

Ogbaudu initially gave the man's nationality as American, but the British embassy in Abuja later said he was a Briton.



"We can confirm he is a British national," said an embassy spokesman.

Abductions for ransom are frequent in the oil producing delta. Friday's incident raises to at least five the number of foreigners being held captive by various armed groups.

Violence escalated in the impoverished Niger Delta early last year when armed rebels demanding control over oil revenues and an end to neglect by corrupt politicians started blowing up pipelines and oilfields.

Their raids shut down at least a fifth of oil output from Nigeria, an OPEC member and the world's eighth-biggest exporter of crude. The disruption has contributed to record high oil prices on world markets.

But the violence in the delta degenerated over time into an uncontrollable wave of abductions for ransom, armed robberies, turf wars between gangs and fighting connected to a dangerous trade in stolen crude.

Over 200 foreigners have been kidnapped since early 2006 and most have been released unharmed in exchange for money, fuelling the trend. Thousands of expatriate workers and their relatives have fled the region, slowing down some oil and infrastructure projects.

Port Harcourt, the delta's largest city, has been particularly prone to kidnappings and street gunbattles.

This week, the army deployed troops to try to restore order after a bloody street war between rival gangs killed at least 15 people.

Residents of the city's Rumuodara district reported hearing gunfire on Friday morning and seeing a military helicopter flying overhead.

Politically motivated attacks on the oil industry have subsided since a new president took office on May 29 promising negotiations and efforts to develop the delta, but the security forces have been unable to stop the crime wave.

Son of the Delta
Aug 11, 2007, 12:39 PM
Nigeria and the Niger Delta


The Road to The Trenches

By Kazeem Akintunde
Monday, August 06, 2007


The Niger Delta crisis has a long history. Here is how it got to where it is today

For the people of the Niger Delta, it is a long story of dashed hopes and expectations. The discovery of oil in the region in 1956 and its exploration since then has brought money and fame to Nigerians but left poverty and misery for the people. Complaints against the neglect by successive Nigerian governments are as old as the problem itself.

Early resistance to the neglect produced Isaac Adaka Boro who directed his anger against the Igbo who he thought were the cause of the neglect. He started an armed campaign against this situation and his decision to fight on the side of Nigeria during the Nigeria/Biafra war was a product of his resentment for the Igbo.

B.I.C Ijomah, a professor and executive director, Centre for Policy Studies and Research, Asaba, Delta State, while speaking at a colloquium organsied by Newswatch Communications Limited last Thursday regaled his audience with how Boro was frustrated out of the University of Nigeria, a move he (Boro) interpreted to be the handiwork of the Igbo. "Boro was not fully aware that the real oppressor was the federal government that encouraged him to create crisis in the East," Ijomah said.

Now, the people of the region are aware of those behind their problem, and they are ready to do all within their power to stop the oppression. "When the same set of people by virtue of their being in power unilaterally reduced the derivation fund from 50 percent to 0 percent, and even the palliative of 3 percent later granted was nothing to write home about," Ijomah said.

The crisis that has now engulfed the Niger Delta region began soon after the 1963 constitution which recognised 50 percent derivation principle was amended and it was not long before resources that should have been used for the overall development of the region were diverted to other uses. The construction of a new federal capital territory in Abuja, is one of the things that woke up the people of the region to the realisation that they were being short-changed. This discovery was in 1998, when elders and youth leaders in the Niger Delta region were invited to Abuja by Daniel Kanu, a pro-Abacha campaigner and leader of Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha, YEAA, organised the infamous two-million-man-march rally in Abuja to woo the late head of state to run for the presidency.

According to Edwin Clark, former minister and national leader of the Ijaws: "when the delegates from the constituents' states of the Niger Delta such as Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Edo, Rivers, Cross River, Ondo, Abia and Imo saw the glittering and impressive level of development in Abuja, they were momentarily thrown into a state of bewilderment." Clark said many of the people were shocked at the level of development in Abuja and became angry that their God-given wealth was being used to develop Abuja while they were made to suffer. "As soon as the boys who went to Abuja returned and compared notes of what we have in the Niger Delta region with what they saw in Abuja, they started pressing for better development in the Niger Delta," Clark said.

The extent of violence and youth restiveness grew in astronomical proportion in the years preceding the coming of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. Youths in the region began to lay siege on oil installations. They were no longer ready to wait for promises, that would not be fulfilled.

Since then, the Niger Delta lost its innocence. Conflicts grew in intensity as the youths took up arms to fight for the control of the oil resources. Bolaji Akinyemi, former minister of external affairs and chairman at the Newswatch Colloquium, "the crisis in the Niger Delta did not just fall on us as a nation. We did not wake up one morning to find ourselves confronted by the crisis. We had enough signposts dating back to over 40 years, yet we ignored the signals. We went to sleep and left the fire burning on the rooftop. Now we are paying the heavy penalty by not being able to sleep," Akinyemi said.

Nigeria has lost billions of dollars in oil revenue through the activities of the militants while unrest in the region is now giving those in authority serious headache. The sorry state of affairs in the region has led to the establishment of armed groups operating under various names such as Egbesu Boys, Ijaw Youths Vanguard, Bakassi Boys and Niger Delta Youths Coalition who have unleashed mayhem in the zone, making the entire region unsafe for any meaningful economic activities to thrive.

The regime of General Abdulsalami Abubakar which took over the reins of government following the demise of the General Abacha could not respond to the crisis apparently as a result of limited time and the determination of the regime to speedily handover to a democratically elected government on May 29, 1999.

The Obasanjo administration tried in its own little way to solve the problem of the region but a lot of damage had been done. The Youths who have made money from bunkering activities, rather than use the new found wealth for their own benefits began to acquire sophisticated arms which they have now turned against staff of oil companies. Foreign nationals are now endangered species in the region. And it does not seem an end is in sight.

Hilda Dokubo, a militant Ijaw woman, while speaking at the Newswatch colloquium warned that "the weapons would soon be turned on the Nigerian nation if there are no immediate solutions to the problem of the Niger Delta people." She said, (raising a N20 currency.) "Nigeria only recognises Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Where is Ijaw language here?," she asked.

Past administrations in the country have not properly addressed the problem in the Niger Delta region and as a result, militants have increasingly made the area unbearable to expatriate working in the region.

Oil exploration has also been adversely affected by the activities of militant youths. They have vowed to die in defence of the rights of their people.

Akinyemi, said that the Newswatch colloquium was a response to the activities of militants in the area. He, however, noted that the youths did not just wake up one day to take up arms against the oil companies. It is as a result of years of frustrated efforts at improving the lot of their communities.

In 1957, a year before oil exploration began in the area, the communities of the Niger Delta and several other minority ethnic groups in the country, had complained to the Willink Commission set up by the colonial government in power then to identify their fears and expectations as negotiations began for a constitutional framework with which the country would be granted independence from Britain. They had complained of neglect by the regional and central government in the allocation of social amenities and political appointments. The Willink Commission declined to create a separate state for the ethnic minority groups in the Eastern Region as their leaders demanded, but their protests were later to give birth to the Niger Delta Development Board, NNDB, a special agency established by the federal government to tackle the developmental needs of the area because of the peculiar harshness of the terrain.

But the civil war put an end to whatever dreams and aspirations the NNDB had planned for the people of the Niger Delta region and ushered in a political and fiscal regime that not only transferred the bulk of the oil income to the federal government, but also nationalised by decree, the land and mineral resources of the communities of the Niger Delta without consulting them.

Itsay Sagay, constitutional lawyer called for the amendment of that portion of the law in our constitution. It is worthy of note that General Yakubu Gowon, the head of state at the time, enacted the Petroleum Decree effecting this transfer in 1969 when his troops had taken control of the strategic oil terminal town of Bonny. General Ibrahim Babangida, former military president established yet another development agency, OMPADEC, for the benefit of the Niger Delta in 1992. He was, in a manner of speaking, trying to nip the storm that is raging today in the bud. But OMPADEC become a classic case of locking the gate when the horse had already bolted.

The Niger Delta people have paid dearly with their lives and property in their bid to control the oil resources on their soil. Umuechem, an oil-producing community in the Niger Delta is a classic example. The town was levelled and several people killed by anti-riot police on Babangida's orders in October 1989. Youths in the town had petitioned Shell, which had been mining oil in the community for over 20 years, to assist them in providing social amenities for the people. They were also unhappy because the company had subjected the environment to devastation, oil spillage and gas flaring. The youths wanted to discuss these and other related issues with Shell officials. Shell allegedly ignored them, and instead wrote to the government requesting the assistance of anti-riot police to "deal with hoodlums who are threatening our staff and hindering their work." The next morning two lorry-loads of armed police descended on the town, killing 30 people and burning several houses.

The Umuechem incident sent shock waves down the spines of members of the oil-producing communities.

It is, therefore, not a coincidence that the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, emerged one year after the sacking of Umuechem. MOSOP was unique in that it was a grassroots social movement, supported by virtually all Ogoni, with a clearly articulated goal contained in the Ogoni Bill of Rights, OBR.

OBR, the brain-child of Saro-Wiwa and other Ogoni intellectuals, is an incisively-argued document, graphically presenting the economic, social and environmental travails of the Ogoni people since 1958 when Shell began to operate on their land, and calling for financial compensation from the oil company and the Nigerian government, which, according to MOSOP, had collaborated in appropriating the oil revenue taken from Ogoni without giving the owners of the land anything in return.

The document also called for a restructuring of Nigeria based on equality of all its constituent nations and ethnic groups, and a revenue allocation formula based on the principle of derivation as provided in the 1963 Constitution when the country was still a proper federation comprising of four quasi-autonomous regions.

The Ogoni Bill of Rights was presented to Shell, the Federal Military Government and the Nigerian people in a public ceremony presided over by Ogoni community leaders. When no response was forthcoming from the company and the government, MOSOP followed up by organising a peaceful demonstration in January 1993 in which 300,000 Ogoni men, women and children participated.

The January 1993 march, timed to coincide with the United Nations Day for Unrepresented Peoples, was the turning point in the struggle of the communities of the Niger Delta for self-determination and economic justice. One concrete achievement of the march was the expulsion of Shell workers, by non-violent means, from the Ogoni oil fields. Royal Dutch Shell is the second largest oil company in the world, and one of the most profitable. Its Nigeria concessions, of which the Ogoni oil fields is part, accounts for a significant percentage of the multinational's annual profits. Company officials, therefore, saw the emergence of MOSOP and the growing hostility of the people to Shell resulting in the shutting down of the Ogoni wells as a real threat to their profits, a malignant virus that had to be dealt with quickly and decisively if it was not to spread to other parts of the Delta.

General Babangida's government enactment of the Treason and Treasonable Offences Decree to deal with the MOSOP problem and with the killing of Saro-Wiwa, the organisation died a natural death.

The emergence of Mujahid Asari-Dokubo, leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, NDPVF, to fight for the emancipation of his people has kept the Niger Delta problem on the front burner. This time the youth seems ready to lay down their lives, if need be, for things to change for the better. They break oil pipelines; take the crude oil to the high seas where there are no borders and receive sophisticated arms in return. The tide has changed and the hunted has now turned to hunter. Rather than plead for the payment of 13 percent derivation as approved by the I999 constitution, the youths in the word of Sam Amuka Pemu, publisher of the Vanguard Newspaper are now calling for the complete control and ownership of their resources. "The youths are not talking of percentage. They are talking of ownership," he said.

The story of the struggle by the Niger Delta people is a story of power and resistance to it; an epic tale of ordinary men and women battling against vastly more superior forces threatening to take the bread from their mouth and destroy their way of life in the bargain. In the words of Ebere Onwudiwe, a professor and expert on the Niger Delta crisis, "the problem of the region would be solved if those who are involved are really sincere in providing effective solutions to a crisis which experts agreed has now become a Nigerian crisis.

Son of the Delta
Aug 12, 2007, 04:55 PM
The Nigerian state and indeed Nigerians have done evrything to shortchange the Niger Delta.



We betrayed Niger-Delta on derivation, says Akinyemi

Former External Affairs Minister and Director General of the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi spoke to NKECHINYERE IKE on the problems of the Niger Delta and the way out. Excerpts



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HOW do you view the Niger Delta crisis?

It is time we stopped referring to what is happening in Niger Delta as Niger Delta crisis. We should call it Nigeria crisis in the Niger Delta. When a child is crying and the parent cannot sleep, it is no longer the child's problem rather it has become a family problem. The issues that are involved in the Niger Delta involve the whole country and the international community.

As far back as 1960, there was a cry for identity in Niger Delta, Middle Belt and Mid West. Niger Delta is calling for resource control and you can locate that within what we call true federalism - the right of the people to control resources in their area and decide on the issues that affect them. All these you can rightly find in the demand made by people of Niger Delta, the demand made by National Political Reforms Conference.

In broad terms, those are the issues that need to be addressed in the area. Problems of environmental degradation resulting from oil mining, drilling and spillage. Oil exploration has practically denied the people of good livelihood. People of Niger Delta region cannot farm, fish or drink good water because of the activities of oil companies in the area.

We have the problem of development in the area. Imagine where a child walks for 30 minutes before reaching a school. We don't have enough schools in Niger Delta. The few schools in the area are ill equipped to give the children better training. Not minding the amount of resources available in the area, people are suffering in the midst of plenty. It takes more than 30 minutes walk to locate a good health centre in Niger Delta area. If a child becomes seriously sick in the night before the parents can locate a good health centre, the child might be dead.

Bayelsa State is not hooked to national power grid. Is it not a shame, not minding what they are giving to the country everyday? This makes the people to feel abandoned and unwanted. There is enclave phenomenon in the area. You see the oil companies with facilities needed to make life comfortable for their workers, on the one side and on the other side you see people of the areas suffering. There is nothing that makes one sad like seeing affluence while one is suffering despite being the source of the affluence. Someone from the Niger Delta area said that he got a First class degree in Engineering and there are five oil wells in his community but he was never employed by any of the oil companies in his community.

Could you trace the genesis of the problems in the Niger Delta?

The crisis did not come up suddenly. Unfortunately we are a nation without history. We should start to make compulsory a course in Nigeria history from secondary schools to university level. Late Isaac Boro in 1966 declared unilaterally independence of the Delta Ijaw area and he equally declared war against the rest of Nigeria. He took on the police and defeated them. It was the military that captured him and sentenced him to death when the civil war broke out in 1967; he was in a federal prison. Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) negotiated with him and authorised his release. According to Ijaw nationalists, in exchange for helping the federal troops, Gowon promised the Ijaw three states.

That was not the first time people picked up arms in Niger Delta and it was not also the first time other people picked up arms in Nigeria.

The first insurrection in Nigeria was in the Middle Belt. From independence in 1960, they fought the Nigeria army till Gowon created State in the areas. There was operation wetie in the Western region from 1963-1966. We had civil insurrection where people resorted to violence and arms for political reasons. What makes what is happening in Niger Delta unique is the intensity of the crisis and the target of foreigners, which attracts international attention.

Nigeria has cost billion of dollars in our revenue through the crisis in the areas. It is the magnitude that makes it quite disturbing and the government and international community cannot ignore what is happening in the area.

What do you make of former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's approach to the Niger Delta issue?

Obasanjo tried for the people of Niger Delta. He established the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the commission had done a lot on developmental projects in the areas. The Niger Delta Master plan is also a product of Obasanjo. But his attitude towards the whole issue is an imperial one, an emperor talking down to his people.

Fortunately, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's government has adopted a different approach to the problems, saying to the people of the Niger Delta that his government recognised their grievances and is ready to dialogue with them to find lasting solutions to their problems.

Obviously, President Yar'Adua has not shown his card and in the negotiations you don't do that. That is a good tactic. The people will not feel cheated again because they are directly involved in the negotiation. In negotiation, they will come up with solutions to the problems. The release of Mujahid Asari-Dokubo and Alamieyeseigha is a major step in the right direction in tackling the problems of Niger Delta crisis. The personal involvement of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan and the series of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that are getting involved by holding seminars, conferences and dialogues on the problems, indicate that solutions to the problems are in sight.

Also of particular importance is telling them in Niger Delta that they are no longer the forgotten area of the federation. We are no longer talking at you. We are now talking to you and we are talking together. That their pains are our pains. That is what is new on the ground.

Won't the activities of militants affect the negotiations?

I am not ready to condemn anybody but kidnapping of children is an abomination. That is an absolute value that you don't tamper with. It is what the militants are doing that have got our attention and that of the rest of the world. This agitation has been going on for over 50 years. Nobody was doing anything about it till it got out of hand and you want to criticise the militants. Nigeria forced the people in that area to adopt the method that now got our attention.
I am not encouraging anything and I am not attacking anybody but unfortunately it is a human phenomena. It is a weakness of the human psyche. It happened to the Americans in Vietnam, British in Northern Ireland and the Americans in Iraq. We human being are not allowed to be rationale in dealing with crisis for fear that we will be called weaklings. A solution that would have cost us five naira five years ago will now lost us billions.

What is the role of politicians in the crisis?

Asari-Dokubo's allegations that politicians and external forces are deeply involved in Niger Delta crisis might be true because he is an insider, who is on ground. As a scholar, what he is saying is absolutely true. Wherever you have oil resources, it attracts all kinds of characters the good, the bad and the ugly. Nigerians and foreigners who are making a kill from bunkering are smiling to the banks abroad with dollars. Do you think they are going to be part of the solutions to Niger Delta problems? These are criminal elements that must be dealt with.

We have the political activists who are doing what they are doing as a means to an end. The end being correcting the injustices of Niger Delta. Those are the people who will respond to meaningful dialogue and sincerity of purpose on the part of government. The most difficult is how to ensure that the criminal elements don't interfere with the political process in dealing with the crisis in the area. The government must separate them, adopt different approaches but not to bring them together. People who are actually involved know who is who. I also understand that there are heavy weights in that area that have their own militants and they use them to advance their political interest. They are neither fully criminals or political activists. These are the complexities of the whole issue. What is the solution to the crisis?

Adopting different strategies in dealing with different elements that are involved in the crisis. The issue of 13 per cent derivation is an insult to the people. We must accept that we are going to back total derivation principles that were in the 1960 Nigeria constitution. We have to agree on derivation principle and on what percentage the oil producing areas will give to Central government for distribution to other states.

It is a mark of honour to them. They felt they were betrayed because the issue of derivation principle was changed without due consultation with the people of the areas. Before the discovery of oil in the area, every state decided what it gave to the Federal Government from what it produced. All of a sudden oil came and the whole thing changed. The people of Niger Delta felt short-changed and the issue of this betrayal must be addressed.

We must also be disciplined, in the use of language. We must find a way of getting all the stakeholders involved in the negotiation and proffering solutions to the problems there. We must be innovative in our approach to the problem. I have read that Gowon promised the Ijaw Niger Delta three states during the insurrection led by late Major Isaac Daka Boro. Right now they have only Bayelsa State. This issue must be addressed.

There must be decentralization of power in our system. Power is concentrated at the Centre. There is need to decentralize power so that there will be rapid development at the grassroots level. These solutions affect the rest of other states in Nigeria.

Son of the Delta
Aug 13, 2007, 10:57 AM
Oronto Douglas on the vice-president and the Niger Delta.


Aftermath of Vice President's assets declaration:Transparency should be taken to the next level
•Faults FG on Niger Delta crises
Saturday, August 11, 2007

Human rights activist, Oronto Douglas has applauded the Vice President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan for responding, positively, to the agitations by Nigerians for the public declaration of his assets. Last Wednesday in Abuja, Imo Niboro, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications to the vice-president made documents available to State House Correspondents, revealing the assets of the vice president to the tune of N295 million.




In this interview with Saturday Sun, Oronto Douglas, submitted that the demands should be wholistic: Ministers, Senators and serving governors should equally be compelled to toe the line of President Yar'Adua and his deputy
While not holding brief for those who may be aversed to public declaration of assets , the former Information Commissioner in Bayelsa State equally called for the passing of the Freedom of Information Bill into law to douse the agitation for public declaration of assets.

"If that bill has been available, then anybody can go and access. I think that was the point the Vice-President was making when he said Nigerians should go to the Code of Conduct Bureau and collect his assets declaration documents".

Let's start on this note; do you think the public pressures have anything to do with the eventual public declaration of assets by the Vice President?
There's absolutely no doubt that the Vice-President acceptance to declare his assets publicly, was as a result of the Nigerian people demanding that he should declare, publicly. This emanated from everywhere. the grassroots to the top.

I think, for him to 've listened to the voices of the masses of this country, we must give him kudos, because in the true past, leaders were deaf to the demands of Nigerians for justice, leaders refused to listen, they were all knowing, arrogant in their behaviour and consumate in their belief that they know more than the people of his country.

So, Jonathan is setting a good example on how a good leader must respond to the voices, of the masses of his country. It's a good move, it's in the right direction and we must toe that path, because in doing so, we'll be helping to build on democracy and setting a new path of public accountability and responses to the issues that affect Nigeria's most. Today, the clamour is for transparent and accountable, honest, humble leadership. Jonathan encapsulates some of these values and has added a new value into it; that's responding to the wishes of the people of Nigeria in matters that affect them.

You've said the Vice-President is an embodiment of humility but in the media, the impression we get is that, that's a facade; that the man is a hawk and that he has refused to give the Governor of Bayelsa, free hand to administer the state.?
I think that view is coming from people who don't know the politics and the dynamics of Bayelsa State. You can't call Timpire Sylvia, a green horn. This is a man who has cut his teeth in politics, all over the years. He was in the old Rivers State Assembly as legislator; he was a political adviser to Alamieyeseigha, he was special adviser to the former Energy minister, Edmund Daukoru, he has always been in politics and had acquired tremendous experience in this area of life. Remember, that he came into the gubernatorial race very strong and was second in the hierachy of those who ran for the election.

So, it would not be right to point to him as a green-horn. Jonathan on the other hand, is one man who believes that you must allow people to do their own thing and rightly. Take note, Jonathan isn't an ambitious man.He's not a man who wants to hold on to something, for the sake of holding on to it. He's one man who didn't want to be deputy-governor, but he was called out to be deputy governor.He didn't want to be, governor, but he became governor. His ambition was at the time to become governor by 2007 but God, and fate propped him up and he became vice-president.

At this moment, his desire isn't to outshine his boss. So, he has always lived that life of let me be, what the people desire for me. So, to say that he's holding on to Timpire Sylvia will be totally unkind to Timpire Slyvia and to Goodluck Jonathan himself.

Now that the vice-president has declared his assets, what next? Don't you envisage pressures on him? Secondly, where do we go from here? Do we just let it lie and forget about it?
I don't believe that there'll be pressures on him, the law is very clear on this matter. Those who've submitted their documents to the Code- of- Conduct Bureau, they will soon verify, what those assets are.
I think, what we should do as Nigerians is that, in view of the clamour for public declaration, we should go all the way to ensure that all those who've not declared, should so declare so that by the grace of God, the demands of Nigerians will be met; the demands are for transparency, for accountability for good governance.

I believe that we're in a new season, where every Nigerian is demanding for justice., For me, as a Niger- Delta person, I'm even more interested in how money that comes into the Federation Account, money generated by Nigeria be utilized and I do know that from 1958 when the export of crude oil started to 1970, when crude oil took prime stage in revenue generation of this country, that we, the people of the Niger-Delta ‘ve been the ones sustaining this country.

If that's the case, oil money –the almost 600 billion dollars generated from crude oil've come from the Niger-Delta. We understand that there're some people who've golf courses in some parts of the world; there're people who own mansions all over the world, there're those who ‘ve acquired aircraft and so on Most of these assets were money taken from the impoverished communities of the Niger-Delta. People's dying of hunger, you go to the Niger-Delta today, people ‘re moving corpses, and polluted water, fouled air, anger and desperations out today.

Nigeria has to respond, immediately, by ensuring that whatever money being generated in the region is utilized accountably. Two, that they return all stolen resources back to the Niger-Delta. Thirdly, if the EFCC operation is to be taken to its logical conclusion, those who've governed before now, ministers, ex-heads of state who've so much stashed away in assets, all those money should now be retrieved.

Still on this assets declaration, there is this cynical mindest that public officers might be indulging in anticipatory declaration; will the code of conduct, take the initiative to verify?
I think the biggest drawback in Nigeria is that some institutions of governance aren't as strong as we want them to be. We're at the beginning of a new era and we should begin to strengthen the code of conduct. I think that's the point the Vice-President was making about the rule of law. If you strengthen the institutions of governance, Nigerians don't need to shout.

Those institutions'll be galvanized into doing something. In the United States and Britain, public officers don't declare their assets, publicly but the moment you step into the public arena, to say you've running for office or you're in office, these institution's step in, get the assets and act.Regardless of whatever you declare or you don't declare.

So, we need to strengthen those institutions. That's what I mean by the next level. How do we strengthen those institutions so that they can help us streamline and ensure accountability like the EFCC has done. Of course , they ‘ve areas that Nigerians ‘ve expressed disappointment.

Don't you think Nigerians wouldn't ve been as vehement as they were in insisting that the Vice President declare his assets , publicly , if the Freedom of Information Bill has been passed into law ?
You see, that bill in the National Assembly needs to be urgently passed. As a believer in constitutionalism and the rule of law , and somebody who campaigned for the rights of Nigerians, I believe that the Information Bill must, be passed into law , so that we can have access into these documents

If that bill has been available anybody can go and access it That was the point the vice president was making when he said that people should go to the code of conduct bureau to collect his assets declaration documents . Now in the absence of that, the other option was to go the court of law . But our judicial system is slow . So, I agree with you that we need to pass that bill into law, to also strengthen the institutions that were talking about .

But why didn't the Vice president declare his assets , until now; secondly why did he leave out his wife's assets ?
I think my limited knowledge of the law in that area is that public officers or civil servants ‘re not compelled to declare, publicly. So, I think it's in deferrence to that he didn't declare his wife and teenagers assets.

If you were in a position to run this country for one day, what do you think is the solution to the Niger-Delta crises, to stave off all these hostage takings and kidnapping?
I think that for almost five decades, the people of the Niger-Delta 've been demanding for five key issues to be looked into.The first is access and control or resources. Two, environmental justice. Three, self determination; political, economic and social development of the nation and finally, the building of a united Nigeria that's based on the rule of law and justice where minorities rights are protected.

These five cardinal issues that have been canvassed by the people of the Niger-Delta've not been attended to all these years and it has led to several major upheavals, leading to attacks and violence, visited on our people.
In 1966, Isaac Boro declared a secession. In 1990, Ken Saro Wiwa led a major movement anchored on peaceful, non-violence in Ogoni; in 1998, Ijaw youth rose in unison, via the Kiama Declaration. Now other nationalities like the Urhobos, the Itsekiris, Usokos, ‘ve at one time or the other made one big declarations in their demands for justice.

Now, what has been the results of all these? Between 1987 and 1997 and 2007 over 10,000 Niger-Deltas people ‘ve been killed… the violence visited on our people is uncalled for.
We're saying this violence must stop, but we must go to the round table to discuss. It's not in the interest of Nigeria. We only think in the terms of cost. When you ask the oil companies, they will reel out the figures.
The people ‘re saying, they want to be part of a united Nigeria, built on justice. They're saying they want to be part of a united Nigeria, based on dialogue and justice. That has been the position of our people.

The violence that's now going on is a tip of the ice-berg, compared to the violence that ‘ve been visited on our people. Nobody wants to excuse what is going on there, but we're fighting for the rights of our people and we must not visit them with violence. The Inspector-General of Police , the other day said most of the hostage takings were being sponsored from outside.
So, we need to put all these things on a template and do an analysis . Kidnapping and hostage taking is now a big business, being financed by those who wants to undermine and distract the legitimate cry for justice by our people: that the basic reconsisties of live can be enjoyed in the Niger-Delta region. That's the basis for the agitation for resource control.

The vice-president, whether by accident or whatever is the leading light of the Niger-Delta for now. Do you think he has what it takes to galvanize the people?
I don't think that ‘s an issue, because it's all clear that he has succeeded in creating the political space for direct discussions with those who're in the creeks and in the streets insisting that there has to be a change. It hasn't happened before. His coming in has created opportunities.
The responsibility of resolving the Niger-Delta crises doesn't lie with the vice-president. It lies with all Nigerians who're the beneficiaries of whatever goodies that ‘re in the Niger-Delta. Goodluck Jonathan may only ‘ve been sent a message, by the government and to my mind, he has done what has to be done. The next thing to go to direct dialogue.
Here was a group of people who didn't want to talk to government. Asari Dokubo came out and said, we're for dialogue. This is a show of good will. May be they realize that one of their own is now in a strategic position. But they should also realize that he's just one person and the fundamental issues that galvanize the struggle mustn't be sacrificed on the altar of one man appointment or election. So, they're pretty aware of that, but they've equally supportive of Goodluck, believing that by his being vice-president, the Nigerian state will very urgently address the issues that have been raised.

Abraxas
Aug 14, 2007, 12:51 PM
SSS Arrests Rivers' Lawmaker, Suspected Militia Members

From Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Nkechi Onyedika (Abuja)
Source: The Guardian Newspapers, Lagos, Nigeria. Tuesday, 14 August 2007.
(http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article01)
A member of the Rivers State House of Assembly and four suspected kingpins of rival cult groups involved in the violence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, have been arrested by security operatives.

The lawmaker's (name withheld) arrest, according to a security source, is in connection with last Saturday's wanton destruction of private and public property in some parts of Port Harcourt. Over 20 persons were feared killed in the incident.

A security operative said they found some election posters of the lawmaker in one of the vehicles recovered from a rival group in Saturday's attack. Other items found in the car included bullets and one AK 47 rifle.

The lawmaker had arrived at the House of Assembly complex along Moscow Road for yesterday's sitting. Shortly afterwards, he was invited for interrogation by the operatives of the State Security Services (SSS) who later detained him.

The source hinted that "we have the lawmaker who is being quizzed in relation to Saturday's incident. There are also four major cult group leaders in our custody. We are continuing the raid on suspected hideouts of these cult members. We are resolved to flush them out of the state."

Yesterday, the Joint Task Force (JTF) raided parts of Marine Base and Abuja Estate along Creek Road in the city. The raid was part of the manhunt and clampdown on suspected cult members.

The JTF mounted road blocks in parts of Marine Base and embarked on a house-to-house search for suspected cult members.

It was learnt that some arrests were made during the raid that lasted for several hours.

The JTF also invaded the Abuja Estate, where eyewitnesses said the search for the cult was concentrated around the waterfront area. Some persons were said to have been arrested in the area.

And in the Diobu area, the task force mounted roadblocks at bus stops on Emenike and Okija streets along Ikwerre Road, which has been one of the major flashpoints in the city. Commuters and motorists who passed through the road were subjected to thorough searching by the security agents.

In a reaction to the manhunt for the militias, former Speaker of the state legislature, Rotimi Amaechi, expressed dismay that Rivers had been reduced to a lawless, panic-stricken and violence state as a result of disturbances which had taken their toll on the residents and property.

Amaechi said he was joining well-meaning Nigerians to condemn "the perpetrators of these shameful acts which betray the very essence of our country's democracy."

He said: "Nothing can be more callous and reprehensible than the circumstances that have led to all these, and no decent and law-abiding society can allow those who carried out this vicious act to go unpunished."

The former lawmaker, who commiserated with the families of those who lost their loved ones during the violence, urged the people to be vigilant and to shun all acts capable of leading to further loss of lives and property.

A group styled K12 has urged the two rival militia groups engaged in the orgy of violence in the state capital to take advantage of the rehabilitation and repositioning programmes of Governor Celestine Omehia's administration to fully reintegrate into the society and refuse to be used by warped minds.

The K12 chairman in Port Harcourt, George Ariolu, who expressed concern about the unprovoked disturbances caused by some misguided youths, described as heartrending the prevailing situation in the state.

The Federal Government yesterday described as unfortunate and unacceptable the lingering crisis in the Niger Delta, warning that it would not fold its arms and watch criminals take over the region.

Information and Communications Minister, Mr. John Ogar Odey who stated this during an interactive session with journalists yesterday in Abuja, condemned the burning of the Rivers State Radio2 Station and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega-station at the weekend in Port Harcourt. He said the situation in Port Harcourt is under control.

Odey noted that the Federal Government is highly concerned with the high rate of criminal activities in the Niger Delta, adding that the government will not allow the citizens of the region to suffer in the hands of few elements.

According to him, government has a holistic plan to the security problem in the region and has decided to tackle it through the provision of development infrastructure.

Odey stated that the issue of Nigeria being one of the topmost or of the 20 most developed nations in the world come 2020 is the cardinal point of this administration, stressing that it is the government's desire to take the nation's development beyond the level where it is today.

The minister said that in achieving this, critical areas which government has overlooked in the past but which hinder the nation's development would be addressed.

According to Odey: "It is in line with some of this policy thrust that the President initiated the seven-point agenda. I know that energy and power are critical factors in our economic life and because without power and energy, obviously, most of our industries, even the processing of agro-allied industry, will not work."

"Our concern is to ensure that we get it right in the power and energy sector to ensure we have effective productive life."

He promised to meet with the Minister of Science and

Technology in order to advise government to have an informed decision.

Son of the Delta
Aug 18, 2007, 09:55 AM
Asari Dokubo speaks on the current Port Harcourt mayhem that was caused by Dr.Peter Odili.

SOURCE:P.H. Telegraph

Omehia has failed us
By Alhaji Asari Dokubo




My dearest Rivers people, We thought that with the advent of democracy, we will be able to live in a free society in which we will be in harmony and peace. These are ideals for which we were willing to die for. Unfortunately, this is not the case with our dear Rivers state.
After being away for twenty two months under the fear of death by the government of General Olusegun Obasanjo, the maximum ruler of the Nigerian state from 1999 to 2007, I came to meet a situation that breaks and bleeds my heart.
Today our people live in the very presence of death, injury and pain fashioned and manufactured by an evil cabal sponsored, inspired and instigated by General Olusegun Obasanjo and his seismic clone Dr Peter Odili whose satanic quest to perpetually cling to power was dashed by the ever vigilant masses of the various nationalities that were forcefully conscripted into the enterprise called Nigeria.
Having cut short his dreams of being a life president, Obasanjo said that Nigerians will cry for him to come back after he has left so he chose the Niger Delta and particularly the Bantustan of Rivers State as his satanic laboratory to justify this craze and quest. Together with Peter Odili, they recruited little demons and trigger happy toddlers to use as guinea pigs in their laboratory. These little demons have now become a torn in the flesh of the good people of Rivers State
Yesterday it was Margaret Asawo who was fallen by their bullets; today it might be you or me while your supposed governor surrounds his government house with an armada of fierce looking Nigerian military men for his own protection. So who will protect you and I? If the man who claims to have the mandate for the security of our lives and properties has now been 'Dodan-Barracked', where should we look up to? The streets are empty; the houses are without lighting and flowing water. Churches, Mosques and other centers of worship have been deserted and abandoned all for the fear of not being fallen or hit by a stray bullet. This is now our life.
What can we do?
We have a lot to do my brothers and sisters. We must stand up and resist this evil cabal represented by Dr Peter Odili and protected by the machineries left behind by General Olusegun Obasanjo so that our people will continue to live in the fear of pain and death.
We must all stand up and resist them by calling for a change in the present deplorable situation. There is no sitting on the fence. The governor has failed to discharge his duties and responsibility as governor of Rivers State.
What we have today in the Bantustan of Rivers State is a clear representation of a complete failure of government and governance resulting in a sordid and shameless act of the governor to save himself from the lawlessness by resorting to protection by soldiers and other members of security agencies to defend the new multi-billion naira fortress which was the only legacy left to Rivers people by his predecessor Peter Odili. How shameful.The government of Umar Musa Yar'Adua must therefore get to work without wasting any more time and in order to safeguard the lives and properties of our people and then bring to book, all those who are responsible for this sadistic dance with drumbeats from the pits of hell.
Today as we speak, Ogbogoro, an Ikwerre community is no more. Kula is no more. Ke', Tombia, Angulama, Old Bakana and some other small communities are all gone. When will we act? When will we rise up against this cabal? It is time my brothers and sisters.
We must show our resolve and resilience in resisting them now. Tomorrow might just be too late. People have asked, what is my role in all this? A lot of people have accused me of having a hand in the present state of things. I was released from the gallows of General Olusegun Obasanjo on the 14th of June 2007. I arrived Port Harcourt on the 16th, left on the 17th and returned on the 23rd leaving again on the 26th and since then, I have not set my foot on my father's land, the reason being that I do not want to be involved in the intrigues and evil machinations of former governor Peter Odili and his cabal to drag me and my name into a crisis that they have unleashed on the good people of Rivers State. In spite of these efforts of mine to keep my distance, my name has continued to be associated in this madness. I vehemently and totally reject it. I am not party to and will never be a participant in this very disgraceful and evil dance with drumbeats concocted from the pits of hell.
This evil cabal did all they could to lure me into festival of carnage that they have unleashed on the people of Rivers State . They did everything they could to provoke me to join in this crisis. They stole my car (a less than two week old jeep) and then attacked my communities (Buguma and Obuama), but I will not be driven to go to war with my own people.
I feel the pains of the people. I see the tears that flow down their checks. I feel their grief. I feel the wailings in their homes. I am together with them in their prayers and in their fasting. When will all this madness end?Like Professor Wole Soyinka said, "A Man dies who keeps quiet in the face of tyranny". We must not die by keeping quiet. We must speak out and act now. We must rescue our motherland from the clutches of the evil cabal that seeks to destroy Rivers State . We must resist this evil cabal in the creeks, in the town squares and in the streets. We must not allow them the luxury of continuing in their madness.
If there was any time that silence is said to be golden, it is certainly not now. Silence right now will only be translated to mean giving support to what is going on right now. Our struggle is moral and just. We must reject in its totality, these criminalities of blind hostage taking, abduction, death, killings and destruction. We must speak now. We must all speak out now.
Conclusion
I believe that the Good Lord is with us and will not allow this evil cloud to envelope and totally eclipse us. We shall overcome.
The struggle is unstoppable

Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari

Abraxas
Aug 19, 2007, 08:45 PM
Port Harcourt Mayhem May Continue -M.E.N.D.

By Idowu Adelusi and Bolaji Ogundele
Sunday Tribune On-line (http://www.tribune.com.ng/19082007/news/news2.html); Sunday, 19 August 2007.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has associated the crisis in Port Harcourt with the struggle by cult groups to gain government's patronage, adding that the problem will not be over soon.

Meanwhile, security agencies in the country have been charged to get to the root of the carnage which has continued to fester in Rivers State in the past three weeks, unveil those behind it, and ensure that they were brought to book.

Spokesman of the MEND, Jomo Gbomo, in an on line interview with the Sunday Tribune, also said the problem in the city may be prolonged as security agencies have started taking sides.

"The government's well-intentioned gesture is greatly flawed and more likely to result in a re-emergence of fighting in the short and long term. The military took sides, directing their attacks on Soboma who is percieved to be an enemy of the Rivers State governor. Anyone familiar with cult groups in the Delta will understand that the military has started a never-ending war", he said.

Mr. Jomo Gbomo also blamed the Rivers State governor, Mr. Celestine Omehia, for the mayhem that has claimed more than forty lives in the state capital. The MEND leader accused Governor Omehia of being responsible for the mayhem as he, like his predecessors, patronised cult groups and what happened in the state, he said, was a battle for government patronage. Jomo Gbomo said, "The blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the state governor, who like his predecessors, patronised gangs to ensure victory in elections."

He said that Governor Omehia was now waging a war with the help of the Nigerian military against groups which did not assist him. The MEND leader vowed that the ongoing battle for supremacy in the state between his gang and the group loyal to the governor cannot be ended by the use of force. He said that as long as any party to this conflict remains aggrieved, there will be a re-grouping and resurrection of fighting possibly against the military or rival groups perceived to have benefited from the military's involvement.

The MEND leader continued, "the government's well intentioned gesture is greatly flawed, and more likely to result in a re-emergence of fighting in the short and long term." Describing the recent carnage in the state as senseless, Jomo Gbomo said that the fighting has nothing to do with fight for justice. He said that he was optimistic that the two war lords, Tom Ateke and Soboma George will embrace peace and work together towards justice for the people of Rivers State.

Meanwhile, former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Chief Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi expressed deep sadness at the wanton waste of lives and property by hoodlums. Amaechi, who commended President Umaru Musa-Yar'adua for speedily deploying senior security officers of the country to manage the situation, described the carnage as "shameful acts which have betrayed the essence of our democracy".

"Rivers State has been regrettably reduced to a lawless, panic-stricken, and violent society. I am appalled at the extent of damage that these unwarranted incidents have had on the psyche of our people and the reputation of our state. "Accordingly, I wish to seize this opportunity to urge security agencies not to relent in ensuring that the perpetrators are unveiled and brought to book in accordance with the laws of our country.

Abraxas
Aug 20, 2007, 07:21 AM
Breaking News: Army arrests militants ...Vows to deal with their sponsors
By Ogbonna Nwuke

Source: The Port Harcourt Telegraph (http://www.thephctelegraph.com/stories/010807/1508news_02.html); 15 August 2007

Security personnel operating directly under the orders of the Federal Government who stepped into the Rivers crisis at the weekend have arrested an unspecified number of militants, even as law and order begins to return to Port Harcourt city. The suspected militants some of whom are being interrogated at the moment were picked from several points of the city. Eyewitnesses at the Abuja Waterfront as it is called said security operatives marched out some suspects who were caught after they effectively took control of the city. We have learnt that some of the attackers who have turned Port Harcourt into a theatre of war and destruction were captured around Igboh-Etche by vigilant security personnel who trailed them to where they were hiding in the bush.

Army Spokesman, Musa Sagir confirmed the arrests in a chat with the Telegraph, but declined for security reasons to reveal the total number of those who are now in the net. Sagir said that the ongoing operation by a joint task force comprising the army, navy, airforce and the police would continue until the city is flushed of miscreants. Asked what message he has for those who are involved in the current unrest that has stricken Rivers State, Sagir had this to say: "Those who are behind this carnage should desist from engaging in this bad act because sooner or later the law will catch up with them. "When we catch them, they will be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity."

It was a stern warning, but it fitted appropriately with the directive that President Umar Yar' Adua issued in Abuja. He had directed the Chief of Defence Staff , General Andrew Owoye Azazi and the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro to remain in Port Harcourt until they had quelled the crisis there. Progress reports show that the presidential will is already being realized. Since the arrival of the presidential team that has directly taken charge of the security situation, the gun battles of the last week have evaporated. Residents may be going through body searches and through what some say are humiliating gestures such as being made to raise their hands above their heads as they walk, but a great majority of the people say it is a worthy prize to pay for peace and security.

One young man who simply gave his name as Tonye remarked, "I think we should not complain. Our government failed to protect our lives and property. Now some one is doing just that. I think we should thank the Federal Government; I think we should do what the men on ground are asking us to do. The way I see it, it is in our own interest." Tonye is not the only one that feels that way, a lady called Amie stated, "Now, I can walk the streets without bothering about who would snatch my bag, jewelry and phone. "The town is a bit quiet now and I am very much in support of what is being done by the security agencies."

The Rivers government accused of partisan involvement in cult activities had failed to draw the line, to halt the cult advance and protect lives and property. For six days, residents of Port Harcourt city were held hostage, forcing fun seeking and law abiding citizens to take refuge in their homes. Several lives have been lost as agents of the administration played the ostrich and watched as Emperor Nero as Rome burnt. On Friday, a worried President read the riot act, saying what was happening in Port Harcourt was totally unacceptable. He despatched trusted security chiefs to take care of the situation. He may not have declared a state of emergency, but many Rivers people regardless of their ideological leaning agree the move was timely. The result is that some of those who have terrorized Port Harcourt are under arrest A citizen who was obviously afraid to allow his name on print said, "This is it! This is what we all have expected from the Omehia administration. I am shocked that Omehia has allowed himself to be led astray."

But by whom? That is the question. Not many people think that Governor Omehia is capable of any action now. They say those who sponsored his alleged imposition on the Rivers people are not giving him any breathing space. They allege that they are the ones dictating every direction of his administration. Insiders who are on the side of Omehia agree, with some saying it is only a matter of time before the new governor would find his feet.

Omehia is almost clocking one hundred days in office and what many Rivers people say he has to show is the creation of a blood-chilling environment in which the sanctity of human life seems to have lost its value. When the governor addressed the state, he failed to acknowledge the pain of families of law abiding citizens who were senselessly slaughtered, not to talk of consoling them. He did not appear as well to have a clear agenda of what to do to reverse the deteriorating situation, several residents said, after listening to the broadcast on radio and television.

In the last few weeks, several letters have been written by concerned citizens to Governor Omehia complaining of several actions and in-actions of government. Alhaji Asari Dokubo in his latest letter complained Omehia had failed Rivers people, and accused Ex-Governor Peter Odili and former president Olusegun Obasanjo of masterminding the Rivers crisis . Sotonye Ijuye Dagogo in his letter expressed shock Governor Omehia could consider building a shopping mall a priority and wondered if Rivers people could not be trusted to build such a shopping complex. Ijuye-Dagogo asked to know what had happened to the big contractors stablished by the Alfred Diete-Spiff administration and who had been patronized by military administrations.

Charles Harry, Chairman of the Rivers Democratic Movement condemned the decision of the Omehia administration to award huge and mouth-watering contracts to non-indigenous contractors, arguing that the action of the Omehia government was a slap on the faces of Rivers people. In the last eight years, the Rivers people have awoken to a new reality - the era of cult related violence and violent death.
In the last eight years several souls have been lost in Okrika, Abua, Ogoni and other parts. Prominent Rivers statesmen such as Chief Marshal Sokari Harry and Chief A.K. Dikibo have been killed. To this day, the real killers of these men who chose to be their own men have not really been found. Family members, it is on record, have cried foul over attempts to provide what they see as decoys.

Despite efforts to present a different picture, many Rivers people at home and abroad blame government for the growth of the cult movement and accuse officials of patronizing cult members.
They dismiss as lies, claims that the cult unrest in the state began with the delivery of the judgment by the Court of Appeal in Abuja. Until Odili came to power, large scale violence was alien in these parts, and many still remember with nostalgia how peaceful and hospitable Rivers State used to be.


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denker
Aug 20, 2007, 08:16 AM
Bear pains of curfew, Omehia begs Rivers people

TONY ITA ETIM, Port Harcourt


RIVERS State governor, Sir Celestine Omehia has appealed to residents of Port Harcourt to bear the current pains of the restriction imposed on the city, saying the decision was taken to restore peace in the area.

The governor who made the appeal at a meeting with members of the state Indigenous Publishers Association (RIVPA), said the curfew and security checks were routine security measures to achieve peace for the good of the people.

Port Harcourt, the state capital, it would be recalled, had last week witnessed an orgy of violence, prompting the imposition of a dusk to dawn curfew as well as stop and search order on the populace.

Gov. Omehia who frowned at the activities of cult groups and miscreants said the state has constituted the Peace and Rehabilitation Committee to rehabilitate and reintegrate them.

He particularly hailed President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua for the steps so far taken saying the state is the economic hub of the nation and whatever happens to it affects the entire nation.


"In fact the issue of security is on the exclusive list and I can confirm to you that the Federal Government has taken charge and the criminal elements are on their heels. I am grateful to President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua for his support in directing the security agencies to bring the situation under control", he stated.

He explained that the deployment of soldiers in the area was to normalize the situation even as he commended the security chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, Sir Mike Okiro, and the media for their collaboration in controlling the ugly scenario.

He pointed out that his several appeals to misguided youths to embrace peace fell on deaf ears and some of them felt that they could destabilize the state because we refused to pay ransom to kidnapped persons.

He commended journalists for their cooperation since the inception of his administration and urged them to continue to support the state.

The governor solicited objective reporting from the media, and pointed out that the curfew would enable the Joint Task Force (JTF) consolidate on the gains already recorded.

denker
Aug 20, 2007, 08:19 AM
N. Delta students condemn hostage taking, cult

EMMA OGU, Owerri


Niger Delta Students' Movement, umbrella body of students of the Niger Delta origin in tertiary institutions of higher learning across the country has condemned in its totality acts of cultism, hostage taking and militancy in the region, calling on government of Niger Delta States to take drastic steps to combat crimes in the area rather than making repeated public promises and plans without implementation.

The students in a release issued in Owerri at the weekend stated that they are tired of the rising numbers of innocent lives being wasted on daily basis on the streets of Port Harcourt and indeed the entire Niger Delta saying such make them to viewed as naturally violent and crisis prone people.

The statement signed by Philip Thomas, natonal president of the movement and Tamuno Mark, national secretary noted that the crisis in various states of the Niger Delta have continued to dampen the efforts of the students to paint positive image of themselves and their region within the academic world.

They further said that "the frequent distress caused "our parents" by these societal ills are major distraction to their daily income thereby militating against the effective financing of our education".

The student group pointed out that the perpetrators of the inhuman acts in the Niger Delta have established by their recent actions that they are not fighting for the emancipation of the region and have therefore lost the support and solidarity of students of Niger Delta and indeed the entire people of the region.

They stated clearly that the acts of kidnapping and hostage taking are acts of economic sabotage to Niger Delta region and indeed Nigeria, recklessly carried out for the purpose of self enrichment of the perpetrators and their cohorts and has nothing to do with freedom fighting nor demand for the infrastructural development of the Niger Delta region as evident in the huge ransoms demanded by those involved for the release of the hostages.

The concerned students further stated that who ever pays ransom to kidnappers and hostage takers instead of reprisal approaches encourages and abets such crimes.

Calling on the various state governments in the Niger Delta to rise to the challenges of safeguarding lives and properties in the region, the association specifically tasked Governor Celestine Omehia of Rivers state to see the security of lives and properties in his state as the most important task at hand as infrastructural and other forms of development will be meaningless if people do not go about their normal daily activities.

The movement also recommended that constituted organizations advocating for more development in the oil region should do so through peaceful and legal means and should support the government in her positive bid to stop the menace of cultism, hostage taking and street violence.

The group called on all Niger Delta students not to indulge in any form of violence or related crimes as such fellow will not be accorded the solidarity honour by the movement upon his or her death resulting from indulgence in such acts.

Abraxas
Aug 20, 2007, 09:17 AM
Civilian Death Toll High, Says M.E.N.D.

Source: ThisDay on-line (http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=86823); 20-August-2007

Spokesperson of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Jomo Gbomo has said that contrary to the much held view that most of the dead in the crack down on cultists and militants in Port Harcourt, Rivers State were cultists, the death toll was more of innocent civilian casualties.

It therefore dismissed the claim by the Joint Task Force that it had an upper hand against the cultists as it maintained the deaths resulted in the reckless shooting by the soldiers who did not care about the safety of people.Jomo who responded to questions from THISDAY also condemned the firing of a rocket at a hotel he said the military had suspected that Soboma George was and killing everybody inside without minding that it was a public place.

“What you have is the military’s version of events. Most of the dead are civilians who died as a result of reckless shooting by the military. As you know, the Nigerian military is poorly trained and highly indisciplined. That accounts for the alarming number of civilian casualties.

“The army fired rockets into a hotel where Soboma was suspected to be hiding, disregarding the safety of other guests. Soboma is alive and well and will speak whenever he chooses to”, he said. He however clarified that fighters of MEND did not take part in the fight in Port Harcourt and so may not be very detailed in information regarding what actually led to the problem which has caused the imposition of curfew in the State.

The crackdown by the military which sources said has made the cult leaders to plead for understanding and negotiation from their hidings has however not elicited any positive esponse from the agencies. It was gathered that some of the cult leaders have through their contacts in influential positions asked if there could be an understanding, adding that they were now ready for a true truce and reign of peace in the city.

It however appears that the state government and the security agencies are insisting that the party was over for all the cultists and militants with Governor Celestine Omehia saying that the stick side of the bargain was now a permanent solution. Omehia had in a chat with news men insisted that he would not compromise the peace of the state and has therefore decided to deal with the malaise once and for all, promising further that soldiers will stay in the streets of Port Harcourt for the next six months.

He had after announcing the curfew for one week later clarified that it would stay for 10 days in the interim before he decides on whether to extend it or not. The action which has seen combined team of soldiers, army, Navy and Air force cracking down on the cultists who had breached the peace of the State for almost two weeks patrolling with Hilux vans mounted with General Purpose Machine Guns round all the streets of the city.

The action has however brought life back to almost a state of normalcy in Port Harcourt and its environs as the trouble makers have allegedly fled into the creeks and other states in and outside Niger Delta. Meanwhile, an amalgam of civil society groups, “The Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC)” has blamed former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili for the carnage and said the only solution was to remove the government in the state and set up a new one through popular elections. Conducting another election which will be free and fair, they said, would produce people’s choice rather than those who ascended through intimidation. In the alternative, they are asking that courts and tribunals where political cases concerning Rivers State were pending should be given free hand to dispose of them in the interest of justice.The coalition's position which was contained in a statement titled “Until Odili’s tyranny of antiquity is removed, no viable solution will ensue in Rivers State” was signed by the its Chairman , Dr. Anyankwee Nsirimovu.

denker
Aug 20, 2007, 09:38 AM
Port Harcourt: Battle to arrest cult leader coming

From Clarice Azuatalam, Port Harcourt

ANOTHER battle is likely in Port Harcourt, the troubled oil city the military is striving to save from cultists.
The Army yesterday said if it was true suspected cult leader Soboma George was alive, it may launch another offensive to seize him.

Some reports last week said Soboma was killed in the clash between the military and cultists in the Rivers State capital; others said he escaped.

Last night, spokesman of the 2 Brigade, Port Harcourt, and the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Rivers State, Major Sagir Musa, disputed claims that Soboma had escaped.

Maj. Musa, who said it was not the army's style to disclose its tactics, vowed that no stone would be left unturned to get Soboma.

"Everything is under control and there is calm in Port Harcourt. Adequate arrangements, securitywise, have been made to ensure that any mayhem that is likely to arise as a result of his escape, if truly he escaped, will be effectively contained," Musa said.

On how the JTF, comprising Army, Navy and Air Force, Police and State Security Service (SSS), intends to do this, he said: "We don't disclose our tactics". A source said a fresh military action might be on the way.

The JTF, which is under the control of Brigadier-General Samuel Andrew Salihu, had last Thursday stormed the base of the Soboma-led cult group.

In the ensuing gun battle, no fewer than 32 suspected cultists were killed. Soboma was said to be among them.

But some newspapers reported at the weekend that Soboma was alive. He reportedly spoke to the papers from his hideout.

Yesterday, an uneasy calm pervaded Port Harcourt as people moved about in fear.

The metropolis was deserted as residents stayed indoors.

Battle-ready troops stopped and searched vehicles for arms. Passer-by raised their hands in the air as they moved past the troops.

Before last Thursday's operation, the JTF had declared Soboma and Tom Ateke, of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement wanted.

Tom is said to be living in his forest hide-out in Okirika Local Government Area of the state. This is the fourth time he has been declared wanted by security operatives.

Following Thursday's attack at Soboma's Marine Base, some of the residents have relocated to safer areas. They now stay with relatives and friends.

On Friday, Governor Celestine Omehia imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Port Harcourt. He said the curfew became necessary to enable the government consolidate on the gains of the military confrontation with the perpetrators of violence.

On Saturday, the three service chiefs, Lt. General Luka Yusuf (Army), Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye (Navy) and Air Marshal Paul Dike (Air Force), led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Owoeye Azazi, as well as the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IG) were in Port Harcourt for on-the-spot assessment.

The army also on Saturday displayed assorted arms and ammunition like General Purpose Machine Gun, rifles, dane guns, pistols, cartridges, dynamites, Ak-47 magazines and police bullet proofs which were recovered from the camps of the cultists during their confrontation with the soldiers.

Omehia gave an insight into why cultists have been terrorising the state.

Omehia said the cultists hitherto had a field day because of the failure of the government to clampdown on them.

"The failure of Rivers government to adopt a –carrot-and-stick approach, which is the standard practice in dealing with human beings, especially with subordinates, is the reason cultists persisted in disturbing the state for a long time," he said.

He said the cultists found strength with the "carrots without sticks" government offered them.

Omehia said all the carrots government fed the boys with previously failed to achieve the desired result. This, he said, was why the government decided to retrace its steps, adding, the decision to give them government's stance of giving them sticks now has made the cultists to flee the state.

Said the governor, "they ate all the carrots and never changed, and so now we will give them the stick, and that will be our position because what we want is permanent peace in the state."

Omehia told the residents not to be afraid of the military but to go about their lawful duties.

He said the ongoing clampdown on militants, cultists and other undesirable elements would continue until all suspected criminals were flushed out.

Omehia said it was the duty of government to put the recent happenings in the state in proper perspective and protect lives and property.

He said what government was doing was to sanitise the state as hoodlums constituted an insignificant percentage of the population.

The action, he explained, was to ensure that militancy was brought to an end because it had not only affected the economy of the state and the nation's but also become a source of concern.

To ensure that the criminals lived a normal life, he said his administration at inception drew up a rehabilitation programme, as well as offered them economic empowerment, education and employment opportunities.

"We have engaged the services of the churches, the media and traditional rulers. We also set up the Peace and Rehabilitation Committee to stop our brothers from being mischievous, and causing unnecessary trouble for the state", Omehia said.

http://www.thenationonlineng.com/dynamicdata/newsImages/Omehia%20Front.jpg

Abraxas
Aug 20, 2007, 10:49 AM
Rivers Of Blood: The Challenges Before Omehia.
By George Oraeki.
Source: Leadership Nigeia on-line.
(http://www.leadershipnigeria.com/product_info.php?products_id=11363)
In November 2002, former governor of Rivers State, Sir Peter Odili and the former minister of Transport, Abiye Sekibo imported arms and ammunitions into the city of Port Harcourt for the sole aim of ensuring their victory at the polls in the 2003 elections. The late Marshall Harry was the man of the moment in Rivers State politics who had what it takes to install a governor. He decamped from PDP to the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and was about giving the state another governor from the Ikwerre extraction in the person of Sergeant Awuse. Determined to hold on to power, Sir Peter Odili and his kitchen cabinet introduced cultism in Port Harcourt.

Odili recruited the services of Alhaji Asari Dokubo who formed the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF) with the initial aim of flushing out Marshall Harry's loyalists. It was Alhaji Asari Dokubo's camp that was allegedly hired by Odili to perfect the cold murder of Marshall Harry in Abuja shortly after their rally at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt in 2003.

Asari Dokubo's camp who did a good job by eliminating the Rivers State political guru was to pave way for the emergence of Sir Peter Odili as another icon and political bulldozer in the South South geopolitical zone, suddenly fell apart with his master whose desire was to short-change him.

As soon as Odili realised the dangers of his mistakes, he tried to pacify Dokubo using other financial inducements.

On realising the trap set for him by Sir Odili, Asari fled for safety into the creeks and later realised his mistakes of plotting the elimination of Marshal Harry, his fellow Ijaw man from Kalabari.

Asari Dokubo who later found his way to the creek haven Yenagoa, Bayelsa State joined Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha, the governor general of Ijaw nation who re-orientated him into the Niger Delta struggle for resource control.

Sir Peter Odili on realising that Asari Dokubo had gotten a new master in DSP Alamieyesiegha, supported by James Ibori of Delta State, quickly conscripted Tom Ateke who was made the chairman of Rivers State Vigilante Group and later the Niger Delta Vigilante was mandated to dislodge Asari Dokubo dead or alive.

In 2003/2004, Rivers State witnessed several deaths as numerous cult groups sprang up. These include the Bush boys, Degbam, Dewell, Islanders, Ateke boys, Asari boys etc. A total of 12 cult groups existed in Rivers State and had their patrons from government officials in Odili cabinet.

A special office was created at the Rivers State government house with the aim of empowering cult groups who were on the tail of Asari and his boys. Hundreds of millions of naira was expended to maintain these boys. It was then that guns were distributed to them to kill one another.

Initiation into these cults was carried out in the creeks where an intending cultist was made to eat human flesh and drink human blood.

Heinous fetish activities were experienced in Rivers State, then until the gang leaders, Asari Dokubo and Tom Ateke decided to declare war in Port Harcourt between themselves. In 2004, face-to-face gun duels amongst the various cult groups were experienced with the result that over 200 innocent people lost their lives through stray bullets. Death toll in Rivers State continued to rise and Rivers State was consequently branded as Rivers of blood.

The outcry by the international community and the federal government then made Sir Peter Odili to extend an olive branch of fellowship to Asari Dokubo and other aggrieved cultists to drop their weapons and accept to be disarmed.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on realising the dangers of Dokubo's outbursts called DSP Alamieyeseigha immediately and urged him to assist the federal government to invite Asari Dokubo to Abuja for a dialogue. Alamieyeseigha complied with the directive under the condition that Asari would not be arrested or detained.

The presidential dialogue was successful as Asari Dokubo accepted to relinquish his weapons but with monetary reward. About 1000 guns were returned to Bori camp Port Harcourt by Asari Dokubo under the supervision of Odili and other military personnel. Today Asari Dokubo, Tom Ateke and Sir Peter Odili have been emulated by other youths in the Niger Delta who see their actions as legitimate.

The legacy left by Odili as Rivers State governor, gave birth to militancy and hostage taking in the Niger Delta.

According to the leader and founder of the South South Youth Movement, Alhaji Musa Saidu, the Niger Delta crisis especially in Rivers State was escalated to this proportion during the regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, whose desire was for second and third term bids, when the boys were used for political gains.

Alhaji Musa Saidu who is also a chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and a staff of the Nigerian dredging company, Port Harcourt revealed that if former President Olusegun Obasanjo had followed the laid down rules of re-orientating the youths towards providing employment opportunities for them, the situation today could have been averted.

He called on Yar'Adua's administration to find a lasting solution to the Niger Delta problem by identifying the sponsors of these militants who are in government.

Alhaji Saidu explained that he warned Sir Peter Odili to desist from giving the youths guns.

He said, today the so-called militants were ready to make peace and lay down their arms.

"Some of us laid down rules on how to resolve the problems in the region, but the government of Odili and Obasanjo frustrated the efforts. They used the youths and dumped them," he said.

He maintained that Odili laid mines for his successor, Governor Omehia and that this was responsible for the explosion witnessed a fortnight ago in the streets of Port Harcourt where several northerners and innocent people lost their lives.

He urged Governor Omehia to apply wisdom in tackling the problems of militancy in Rivers State. Shedding more light on the recent upheavals in Port Harcourt recently, Alhaji Saidu disclosed that what triggered off the latest mayhem amongst the rival cult groups was the appointment of George Soboma as the new chairman of Rivers State Vigilante Group which excluded Tom Ateke the traditional leader of the vigilante group who hails from Okrika.

It is not yet uhuru for Gov. Omehia, now that in several quarters a state of emergency is being clamoured.

To complement the efforts of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in Port Harcourt the governor and the people should work hand in hand with security operatives to identify the locations of the cultists and ensure that they are tracked down.

Now that Soboma George has been killed by JTF members, other cultists should as a matter of urgency drop their guns and renounce cultism.

denker
Aug 20, 2007, 11:22 AM
Niger Delta: Army Recovers Arms Worth N5b=>source (http://www.leadershipnigeria.com/product_info.php?products_id=11339)

The success of the maximum military force used on the Niger Delta militants last week has led to the recovery of sophisticated assorted weapons valued at about N5 billion. This is coming on the heels of increased desperation of the Nigerian armed forces to mop up all the remaining arms in the possession of the militants which military sources put at an estimated value of N10 billion.

Already, the chief of army staff, Lt. Gen Luka Yusuf, was said to have paid an unscheduled visit to his men in Port Harcourt at the weekend to inspect some of the deadly weapons seized.

A top source at the Joint Military Task Force in Port Harcourt told our correspondent that the success of the military raid on the militant cult boys and the killing of one of its leaders, Soboma George, has built up confidence in the strategy of an effective military solution to the lingering and escalating crisis.

"Let me tell you, please in confidence, that our men and boys did a good job to have dislodged those boys. I can equally tell you, without mincing words that it would not have been easy if a military solution was not employed. The government could have wasted one hundred years seeking a diplomatic solution, through what they call dialogue. I am not saying that dialogue to solve a problem is out of place, but for a situation that clearly defies mere talk, I cannot imagine how long it could take to restore normalcy to the area. We in the military know that we are equal to the task, except that we don't want to shed blood. But the boys provoked the situation, and see what happened", the soldier said.

According to him, "You will be shocked at the quality and quantity of arms and ammunition we and the police recovered from the cultists and the militants. It could be within the range of N5 billion and above. Besides, we still believe strongly that what is still on ground illegally in the hands of the boys may be larger, may be double what has been exposed. Arms like machine guns, high calibre assaut rifles were and are still in the possession of the boys", he added.

He said the arms would be destroyed in line with convention regarding the interception or arrest of weapons from rebels or militants.

The officer confirmed that Lt Gen Luka Yusuf was in Port Harcourt on Saturday to inspect and take stock of the arms.

When contacted for comments, the director of army public relations, Col. Olaniyan Ayo, said he was away to Lagos and so did not know whether his boss traveled to Port Harcourt.

Pressed further on whether the arms recovered would be destroyed, he pleaded with our correspondent to call back as he said he was in a meeting. But when our correspondent tried 30 minutes later, his cell phone was switched off.

On insinuations that the boys use mystic powers which makes them "bullet proof, the source, who remained anonymous, laughed, saying, "But you heard or watched what happened. That is totally false and only an imagination aimed at instilling fear in the minds and psyche of security agents. With their juju we shelled them down, and most of them who also believed in the theory ran away after sensing danger. We are doing our work with all sincerity of national purpose, and nothing like that can stop us from succeeding".

It could be recalled that the garden city of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, last week witnessed a bloodbath when rival cult groups took the state hostage, killing and maiming innocent residents, both in the day and night. The situation had graduated from a genuine agitation over resource control to that of militancy, which resulted in hostage taking and kidnapping in exchange for money.

As the militants intensified their rascalism, government on its part wanted a peaceful political resolution without having to use the military. Government's interim position must have emboldened the militants to move to the city centres, making nonsense of democratically constituted authorities to achieve their aim rudelessly.

They were, however, matched by a superior fire power of the combined force of the Nigeria security apparatus.

denker
Aug 22, 2007, 09:35 AM
Omehia accuses Ijaw elders of sponsoring violence ===>source (http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article05)
Orders mass demolition of suspected hideouts

Police doubt report of Soboma's death
From Kelvin Ebiri and RoseAnn Chikereuba, Port Harcourt
RIVERS State Governor, Celestine Omehia yesterday condemned the call by some Ijaw elders for emergency rule in the state, accusing them of sponsoring youth unrest in the Niger Delta region.

Omehia has also ordered the demolition of thousands of houses along the waterfronts in Port Harcourt, the state capital, as part of efforts to rid the city of gang members.

Meanwhile, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Phelix Ogbaudu, has expressed doubts over claims that wanted militia leader, Soboma George is dead. The Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday extended its raid of suspected cult members, who have in the last week thrown the state into turmoil, to Okrika community.

Addressing a meeting of Rivers State stakeholders on the recent spate of unrest that had culminated in the declaration of a one-week curfew in Port Harcourt and its environs, Omehia yesterday expressed regrets that the security measures taken so far were not being appreciated by some Ijaw elders within and outside the state who had selfish goals.

Omehia said: "Some people from Rivers State and some from outside Rivers State who wanted to control Rivers State from their state where criminality is worse, decided to hold a meeting in Lagos, calling on the Federal Government to declare state of emergency in Rivers State."

He continued: "Those people are enemies of Rivers State. They are the sponsors of the criminal activities in Rivers State. Any person who believes that we should not end the criminal activities going on in Rivers State does not mean well for all of us."

The governor urged the presidency and federal agencies to ignore the call by the Ijaw elders and focus the enhancement of the security situation in the state.

Some Ijaw elders, led by Chief Edwin Clark had on Monday asked the Federal Government to declare emergency rule in Rivers State and after six months, conduct a free and fair gubernatorial election for the people to pick an acceptable governor.

Omehia said on the assumption of office in May, that he had set up the peace and reconciliation committee primarily to rehabilitate and economically empower youths involved in militancy and hostage taking, but this gesture was rebuffed by those whose activities had continued to dent the image of the state locally and internationally.

He said: "The miscreants, criminals, I won't call them the militants, decided to shoot sporadically all over the place including the front of the Government House, took over the streets of Port Harcourt and all they were asking for was give us money."

The governor said the miscreants had sponsors outside the state who want to sustain their loot for their own benefit. Omehia noted that to check the menace, he contacted the Federal Government, which directed the Chief of Defense Staff and the Acting Inspector General of Police to visit the state.

Omehia described the attack on Port Harcourt by the miscreants penultimate Saturday while the two security chiefs were in the city as disrespect to government and the highest level of lawlessness by persons who were not legally qualified to carry arms.

The governor, who explained that the recent disturbances had led to the deployment of soldiers in the state, noted that while this might seem unusual and improper, it was the only viable option to rid the state of miscreants.

On the curfew declared last Friday, the governor said it might be extended by additional three days depending on the progress made by the security agencies in their effort to rid the state of those behind the recent disturbances which has claimed over 70 lives.

Omehia said the fight against criminal activities in the state would not end if the government did not immediately embark on its plan to clear urban slums. To that effect, he declared that the demolition of slums along the waterfronts would begin between now and December.

The affected slums include Aggrey, Ndoki, Marine Base, Bundu, Nembe, Belle, Bonny waterfronts. Others are Abuja/Prisons, Reclamation, Borokiri, Elechi, Afikpo, Timber, Abonnema Wharf, Okirika, Captain Amagala, Dockyard Creek, Rex Lawson, Enugu, Ojike and Abba waterfronts.

The Amanyanabo of Grand Bonny Kingdom and Chairman, Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, King Edward Asimini Dappa William Pepple said the people were in complete support of the government's efforts to secure lives and property.

The Eze Gbakagbaka of Evo Kingdom, Frank Eke assured Omehia of the support of the people of the state in the efforts to end cultism and militancy.

The Amanyanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus Princewill described the imposition of curfew in the state as a welcome development and suggested that whatever action was being taken to restore peace to the state should also be extended to the rural communities.

The Oba of Ogbaland, Chukwumela Nnam Obi II, commended Omehia for his maturity in handling the situation, saying that the governor's action had rekindled hope in the people of his capacity to lead the state to greater heights.

Ogbaudu yesterday confirmed that George is alive.

The Commissioner of Police disclosed in Port Harcourt that contrary to speculations, George was not killed during a raid last Thursday by the JTF on a hotel the gang leader was presumed to be taking refuge in.

Ogbaudu said there was no evidence presently to ascertain the veracity of the claim that George was killed during the raid. He explained that some persons who know the warlord had confirmed to him that he (George) was still alive.

The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, had last weekend said a deoxyrabonucleic (DNA) would be conducted on the dead bodies recovered from Iyala Hotel to ascertain if Soboma was among the victims.

Spokesperson for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Gbomo Jomo, who condemned the attempt on the life of George, at the weekend reaffirmed that he was alive.

Meanwhile, the JTF has intensified its search for suspected perpetrators of the recent disturbances in the state. Sources disclosed to The Guardian that the soldiers in the early hours of yesterday raided Okochiri-Okrika which is the home of the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Ateke Tom.

The JTF raided the hotel where one of the leaders of the groups which signed a peace deal with Ateke was suspected to be residing but narrowly missed him.

The Guardian learnt that the JTF seized a sports utility van (SUV) and other items belonging to the militia leader who has since renounced violence. It was learnt that he was targeted by the JTF, which believed that he would have led them to Ateke's hideout.

However, the leader of the Niger Delta Solidarity Front, Mr. Abiye Abaku, which is one of the groups that signed the Okirka peace agreement last month, has distanced himself from the recent crisis in the state.

Abaku, who described himself as a freedom fighter, said he renounced all forms of violence during the peace brokered by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004 between Mujahid Dokubo-Asari and Ateke Tom.

Abaku, who was a former member of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), described as disturbing the allegation by the Commander of the JTF, Brig.-Gen. Samuel Salihu, that the Okrika peace deal was aimed at getting a common front to attack Soboma.

Son of the Delta
Aug 22, 2007, 06:04 PM
SOURCE:http://www.thephctelegraph.com


The Odili years of…
Blood, tears and sorrow
By Elem Kash




May 29 2007, Governor Peter Odili drove in a motorcade under tight security to the Liberation Stadium at Elekahia.
It was his last day in power and a day that his carefully chosen successor would be sworn in.
Moments later, it was all over. Omehia took the oath of office, swearing to protect lives and property and promising to take the state to the next level of development.
About one hundred days to go in office, Omehia has had very little rest. The reason is simple. In the last eight years, Rivers State has turned into a land flowing with blood, tears and sorrow. A land governed by an iron fist and a land ruled by terror.
In eight years, so many guns despite official denials had made their way into the state.
Omehia may not have known how bad the situation was until the first sign of trouble emerged.
He had vowed to stamp out cultism in his maiden address, but insiders tell us that the governor was later to get a clearer picture of the security threats facing his administration from the cults which in eight years have consolidated.
Odili had come to power in 1999 on the back of notable elders of the state who preferred him to Chief Ebenezer Isokrari.
Incidentally, Odili had been a member of the APP now ANPP before he was drafted to the Peoples Democratic Party.
He was packaged as 'God sent', with Christians drafted to watch and pray lest the devil take control of state apparatus.
No one could tell who the devil was, but some how the campaign that Odili was a lesser evil made the rounds.
Insiders affirm that it was Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, Chief Victor Odili, the Onwa of Ndoni and Chief Marshal Sokari Harry who were the driving forces and the ones Peter Odili clung to until he realized his ambition.
Soon after Odili's victory, things began to fall apart between the elders of the party and the governor.
Marshal Harry had worked tirelessly to ensure Odili became governor, including doing what he did to sideline Chief Sergeant Awuse who was equally a strong contender for the governorship.
When his tenure expired, he was not encouraged to run another tenure. Rather, Harry was encouraged to take up the position of the national vice chairman, South-South.
By the time he knew the entire thing had been a plot to get him out of the way, according to what we have found, it was too late.
The coming of Prince Uche secondus as chairman was hailed by Odili and his supporters. Odili personally described him as the "chairman we want", the day he was sworn in.
Harry bore his pain well, said nothing but there were other matters that he could not simply ignore, matters that bothered on how state funds were spent and what he perceived then as the rise of the state of insecurity.
Harry was not the only one who was frightened by the turn of events. Most Rivers people looked on in unbelief.
For some strange reasons, communal feuds, or feuds that were meant to look like that began to rear their heads everywhere in a state that had been peaceful for several years as calls by an army of supporters for a second tenure grew in intensity.
Nobody could explain what was going on, but gradually Abua/Odual, Okrika and the entire Kalabari kingdom fell under a spell of violence, that some suspected strongly was state inspired.
Then the killings of innocent Rivers people, especially youths began to soar.
In no time, several communities in a state in which security votes ran into billions became destroyed while citizens of the state were chased out of their communities under the watchful eyes of government.
Chief Ada George, a former governor of Rivers State and an eminent citizen remains one of those chased out of his own state.
Among communities felled by the violence which grew under the Odili administration were Okuru, Ke, Abua and Ogu. Soon, Buguma, Tombia, Bakana and others joined the list of communities destroyed, but the Odili administration did nothing
On the 19th of August 2001 a lawmaker representing Khana Local Government, Monday Ndor was murdered in his house in cold blood.
He was hit by a gang which came in a white Mercedes 190 V-boot. His killers were never found.
On November 15th 2001, Dr Marshal Harry wrote to Governor Peter Odili saying, "through my active instrumentality, you became the sole gubernatorial candidate of the party against all odds.
"We mistakenly thought then there could be no better option. I also thought I found in you a man who was God fearing, kind and humane and ready to move our state to greatness.
Harry lamented that after two years in office Odili had derailed and left the path that stakeholders agreed on through the Elders Council and Blueprint Committee.
Said Harry, "The vogue now in your circle are loud orchestrations of your second term with the attendant whirlwind of insecurity of life and property and general instability blowing all over the State.
"Hundreds of innocent people are dying by the week and precious properties of inestimable value are being destroyed in all parts of Rivers State as a result of what appears to be mindless state-sponsored terrorism.
"And all these follow a peculiar pattern easily suggestive of a deliberate intention to suppress opposition
"But it is surprising and highly irritating that you don't seem not to be bothered by this sad and horrifying trend of insecurity in the state.
"Ironically, the once liberated, self reliant and proud Rivers people now live in fear of a new socio-political, economic and ideological bondage."
Harry may have said what he thought, but he was not aware at the time, according to some insiders who spoke to us that the plan for a new leadership and a polity dynasty in which Odili would be the lone kingpin was in the works.
"We had to achieve our purpose first by removing Harry from the control of party machinery and go ahead to neutralize others like him who did not see it our way", one source who was in but who feels betrayed revealed.
"Odili didn't like those who kept reminding him they had a role in bringing him on board and so a stake in whatever he does. That was the failing of Harry, Alabo and the rest", the source further stressed.
Harry eventually apologized to Rivers people for his mistake.
He said his action had led to the death of innocent people and the disruption of the life of Rivers people.
Defending his position on issues of state, Harry told Odili in his now famous letter, "I say all this not because I hate you, but because I feel the pains of our suffering Rivers people who like orphans hoped for a rescue from you. And being one of the hands that brought you into this position, I feel guilty as though I have brought destruction to the people.
"It is sad indeed that you seem to be ruling our people like a dictator."
While the show down with Harry raged, things were equally no longer at ease between Odili and Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas who had emerged Minister.
At a public function attended by President Olusegun Obasanjo, Odili handed down a gratuitous insult to Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, literarily shutting him up and dismissing his assertion he helped to make him governor.
Thereafter, Chibudom Nwuche, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives as he then was became the target of the governor and his men.
Chibudom survived an attempt to impeach him and pointed accusing fingers at his own state governor, Governor Peter Odili.
The Onwa of Ndoni had always supported Odili's political growth.
Onwa, it is widely believed had told Chief Rufus Ada George who was hesitant to adopt Odili as his d eputy in the NRC that except he took him on, he would not bankroll his campaign effort.
Ada George did and the Onwa of Ndoni and one-time senator rolled out the tanks in support, providing we are told about N15 million naira at the time.
But for insisting Odili should stand by agreements that he entered with his associates in the PDP, he too fell out of favour.
While these were playing out, the 2003 elections were fast approaching. The resultant effect was that there was a groundswell of opposition from within his own party, PDP.
This would pave the way for the birth of the Rivers Democratic Movement under which many Rivers people who genuinely wanted change rallied.
By 2002 Harry had began to receive death threats and he said so in the open.
But Augustine Nwikinaka, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Odili in his first four years denied any plan like that.
Nwikinaka who spoke to the South South Express now defunct remarked, "It is a lie, my boss is not so cheap to descend to that level. "
He went on, "He is not made of that stuff. He is not afraid of his opponent or enemies, if there are any
"He strongly believes that if he is to remain the governor come 2003, it is only the Almighty God who can determine that."
Was God allowed to grant Odili and the PDP victory in 2003? Not many would agree with that.
Chief Berkinbo Soberekon had a close shave with death. As he made to enter his house in GRA, gunmen launched an attack on him. He was lucky.
Chief Jene Braide on his way back from Eleme where had gone to sensitize the people against Odili under the RDM banner met with an accident. Braide still maintains that the vehicle that nearly ended his life was painted in military colours.
For months, he lost his memory and the power of speech.
Before the elections were held, Dr Marshal Harry was trailed to his house in Abuja and murdered in cold blood.
To this day, his killers have not been found.
Thereafter, Chief Sergeant Awuse who got the ticket to run against Odili on the platform of the ANPP himself escaped death.
First, the boat with which he traveled to Andoni was capsized in a somewhat mysterious manner.
Awude survived. But it was in Bakana that Awuse had the experience of a life time.
Many of those who followed him there were slaughtered like ram. Awuse recalls watching the scene from the boat in which he was, his only saviour being that security men around him who spirited him to safety.
After the 2003 elections, Chief A.K Dikibo who succeeded Marshal Harry as the National Vice Chairman also lost his life.
He was killed by assassins on his way to Delta State. Like Harry, his killers have not been found.
An angry national party chairman of the PDP, Audu Ogbeh arrived for his burial and thundered, "the killers of Dikibo are here in this church"
On one occasion when officials of the judiciary went for service at the St. Cyprian's Church along Hospital Road, Bishop Gabriel Pepple looked at dignitaries who had come including the governor of Rivers State, members of his cabinet and the Chief Justice of the federation in the face and said people whose hands were dipped in blood were in the gathering.
It was an embarrassing situation, but he spoke the minds of several persons who have come to share the notion that insecurity has become the order of the day.
Many Rivers people wonder why there are attempts to hide the basic facts surrounding the ascendency in cult matters by some spin doctors.
In a recent interview granted by Ateke Tom and Soboma George to the Sun newspapers, the duo held that they helped the PDP win elections in 2003 and 2007.
Apparently, these men joined the PDP but as some sources claim, they were recreated and sent on violent course. Who turned them into violent men and why?
They were equally used and dumped? Who or what institution did?
Professor Tam David-West and Chief Asari Dokubo put the entire blame on Odili, accusing him and Obasanjo of being the brains behind the unrest in Rivers State and by extension in the Niger Delta region.
David-West asked last week why militancy did not exist until Odili and Obasanjo came to power at both the state and national levels.
Asari blamed Odili in a recent letter to Rivers people for the destruction not just of lives and property but of whole communities.
Never in the history of the Rivers people have they witnessed such carnage, such high profile intimidation and so much deaths, some of them unresolved to this day.But in the last eight years, many agree, death was always a constant companion in the villages and in the township, the worth of life reduced to nothingness and the people made to cower in fear.
In its first outing the Insider Magazine aptly captured the existing situation in Rivers State between 1999 and 2003 when it published a story captioned, "Odili's Many Rivers of Blood" which made the cover.
It was a shocking revelation of a state under siege and state soaked by the blood of the innocent halted in mid-flight that are calling for justice, the tears of the oppressed and the sorrow of the disappointed ones who had expected something better under the Odili regime.
Now, there is an attempt to create the impression all has been well but as Rivers people say, those who want to deceive them won't succeed.
They say they know their problem began eight years ago.






.


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Son of the Delta
Aug 22, 2007, 07:38 PM
P’Harcourt’s Bloody Week (2)
PRINT THIS MOST POPULAR PDF VERSION



August 16th, 2007



By Soni Daniel Bureau Chief, Port Harcourt

•Continued from yesterday

Ateke is particularly said to be displeased with the allocation of one of the pumps at the NNPC Mega Station to Soboma and his boys.

It was learnt that the allocation of the pump had given so much money to the Soboma group to the detriment of the Ateke group. The mega station was one of the vital public infrastructure destroyed with dynamite last Saturday.

Soboma is also said to have taken over the control of the NPA in Port Harcourt, Bundu and Nembe waterfronts, which are thriving oil bunkering and drug routes.

Ateke has, however, dispelled insinuations that he was involved in the current attacks in the state, describing the allegations as the handiwork of his enemies.

In a telephone interview, Ateke’s spokesman, Richard Ake, said that Ateke was not interested in fighting anyone or group, having made peace in Okrika with all the militant groups last month.

Ake pointed out that security agents should look for those causing mayhem in the state and bring them to book instead of suspecting innocent persons because of their past actions.

His words: "We have opted for peace and there is no going back. We of the NDVM are not involved in the current violence that is rocking the state."

But a source close to Soboma, also denied involvement in the ongoing onslaught in the state. The source said that it was the remnants of one Prince Igodo, a notorious militant and kidnapper, who was killed last June that were attacking those suspected to have had a hand in the killing of the Ogbakiri-based militia kingpin.
Another source blamed the senseless killings in the state on a group loyal to one Farah, a leading militant figure, who is yet to be given any recognition by the government.

A source hinted that the group was angry that neither the Federal Government nor the Rivers State government had given it any recognition as others.

It said that the attacks were masterminded with a view to forcing the authorities to pay attention to the Farah boys.
Whatever the motive of the fighting could be, it is the ordinary citizen that is paying most for it.

With the streets of Port Harcourt deserted and the markets closed, the average person who moves round to make ends meet is left at the mercy of hunger and starvation.

Taxi and bus operators who daily fend for themselves by ferrying passengers, the beans-cake maker, the ‘mama-put’ seller’, the ‘pure-water vendor and the newspaper boys have been shut in through no fault of theirs.

The women who daily go to Oyigbo and Umuchem to fetch fresh corn, vegetables, okro and garri are now left at the mercy of menacing gunmen, whose income from ceaseless and flourishing oil bunkering, bank robberies and high ransom for hostage taking continues to stream in effortlessly on a daily basis.

Nene Oguwi, a housewife who goes to one of the Kalabari villages to buy banana to sell in Port Harcourt, says the state government should at least make it possible for the poor people to have peace and be able to sleep at night.

The struggling woman, who has been selling banana in her house in Port Harcourt for over 30 years to train her seven children in the university, said that it would be disastrous for the government to allow militias to drive away the people from the streets of Port Harcourt because of their selfish interest.

"We have no place to run to if we cannot sleep in our house in Port Harcourt. The reason is that our own village near one of the creeks has been taken over by these militants boys. We dare not go there to avoid being killed."

A newspaper distributor, who has been selling in Port Harcourt since 1999, lamented that he had lost most of his clients as a result of the high level of insecurity in the state for sometime.

"I lost most of these big men because I have not been able to go and supply them due to these attacks on the road", Emmanuel John said.

Emma Okah, Rivers State Commissioner for Information, says the state government is tackling the problem headlong and would not allow it to affect the economy of the state.

Okah said the state had already made its position clear that it had nothing to do with any of the cults groups in the state.

"What the government is doing is to set up a committee to rehabilitate repentant cultists and militants and nothing more. This administration has no deal with any of the militant groups and will never have anything to do with them."

The atrocities of the militants appear to have angered the Federal Government and it is taking steps to check them.

Last Saturday, President Umaru Yar’Adua dispatched the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Andrew Azazi, and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, to Port Harcourt to fish out the troublemakers and restore peace there.

An angry Okiro said after a meeting with Governor Celestine Omehia and security heads in the state that the government was set to battle the rag-tag fighters and flush them out of the state.

Okiro declared: "We want to confront these hoodlums head on. On the lawlessness we see in Port Harcourt, we are here to make sure that it is stopped.

"The mere fact that we are here should tell you that the Federal Government has already taken action."

While the hoodlums took time to maim, kill and smile away, the frightened residents of Port Harcourt recoiled to their shell wondering when the streets would be safe for them to return and resume their daily chores for their daily bread.

The scars of the war of attrition will remain for a long time to come especially for families whose loved ones have either been killed or wounded and those whose means of livelihood has been shattered by the undeclared but raging war of Port Harcourt. Never in the history of the 40-year-old state has it been so bad for its residents.

Even with the cult rivalry that raged between the supporters of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo and Ateke Tom in 2004, the fighters identified their opponents and went after them thus avoiding the spilling of innocent blood. Those who were slain during that fight knew why they were killed and who their attackers were. In the war that rocked Port Harcourt last week, neither the combatants identified their targets nor went after any particular group. They simply released their volley of bullets randomly like evil forces pursued by demons and ended up killing the wrong persons and creating problems for families and their loved ones.

Living and working in Port Harcourt in the last one week was like attempting to settle in hell. Fire from dynamite was burning in some places while dead bodies spewed some streets. In other places, the wounded, widows and widowers as well as their children dotted the arena weeping profusely all because the emergence a band of criminals masking under the banner of freedom fighters but merely working to keep their ‘territories’ which are fast being ‘encroached’ upon by emerging and more powerful cult and gang leaders. It was really a week of sorrow, tears and blood.


Is Henry Okah of Odili`s MEND not the same Emma Okah who happens to be Omehia`s commisioner of information.You can decieve some but that will not last forever.

Abraxas
Aug 23, 2007, 07:33 AM
PH Residents Want Soldiers' Activities Monitored.

THE army has been urged to set up a team to monitor the activities of soldiers deployed to the streets in Port Harcourt to enforce peace. Most residents who decried the conducts of the soldiers said they had started molesting and harassing lawful and responsible residents.

At press time some pedestrians were seen rolling in gutters at the instance of the soldiers. And the soldiers were also seen forcefully extorting money from commercial vehicles drivers on the roads. Those who spoke said since there was no emergency rule in the state there was need for the soldiers to respect the dignity of man.

At the time of filling this report about seven able bodied young men were tied to one of the trenches erected by the soldiers very close to the Mile one market. Vanguard check revealed they had been in that state since morning. Their offences could not be confirmed.

The soldiers in recent time had been compelling some pedestrian youths to remove their tops and they check their bodies for tattoos or any alleged cult marks or incision. The unlucky youths would be marched into their vehicles after severe beatings.

Meanwhile, as a lasting solution to the problems of militancy in the state, the state governor Celestine Omehia has vowed to flush out slum settlements in the state capital and replace them with six thousand housing units. The governor of the state said that without demolishing the water fronts, the crusade against militancy and cultism in the state would not be too successful. According to him, because of the nature of these shanties they serve as good hide out for the miscreants.

The governor also said the crusade would not just end in the state capital as he had concluded arrangements to take the fight to the rural areas where most of the brigands run to after wrecking havoc in the state capital.

The governor regretted the negative image the activities of the cultists had brought the state. He dismissed claims in some quarters that his administration was working with any of the cult groups. Continuing, he said any Caretaker Committee Chairman in the state found to be using unconventional security would be shown the way out.

denker
Aug 24, 2007, 06:09 PM
US soldiers may join JTF
• Situation under control - Okiro


By SULAYMAN OKARA


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BARELY hours after it confirmed fresh threats by Niger Delta militants to blow up oil installations in the region, the United States' Defence Headquarters, the Pentagon, may have discreetly ordered its soldiers, already stationed in the Gulf of Guinea, to close in on the Nigerian troubled zone and assist the Police/ Military Join Task Force (JTF) in quelling the raging mayhem.

But the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, who flew into Port-Harcourt with the Chief of Defence Staff, General Andrew Owoye Azazi, over the weekend, insisted that the situation, which has claimed over 50 lives, was under control and that the JTF was equal to the task.

The signal from Pentagon, according to top security sources, directed the commanders of the US forces in the Gulf of Guinea, to monitor closely the bloody clashes in Port-Harcourt, especially the way the Nigerian task force is handling the situation and remain on red alert for the final orders.

Representatives of US forces, National Daily learnt, had earlier held top security meeting with the sacked Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director, Funsho Kupolokun, and the governors of Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Cross-River, and Akwa-Ibom states with a select top military officers in Europe to discuss the growing tension in the region.

Sources privy to the meeting disclosed that the stand of American representatives was that the country would not fold its arms and watch militants ruin the country's multi-billion dollar investments in the country.

So, when the recent shootings escalated late last week, American forces quickly prepared to join the JTF.
It would be recalled that sometime in February this year, the Pentagon announced that it would set up a new African Command. Before the announcement, America had a handful of "combatant commands in the continent."

Observers described the development then as an indication of renewed interests in the region. For the oil-rich country like Nigeria, the presence of American soldiers in the Gulf of Guinea was described as 'a signal that US may have resolved to protect its economic interests in the country.'

Announcing African Command (AFRICOM) in February 2007, Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, had explained that the previous arrangement -- which had Africa under the shared auspices of the Pentagon's European, Central, and Pacific commands -- was an "outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War." AFRICOM,' he said, would "oversee security cooperation, building partnership capability, defence support to non-military missions, and, if directed, military operations on the African continent."

The world media did not waste time then before identifying American economic interest in the new policy.

Simon Tisdall, for example, analysing the situation, described the development thus: "With Gulf of Guinea, countries including Nigeria and Angola projected to provide a quarter of US oil imports within a decade, with Islamist terrorism worries in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, and with China prowling for resources and markets, the US plainly feels a second wind of change is blowing, necessitating increased leverage."

In a Right Web piece, republished by TomPaine.com, C. Hallinan noted then that 'the National Energy Policy Development Group estimates that a quarter of all US oil imports would come from Africa by the year 2015. Given the fact that China, India, and other energy-seeking countries are already investing heavily in Africa, the stage is set for a resource race across the continent,' he said.

The crisis in the Niger-Delta region, which has witnessed repeated cases of kidnapping of foreign oil workers, sporadic shootings and explosions, peaked last week when consistent shooting, allegedly by cultists, lasted for over six days, leaving over 50 people officially confirmed dead and Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, in total disarray.

Some of the killers, according to eyewitnesses, wore army camouflage and white canvas, while their colleagues were in Mobile Police (MOPOL) uniform. Carrying AK 47, dynamite, pump-action rifles and military (gun) rifle, they were said to have displayed no fear of possible arrest as they shot their way through the streets of Port-Harcourt, leaving on their trail, blood, destruction of choice properties and tears.

By Saturday night, about nine fuel pumps at the NNPC mega filling station had already been blown up. The office of the state radio corporation, Radio Rivers 2, was also destroyed. The building was reportedly riddled with bullets as dynamites were freely detonated.

Meanwhile, an attempt by officers of JTF to kill a well-known warlord, Soboma George, whose men were blamed for escalating violence in Port Harcourt, is said to have failed as he reportedly escaped unhurt from his hotel room. However, a number of people including innocent hotel guests died in the raid.
Although earlier reports said Soboma George was suspected to have been killed, in that surprise raid, MEND spokesman, Jomo Gbomo later reported that George is "alive and well."

Acting on a tip-off, the Joint Task Force had invaded a guest house where George was staying and fired rockets into his room. A source at the hotel said that "George escaped but some of his men and hotel guests were killed in the attack."
The Joint Task Force launched a dawn raid on several criminal hide-outs after six days of street battles between rival gangs last week, and the gangs responded by staging an armed assault in the streets of Port-Harcourt.

"It is mayhem here. There is a gun battle outside government house right now," said a private security source, as the raid was still going on.
Two rival militia leaders, Ateke Tom and Soboma George, have been officially blamed for last week's fighting. But human rights activists have argued that these men were at various times sponsored by politicians, who used them to rig elections or scare opponents.

Tom and George used to be part of the same group until they fell out and George joined a faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), one of the more active rebel groups in the delta. It was these rival groups that were blamed for the latest Port-Harcourt mayhem
The open attack forced a lot of residents, who could, to flee the city, leading to calls by some observers, for a declaration of a state of emergency in the oil-rich state. But reports confirm that the JTF has done so much to restore normalcy as security around Governor Celestine Omeihe and the Government Reserved Area, which leads to the residence of the former governor, Dr Peter Odili, have been beefed up with well armed soldiers.

The IGP, Mr. Okiro, also said the Joint Task Force, made up of the police, army, and navy, had been strengthened to address the situation. 'Lawlessness will no longer be allowed in Port Harcourt. I don't agree that an emergency rule be declared. It is an internal cult war. And the JTF is confronting them. The Federal Government is taking action," he stated.

Most of the few Nigerians aware of American readiness to send soldiers to the Niger Delta region have condemned the move, maintaining that Nigeria should not be another Iraq. 'The worst that can happen is what the Federal Government has done. It would amount to an insult to insinuate by such a suggestion, that Nigerian army, navy and police would be overpowered by Niger Delta militants. Even if that is the situation, I do not think we want Americans to come and shoot us here,' said Chief Frank Umeh, a Petroleum Consultant in Port-Harcourt.

Crisis Group in its recent report said that the demands from militants have included the creation of additional states for Ijaws, amenities and jobs for rural communities, contracts and oil concessions for faction leaders and even calls for independence. The spokesman for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the most vocal and best organised of the militant organisations to emerge in 2006, however said his group's goal was to achieve resource control concessions or wreak "anarchy."

As all parties strive to resolve the crisis, observers say 'resolving the Niger Delta crisis will require far greater commitment on the part of the federal government and corporate stakeholders in ensuring the oil industry operates fairly and transparently in the region, with visible benefits to the local population, adding that 'without serious and sustainable reforms, all parties stand to lose.'

Abraxas
Aug 24, 2007, 11:20 PM
Behind Calls For State Of Emergency In Rivers
By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt.

Source: The Guardian Newspaper on-line; 24-August-2007
(http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/policy_politics/article01)
THE caution by some Ijaw elders that there would be political instability in Rivers State unless the circumstances surrounding the emergence of Celestine Omehia as governor were resolved may not have been taken seriously by the powers that be both in the state and outside.

At last December's governorship primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), four out of the eight candidates cleared to contest, namely Senator Martyns Yellowe, Dumo Lulu Briggs, Samuel Pawariso Horsfall and David Briggs were of Ijaw extraction.

Before the primaries, the Ijaw aspirants led by Senator Yellowe staged a walk out. Yellowe had emerged second behind the former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Chibuike Amaechi.

According to him, "the governor (Peter Odili) was said to have decreed that Amaechi is his candidate. Now we are seven of us here and we are protesting that we will rather have a level playing field and lose than this kangaroo kind of election. We would not accept it and we are walking out in protest."

A pro-Ijaw political group, the Rivers State Ijaw Consultative Assembly (RICA) condemned the conduct of the primaries in strong terms and rejected the result by calling for fresh polls.

Expectations among the Ijaw became high during the flag off of the PDP presidential campaign in January when former President Olusegun Obasanjo said that the party's governorship ticket (Amaechi) had a K-leg. They had assumed that since Yellowe came second, the ticket would be given to him.

They were wrong. A few days after the party announced Celestine Omehia, from the Ikwerre ethnic group as the governorship candidate. Omehia, then was a Special Adviser to Odili on inter-religious and administrative matters, was never in consideration, as he did not contest the primaries.

The RICA, which like other Ijaw groups had anticipated the emergence of an Ijaw aspirant, rejected the nomination. The chairman and secretary of RICA, Nemi Adoki and Sotonye Ijuye-Dagogo respectively, argued that with the disqualification of Amaechi, Yellowe should have been the logical replacement or alternatively, any of the aspirants that were cleared for the primary.

RICA cited the case of Bayelsa State, where Dr. Bola Igali, was dropped for Mr. Timipri Sylva, who came second at the primary. RICA argued that Igali was dropped on the ground that he did not go through the due process of nomination and party primaries.

The aggrieved Ijaw were of the view that the imposition of Omehia is shrouded in mystery, foul play and corruption because he was until his selection by a serving political appointee of the state government and did not resign his appointment three months prior to his nomination as required. RICA urged the PDP not to condone what it described as an act of political fraud.

The group argued that it would be fair, just and equitable if the next governor of Rivers should be a riverine Ijaw. It hinged the stability of the state on the upholding of the principle of power rotation between the upland area and their riverine counterparts.

The allocation of the position Speaker of the state House of Assembly to the Ijaw did not douse their political aspiration. And on Monday, the Ijaw under the aegis Niger Delta Ijaw Elders and Leaders Forum, decided to break their silence that has been maintained by groups like RICA since the emergence of Omehia as governor.

Ijaw elders led Chief Edwin Clark, at a press conference prayed the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Rivers and after six months, conduct a free and fair election for the people to pick an acceptable governor.

Ijaw leaders present at the briefing included, former Aviation Minister, Alabo Graham Douglas, Chief Albert K Horsfall, former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr. Chamberlain Oyibo; Air Vice Marshal Mbu (rtd.), Admiral Bob Manuel (rtd.); Prof. Princewill, Prof. Don Pedro, Chief Francis Doukpoulagha Mr. Edward Akpangbo among others.

The Ijaw leaders reviewed the political situation in Rivers since 1999 and accused most politicians in PDP of being members of secret cults and bemoaned the party's decision not to heed the advice of the State Security Service (SSS) to stop them from holding power in government.

They urged the Federal Government to set up a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the immediate and remote causes of the present gang war in Rivers. They also asked for a probe into the killings of the former national vice-chairman, (South-South) of the All Nigerian Peoples party (ANPP), Chief Marshal Harry, former National vice-chairman of the PDP, Chief Alfred Dikibo among others.

Omehia felt that the call for a state of emergency was a larger conspiracy aimed at pulling him down. He noted the fact the two accused masterminds of the recent disturbances in the state, Ateke Tom and Soboma George, are Ijaw and it is their elders who are clamouring for a state of emergency.

At a hurried convocation of Rivers stakeholders meeting on Tuesday, the governor condemned the elders for their failure to appreciate efforts being made to solve what was purely a political matter.

He said: "Some people from Rivers and outside Rivers wanted to control Rivers from their state where criminality is worst, decided to hold meeting in Lagos, calling on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Rivers.

"Those people are enemies of Rivers; they are the sponsors of the criminal activities in Rivers. Any person who believes that we should not end the criminal activities going on in Rivers does not mean well for all of us."

The governor recalled that he had set up the peace and reconciliation committee primarily to rehabilitate and economically empower those involved in hostage taking. He said that he regretted that his initiative was rebuffed.

"The miscreants, criminals, I won't call them the militants decided to shoot sporadically all over the place including the front of Government House, took over the streets of Port Harcourt and all they were asking for give us money," he said.

The chairman of the state chapter of the PDP, Uche Secondus aligned with the governor to castigate the Ijaw elders. Secondus described the call for a state of emergency as being driven by selfishness. He argued that since there exist a democratically elected government, the elders should have deemed it necessary to meet with the governor in order to proffer solution and "not sing war songs because state of emergency is a war song.

He said, "we condemn their statement and this call and ask the Federal Government and the president to disregard this as they are self serving and mischief makers. When the elders chose to turn the other way when people die then the undertone of the recent violence in Rivers can easily be known and traceable to some of these mischief makers."

He regretted that the crisis in the state and government's effort to restore order and fish out elements had elicited unwarranted provocative reaction from the Ijaw elders. This reaction is rather typical of the antics of those people who fan the ember of discord and disappear to other states to stir more trouble.

Secondus said a few criminals and a few self serving elders in the state cannot hold the people of Rivers who welcome what government has done to the state to ransom. The PDP chairman dismissed allegations that the party was involved in the recent disturbance in the state.

On the arrest of a state lawmaker by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in connection with the disturbance in the state, Secondus said the party would not hesitate to expel any party man indicted by security for sponsoring gangsterism.

"The JTF should investigate the matter and if he is found wanting, the law would take its course. We as PDP will not protect anyone who is lawless," he said.

He lauded the efforts of the Federal, Rivers governments in mobilising the JTF to fish out the gangsters and those behind them in undermining the peace and security of the state.

The son of the Amanyanabo of Kalabari and the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate, Prince Tonye Princewill, said the party as co-stake-holders in Rivers does not believe that the declaration of state of emergency would solve the resultant consequences of accumulated crimes against people these past eight years.

"There is a constitutional means to changing a despotic and unpopular government and that is why we should appeal to our people to continue to tolerate this arrangement and allow the military to restore peace among our people and for the election tribunal to hasten their efforts," he said.

He urged the election petition tribunal to reclaim their peoples; stolen mandate so that "we can have a government elected by our people, that will serve the purpose of our people and not a government by a clique and for the clique that is secluded from our people."

Princewill called on the government to apologise to Clark and other elders for castigating them. But that might not be possible as the battle line appears to be drawn.

In the state government's determination, the governor has ordered the commencement of the reclamation and demolition of all the slums along the waterfronts in Port Harcourt before December. The waterfronts included those in Aggrey, Ndoki, Marine Base, Bundu, Nembe, Belle and Bonny. Others are Abuja/Prisons, Reclamation, Borokiri, Elechi, Afikpo, Timber, Abonnema wharf, Okirika, Captain Amagala, Dockyard Creek, Rex Lawson, Enugu, Ojike and Abba waterfronts.

This issue of the demolition, which is now being interpreted by the Ijaw who inhabit the waterfronts, as a deliberate attempt by the Ikwerre to expel them from Port Harcourt, might be another flank for the Ijaw and the governor to continue their war of attrition.


© 2003 - 2007 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Rights Reserved).

DoubleWahala
Aug 25, 2007, 12:27 AM
Abraxas (or anyone else capable of answering my questions),

Would it be correct to state that the 'upheaval' being experienced in the south-south in general and port harcout in particular is three-pronged?, viz:

1. Demand for resource control?
2. Internal political tussle for power between Ijaws and others?
3. Opportunistic banditry that has nothing to do with the first two above?

If nos. 2 & 3 are resolved, will it in any way affect the tempo of no. 1?

Are nos. 1, 2, & 3 dependent on 'bunkering' to facilitate their demands?

If the Nigerian Navy and Airforce are not stemming the tide of 'bunkering', does it mean that they're hampered logistically, or that they've totally compromised themselves?

Apart from the resource control forces, who else in Nigeria blatantly engages in 'bunkering'?

Why is the federal govt. unwilling or unable to do something about this bunkering business?

Finally, are all my questions inter-connected? If so, explain how, please, for my memory upgrade..

Thanks a lot.

DW

Abraxas
Aug 26, 2007, 10:48 AM
Hi, DoubleWahala!

To answer your enquiry effectively, I will break it down to manageable bits :


Would it be correct to state that the 'upheaval' being experienced in the south-south in general and port harcout in particular is three-pronged?, viz:

1. Demand for resource control?
2. Internal political tussle for power between Ijaws and others?
3. Opportunistic banditry that has nothing to do with the first two above?

The relative ranking of the key control variables in the "upheaval" in Nigeria's South-South geopolitical zone (i.e. the Niger Delta region) are roughly as follows:

1. Federal Government response to the demand for resource control: 38%

2. Political tussle for power : 22%

(a) between Ijaws and other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta. (2%)

(b) between the various political interest groups inside and outside the Niger Delta. (20%)
3. Opportunistic banditry that has nothing to do with the first two above: 40%


If nos. 2 & 3 are resolved, will it in any way affect the tempo of no. 1?

Indeed, if (internal and external) tussles for political power and opportunistic banditry are effectively minimized or resolved, then, in theory, over 60% of the problem would have been resolved.

For sure, inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic squabbles are, in the main, induced or choreographed by vested political and economic interests, both within, and outside of the Niger Delta region [Divide & Rule 101: Theory and Practice]. Opportunistic banditry is a factor, given the global economic and political impact of petroleum, and the lure towards entrepreneurial crimes in a depressed low GDP economy like Nigeria.

Observe that at best, the daily production of crude oil in Nigeria is 2.5 million barrels. This translates to 0.018 barrels of crude oil per Nigerian per day, which is equivalent to US$1.25 per day, or US$460 per annum. Now, contrast it with the so-called publicly declared assets of a governor from a non-petroleum-endowed state (e.g. Otunba Gbenga Daniel @ N4.5 billion or US$35 million), then you can appreciate the disparity between the governed (@US$460 for 1 year), and a governor (@US$35 million, equivalent to 76,087 years of an ordinary Nigerian)! In such a system, opportunistic banditry is inevitable.

In reality, it is the Federal Government's response to the demand for resource control that would dictate the tempo of rent-seeking behaviour and opportunistic banditry. In other words, the key success factor in turning around the"upheaval", indeed, the resolution of the Niger Delta question is the effectiveness of the methods applied by the Federal Government of Nigeria: reviews of land and property laws (General Obasanjo's Land Use Decree (1979); effective maintenance of order (police and security operations), and the rule of law (judiciary).


Are nos. 1, 2, & 3 dependent on 'bunkering' to facilitate their demands?

All three factors are linked directly to the institutionalised theft of crude oil and petroleum products (alias illegal bunkering), which activities are understandably significant in the Niger Delta region by virtue of the significant and exclusive contribution of the region to petroleum industry production and transactions in Nigeria.


If the Nigerian Navy and Airforce are not stemming the tide of 'bunkering', does it mean that they're hampered logistically, or that they've totally compromised themselves?

They are totally compromised in a manner analogous to the average policeman on the beat in the street in Nigeria, being totally compromised in institutionalized bribery and corruption at checkpoints.

In simple English, whatever a Nigerian policeman can do to enable you flout the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the streets, the Nigerian Navy can also do to enable you flout the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the ports, lagoons, mangrove swamps, creeks, and in the Bights of Benin and Biafra, or even in the Gulf of Guinea (near Bakassi, or Sao Tome and Principe).The Nigerian Air Force can equally do the same to enable you flout the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the airports, and the Nigerian air space! It all depends on the price you are willing to pay, or negotiate!!


Apart from the resource control forces, who else in Nigeria blatantly engages in 'bunkering'?

Former and serving military officers, (mostly Brigade Commanders, GOCs, Flag Officer Commanding, Air Station Commanders, Commissioners of Police, O/C MOPOL, Commanding Officers of Naval Bases), SSS Operatives, Government House security personnel (ADCs, CSOs), within the Niger Delta region, Service Chiefs, and Military Heads of State (Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Segun Obasanjo)
Why is the federal govt. unwilling or unable to do something about this bunkering business?

As you can see, illegal bunkering has become institutionalised, indeed, glorified in Nigeria


Finally, are all my questions inter-connected? If so, explain how, please, for my memory upgrade..

Thanks a lot.

DW

Of course, the factors that you highlighted here are all inter-connected. Why? Nigerians are unfortunate to have to be governed by a gang of bandits who do not have any faith in the country that they mismanage and plunder with so much seeming glee and relish: from Lord Fredrick Lugard to General Okikiolakan Obasanjo! It is a pity.
All of the above are for your enlightenment and further necessary memory upgrade and update.

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

denker
Aug 26, 2007, 11:29 AM
Nigerians are unfortunate to have to be governed by a gang of bandits who do not have any faith in the country that they mismanage and plunder with so much seeming glee and relish: from Lord Fredrick Lugard to General Okikiolakan Obasanjo!

...now, we have to live with yar'adua -a dishonest man and a thief!

tengallons
Aug 26, 2007, 02:55 PM
Militants, Cultists or common criminals? 26/8/2007





Close to 70 lives have been wasted in the last three weeks in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State. Armed men, at war for God-knows-what, have seized Port Harcourt, the Capital city of the State by the jugular and the result has been unprecedented human and material casualty. Apart from the civil war era, citizens and residents of Port Harcourt have never had it this bad.

The place called the Treasure Base has since the latest rounds of violence, refused to yield much treasure. In place of treasure, tears, sorrow and blood have been the harvest. The players are not clearly defined. So efforts to arrest the drift have been spasmodic and dispersed.

The trail they leave behind however is unmistakably clear: a path of blood and streets strewn with wasted resources. The average resident and citizen of Port Harcourt will readily attest to this.

For now, the intervention of the joint Military Task Force seems to have compelled some of the leaders to relocate to near-by bushes and villages in Ogoni, Kalabari and Ikwere areas away temporarily from the centre of the city.

A curfew imposed last week has been extended by another seven days. Several cult groups have been hammered and politicians have had to pitch their tents. Even ethnic and social organisations have voiced out. Some feel the way out is the imposition of a state of emergency. Others see such calls as preposterous, self serving and unrealistic. Placed adverts, press briefings and official positions have come in torrents.

What has been established beyond any controversy is that the real issue today in the seeming unending story of carnage in the Niger Delta is the breakdown of law and order in Port Harcourt.

But the question, greater than the reactions and the prescriptions is, who is/are at the trigger end of the crisis? Put differently, who are the harbingers of the bloodshed; the players in the dangerous game of bloodletting and attendant economic dislocation?

Could this haemorrhage be attributed to resource control activists dubbed Niger Delta militants? Is the mayhem a variable, denominated by inter and intra-cult feud? Are we witnessing an unprecedented dimension to criminal activities of the uncommon hue? Or is what we now have a curious mutation; a monstrous hybrid of two or all of these likely triggers? These are the questions at the end of last week as attempts are being made to arrest the drift toward total anarchy.

Without prejudice to the likely answers however, some names and faces have been isolated from among the crowd as principal in the battle that has almost left Port Harcourt desolate.

Alhaji Mujahdeen Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom, George Soboma and Farah Fuburah are individuals named in most locations as important in unravelling the cause of the violence now holding the oil city to ransom. Observers say the activities of these men and or their agents have eclipsed the activities of other players, turning what was less than a month ago a hunt for "white gold" to a battle for the soul of a city.

Alhaji Dokubo needs little or no introduction. The Nation gathered that he became the President of the Ijaw Youth Council after Felix Tuodolor quit the stage. It was in that position that he gained into social and political relevance. For a man, who is said to have jettisoned schooling midway into a degree programme at the University of Calabar, Dokubo has made a name for himself.

Riding on the crest of resource control agitation, he formed and led the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), a group that was formidable in sheer number and possession of "military strength" before his arrest.

At the outset, the NDPVF according to Dokubo enjoyed some form of patronage by the government. It was a breakdown in communication and a feeling of alienation and a feeling of betrayal that triggered off antagonism. It is apparent this led to the rise to supremacy of Ateke Tom, his most formidable rival to relevance.

Dokubo, it was learnt, was propped up by a segment of the political elite in the state and he enjoyed their cooperation and patronage until political calculations changed. At this point, he was seen as both an economic and political asset to his friends in government. They in turn, must have also furnished some consideration in cash or kind.

Before Dokubo became a pariah at the tail end of the Obasanjo regime, Ateke Tom operated under his shadows. Ateke, our source added, was raised as a counter force by another section of the elite who felt that they needed to be protected after falling apart with those behind Dokubo. The rising profile of Dokubo was pointed at as reason since he was said to be closer to one ethnic group more than another.

From the outset therefore, Ateke lived in mortal hatred of what Dokubo stands for; Dokubo's profile only an additional impetus to detest him. Dokubo was also not enamoured by the prospect of the Okrika-born Ateke "breathing down" his neck for perks and patronage in the huge theatre of oil, money, influence peddling and arms war that the Niger Delta has become.

The eventual break up in relation between Dokubo and government, federal and state, led to a decrease in the prominence of the militant. More, it led to resurgence in power and influence for Ateke Tom, the second most prominent name in the current twist in the Niger Delta tale.

Ateke does not parade any academic certificate beyond the Secondary School Certificate he got from Baptist High School, Churchill, Port Harcourt. He however, has a truckload of "epaulets" from the "warfront" of the Niger Delta. Called "the Godfather" or "Chairman" he is said to have cornered for himself more than two wives and another woman through whom he has children. Wealth came his way even while his major vocation was being a militant.

Our source claims he was at one time ostracised in his Okrika place of birth. Even then the source added, he was never denied a princely chunk of resource from the local government coffers.

Hitherto less known, George Soboma was until the 1995/1996 session a student of Government Secondary School, Borokiri. A Kalabari from Abonema, and in his early forties, Soboma has 2 wives and other women. A resident of Bende Street, Town Area in Port Harcourt until he got into trouble with the military, he was also before the hunt for him started, a regular worshiper at the Baptist Church, Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt.

Soboma, according to sources was back in 2003 next in command to Ateke Tom. Some claim he rose to become head of Ateke Tom's armoury before calling it quits. He therefore, as the story goes, went away with a chunk of the weapons in his care.

He has according to our source, benefited from government's largesse and unbelievable patronage. One source claims he takes from the proceeds of the NNPC Mega station in Port Harcourt. He is also said to be the owner of a right, sole as it seems, to a development levy of N10, 000 imposed on every developer interested in erecting any structure in Town area of Port Harcourt.

In fact, one source added, "all the businesses pay something to him as protection fee." It then ought not to be a huge surprise that he has interest in real estate in Port Harcourt.

The last of the major players, Farah Fuburah or Farah as most know him was as gathered from sources a player in the Asari Dokubo NDVF until recently.

He was said to have inherited a cache of arms ordered by Dokubo before his arrest. The arms, sources revealed, came after the arrest of Dokubo. Farah was at hand to collect and the story from then has changed. On becoming an owner of modern and more effective weapons, he was said to have quickly created a new territory for himself in the creeks, perfecting the act of kidnapping ‘whites' for ransom.


Identifying the culprits

While names have been mentioned and identities placed on the forces at war in Port Harcourt, few are ready to place them in any of the straitjackets designed by analysts, commentators and observers. Even the media has been cautious in pasting "titles" to their names.

Most commentators on the Niger Delta believe that those involved in the bloodshed are cultists. Others say they are rebels who have obvious causes. There are many who say they have gone beyond permissible limits in pursuing announced goals. There are also those who see nothing positive about them and or their causes.

Yet, another set of observers say they are men on the payroll of several politicians, for the purpose of negotiating for better deals. What is without doubt is that the people of Port Harcourt have their peculiar experience of them and to the average Port Harcourt citizen, the term ‘militants' now evoke nothing but fear; naked fear.

These set of Nigerians therefore see no serious distinction between cultists and criminals. If men, they argue, could unleash terror on fellow men, some of who have no connection whatsoever with the forces at play in the Delta, then the apt thing to do is refer to them as criminals, one concluded.

This categorisation seems to have some semblance with that offered by the Rivers State Government. In all its utterances, the River State Government has never attributed any positive identity to the culprits. In fact, the most honourable toga placed on them was to categorise them among other known groups or cults.

Last week, the government announced the names of 102 groups, which it claims have been banned from operating in Rivers State. From that announcement, it appears as if cult groups have been narrowed down as the culprits in the Port Harcourt mayhem. Before the Rivers government, the Brigade Commander also indicated the cult connection.

According to him, latest lawlessness arose from a botched reconciliation and realignment of forces among the cult groups. Seven different groups, had according to him, agreed to align and stop all forms of hostilities among them. Two others were however left out of the arrangement. It is this two that have taken up arms, he seems to have suggested. This line of reasoning tends to paint the story as one of a battle for relevance by an underrated group against others. From our findings, it is not as easy as that.


A battle for cash and kind

The battle for relevance, all have agreed lie at the bottom of the cut throat competition now playing out as war of attrition in Port Harcourt. That is one side of the coin. The end to which relevance is leveraged for pecuniary gains is however another side of the same coin.

To get anywhere near the real cause behind the current face off some facts need be better explained. But the caveat is that there are several versions of the story. The most plausible based on investigations is what is reflected here.

George Soboma for some time took firm control of most part of the Garden City. He has according to sources "partitioned the capital city into "areas," with each "area" under the grip of "the four commanders he inherited from the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Asari Dokubo.

The "areas" are further compressed into two zones, with George in charge of Zone I, and Fubara, the other. Both men are of Kalabari extraction as Asari-Dokubo, while Ateke Tom comes from Okirika, the home town of Chief Ada George, a former governor of the state.

Beside the Icelanders, another group, the Bobos (formerly called Dey Well) and the Gbam (means of identification) otherwise called Dey Gbam, also operate in the city with limited capacity.

Zone I covers areas such as Marine Base, Diobu and Town (Area I). Zone II under Farah Fubara is an area around Area II and D/Line parts of the city. Atake Tom's Niger Delta Vigilante Force according to our investigations has been sent to the hinterlands and may be braving from a massive comeback. His team, it is learnt includes remnants of the Icelanders, the group ditched by Soboma for Icelanders, and a faction of the Dey Well.

Although several groups have controlled several parts of Port Harcourt and its environs in the past, the resources available at the command of the Icelanders, otherwise called Nwayingi Marines, makes it the strongest.

Besides, its grip over thickly populated and important areas like Diobu and Marine Base gives it an edge over others.

The mission of the belligerent groups, as some inferred from above, is to make the state ungovernable for Governor Celestine Omehia. While some say they are angling, in the process, to get the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency, others said they are fighting for space in the reckoning of the new government. This way, the group that emerges victorious will enjoy perks as consultant on security. This seems to be the most obvious open reason for the battle. But there has always been a template upon which selfish and parochial pursuits could be hinged.


Are there genuine grievances?

There is an understanding that all the groups harbour one form of misgiving or the other. There is a fundamental lack of confidence in the lawful way of doing things obviously from an entrenched perception that the state has wronged them and their people. If the truth must be told, there was and there are still genuine reasons to be aggrieved about the Nigerian State.

Peoples of the Niger Delta, more than most other Nigerians are well placed to benefit from the fortunes of the Nigerian State. They contribute the most by reason of the abundance of oil on the part of the country to the commonwealth. They are however far from been beneficiaries of the goodies of the land.

Roads are practically not in existence. Portable water is a luxury not imagined at least until recently. Electricity supply has been mostly through communal efforts. Above all, they have seen the sheer opulence displayed by their elected representatives which mocks the very essence of their beings.

They have seen functionaries of oil majors live like kings while they are made to feel like paupers, if not slaves. Their means of livelyhood, the rivers and creeks have been polluted and they have been deceived times without number by politicians.

After the likes of Adaka Boro, Ken Saro Wiwa, individuals and organisations like MEND have been relentless in telling the story of the despoliation of the Delta; of oil spills that are not cleared; gas flares that are above all internationally accepted limits and sharp practices to gyp the country of resources.

While a number of Nigerians will also point back at them as part of the problem, it cannot be said that there is no merit in their logic. The point of disagreement has always been their methods.

They are disparaged for shouting out only to be noticed for benefits.

They, having been hoodwinked into playing oftentimes demeaning and disenfranchising roles, have been shoved aside by the big wigs as soon as the goals as met.

Ateke Tom in an earlier interview puts it better when in an interview with a foreign media; he said he helped "rig" Nigeria's election in April 2003.

"I checked everything, I watch people, I beat people I do so many things. Everybody they are afraid of me, they are scared of me" were his people.

"And the masses, the Ijaw people - they did not do anything for them. All what they promised to do, they did not do," he added.

"That was my annoyance and I told them that there would be no election and that's why I attacked them that night."

Further, George said, the Nigerian government did not fulfill its promises to the people of the Niger Delta, to build hospitals and to "give us freedom", and for that, he said his men would continue to fight "to the end of our lives".

The man, who claims he is neither a criminal, nor a militant, but calls himself a Niger Delta freedom fighter, vowed that he will use his last blood in the fight.

He is not alone. Asari Dokubo has espoused more coherent and consistent views about the travails of the people of the area.

But a look at who are the likely beneficiaries may show more possibilities.

Feelers from the oil city at the weekend separated the "sponsors" from the "potential ultimate beneficiaries"


Who benefits from the Port Harcourt mayhem?

There is an agreement, though unwritten that the major financiers of the mayhem are those that had either been in government or are currently holding political appointments.

"Some commissioners and lawmakers are behind us. Unfortunately, the governor is not aware of this," a cult leader hinted.

This perception has reinforced feelings in some quarters that the violence is in sympathy of a supposedly aggrieved politician, whose is believed to have been robbed. This has however been denied. In fact, a government source believes such an allegation is an attempt to tarnish the image of the notable politician, who "is only fighting his own battle legally".

The source however added another dimension. According to him, one of the three dominant ethnic groups in the state is behind the destruction, "because they feel that they have lost out in the political equation in the state."

They don't see the governor as one of their own, so they decided to go into war; cause confusion in the state and attract the declaration of a state of emergency. They have even said they want one of their own to be appointed as the administrator, once the state of emergency is declared," he said.

If it is beyond controversy that three dominant ethnic groups in Rivers are Ikwerre, Ogoni and Kalabari. The governor is of the Ikwere nationality, therefore the possible beneficiaries are likely to be either Ogoni or Kalabari.

As if to narrow the options, one commentator asked: "Doesn't it occur to you that the leaders of the cult groups terrorising the state are all from Kalabari? Do you know that all those calling for the declaration of a state of Emergency are from Kalabari? That is the game," he analysed.

These sentiments have however not been expressed by Governor Omehia or any of his aides. Resolved to hold on, he has kicked against the call for the declaration of a state of emergency, which he described as one in bad faith. In doing so however, he left the question: who benefits largely unanswered.

Or maybe he was more concerned about who looses at the end of it all?


Which way Port Harcourt?

Port Harcourt and her people is the city bleeding and loosing out in this battle. She suffers collateral damages greater than the real damage to the warriors. The question, which way, an adaptation of a question asked sometimes ago by musician Sony Okosun must be answered after the battle must have been lost and won. One political figure in Port Harcourt says the way is to be able to answer the political questions thrown up by the crisis in the Niger Delta.

To him, it is not possible to resolve the crisis if the political players behind it are not unmasked. "Those behind the violence know that when they are picked today, there are politicians to secure their release the next day," the source added.

Professor Kimse Okoko, the President of Ijaw National Congress (INC) is at one with this position. According to him, "the situation is created by the politicians with the backing of those in government. Those in government know it. Now the monstrous situation has more or less gone out of control."

Going further, he sees most of the politicians as "shameless, self-centred, inconsistent and very difficult to deal with."

He added however that "the Ijaw National Congress is working in a quiet way to ensure that sanity is restored soon. We don't believe in making noise over what we are doing".

Distancing himself from the state of emergency proponents, he said "it is unfortunate that some faceless and misguided ‘elders' recently called for the declaration of a state of emergency in Rivers. I want to say that there is no group like that in the Niger Delta".

The current crisis not withstanding, Okoko believes that the agitations of the peoples of the Niger Delta remain valid and they will still be pursued to their logical end.

Many however are not as optimistic. There are fears that if the current killings are not stopped, the call by the Yar'Adua government and the need to keep production of crude going in the Niger Delta may lead to an intervention from the UN and western powers.

Neither of militants, cultists or criminals, a band that have become interchangeable in the haze occasioning the Niger Delta crisis would be free of blame then.

If such happens, the whole of the Delta may end up as a heavily militarised zone where agitations of the militant type will not be allowed. By that time, militants, cultists and common criminals will have a monstrous hunter on their trail. How far they can go with them depend on how well they can survive in a game they brought upon themselves.

Son of the Delta
Aug 26, 2007, 03:28 PM
How Niger Delta militants get arms, ammunition –Rivers Commissioner
By Dayo Thomas
Published: Sunday, 26 Aug 2007
The state government seems to have initially lacked the political will to confront the crisis in the state. Every government has a responsibility to pursue the cause of peace, law and order within its jurisdiction. And in doing so, it must balance conflicting interests. A government is like a father, who has many children. Some may be good, some may be bad, and some may be ugly. But you can’t claim they are not your children. In punishing those who are not good enough, you will definitely have regard to some level of moderation so that you don’t destroy the essence of correction. The government did not lack the courage to act, or what you called political will. What it was doing was to appeal to members of the society who had derailed and had taken to the side of criminality. In this type of situation, you must apply the stick and carrot approach. If the carrot approach fails to work, you must look for the stick. Before now, every effort was made to send a clear signal to these young men that enough was enough. They resisted it and indeed failed to heed those warnings. So, when they began to operate as if there was no longer law in Nigeria, the Federal Government had to come in because it was an affront on the constituted authority of this country for anybody to take up arms in the manner that they did. Having said that, let me quickly add that even as we speak, it is still not late for those who might be unfortunate to find themselves in that category of criminality to have a change of heart because, the state government will stop at nothing to make sure that we get to the root of this matter and ensure that everybody who resides and does business in the state is doing so, without fear of any harm. This is a vow and commitment to the state and Nigerians. And we will do everything to achieve it.

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Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Emma Ihuoma Okah

The general belief is that the state government is afraid to act

Afraid? Why?

For fear of stepping on big toes

In the realm of criminality, the law respects nobody. We do not know any big or small toe here. What we are saying is that as government, we owe it a duty to protect lives and property. We have started doing that; we will continue until we achieve total peace in the state and by extension, the Niger Delta. And no matter how big the toe is, to use your word, we will step on it if it will bring peace to the people, the state, and by extension, the entire Niger Delta.

The governor of the state, Celestine Omehia, appears to be jittery, because of the frightening dimension of the crisis lately;

That is not true. I can tell you that the governor, His Excellency, Sir Celestine Omehia, is not jittery in any manner. He has demonstrated uncommon courage. He has no cause to be jittery when he knows he has the support of the people.

The belief is that he does not enjoy the majority support in the state.

How did you arrive at that? The fact is that Governor Omehia came into office with a formidable block vote. The Peoples Democratic Party won the election convincingly, without conceding any elective seat to any other political party. And this has been the tradition in the state since 2003. Besides that, I don’t know if you are aware that the governor is an Ikwerre son? The significance of that is that he comes from an ethnic group that has the largest block vote in the state till today. Given this background, it will not be correct to label such a man as unpopular or jittery. That is not in anyway applicable. Jittery over what? There is no cause for that. If anything, he is a man who has demonstrated exemplary courage. He is a man, who has shown that he is equal to the task. Don’t forget that apart from being a lawyer who has been in active practice, he was a law lecturer with a masters degree; he was a Commissioner of Education in 1992, when many who are boasting today in the state were nowhere in sight. He has the pedigree. He is not a stranger to governance and this has shown in the way he has been handling the complex Niger Delta issue since he came in. It has shown that this is a man imbued with administrative capability. So, to all intent and purposes, he is competent, capable, and has the courage to preside over the affairs of the state. And so far, his politics and policy point exclusively to the fact that he is a man who has come to engineer a new process of development that will engender happiness and development.

But the ruling party empowered these militants

To do what?

To rig elections

Which election are you referring to?

All the elections from 1999 to 2007. They were used during the elections and abandoned

It is not correct. Look, the 1999 elections were matters that became an issue in Elections Petition Tribunals. The 2003 elections were matters that were canvassed thoroughly before tribunals. And up till now, no tribunal or court of law has discredited any of those elections. All the election petitions that arose from those elections against the PDP on the authority of those judgement, I can conveniently tell you that no election has been found to have been rigged in Rivers State. So, the issue of using somebody to rig election in the first place does not arise. I can also tell you boldly that none of the PDP governors or PDP as a party in the state used any of these boys that are masquerading today as militants to rig any election. It is always very easy for someone to blame others for their calamity. You are committing a crime and trying to make excuses for your criminality. Why should anybody turn himself to a mercenary? Adults for that matter. Let us even for the purpose of this argument, assume that somebody used them. The question that I will ask is, why would you as an adult, allow yourself to be used against your fatherland? How can you allow yourself to be used to carry dangerous weapon against your own people? Why will you accept any harmful and offensive weapon? The mere fact that anybody at all, accepted that burden and in fact, had gone ahead to collect gun and use that gun for whatever purposes, makes it a criminal act. To say, because somebody gave you a gun, that is the reason you are committing crime, is not an excuse whatsoever. So, we will like to know those who say they gave them guns. Let them come and confront the law enforcement agencies and say Mr. A and B gave them guns. It is unfortunate to see people using excuses to cover up criminality. That is sad.

Who then gave them those guns?

This issue is more complex than you think. The major problem is the activities of illegal oil bunkering. Illegal oil bunkering, accounts for over 70 per cent of the illegal acquisition of guns and other weapons in this area. We have said so over and over again, that if and once the relevant authorities, curtail these activities, the number of guns that come to the Niger Delta will drastically drop. If a man has an opportunity to earn in one day what he would have earned in 10 years, the human tendency would be to go and take that 10 years earning in one day. If you multiply that by 30 days, you might probably not need to work again in your life. That is why many of them who are involved in this issue of oil bunkering are very reluctant to have this issue resolved. What they do is they divert attention. ‘Ha! Politicians gave us guns. Ha! They have been enjoying themselves. They have not settled us.’ But my brother, that is far from the truth.

The crisis is an indictment on successive governments that they have refused to find job for the youths of the state?

Indictment does not arise here at all . If at all the word must be used, then, it should be used against them because the former governor, Peter Odili, had provided elaborately for the youths to be gainfully employed. But what we have found over time is, many of these young people preferred to go the other way instead of eking out their living. By this I mean, there are alternative means of making money that are available to them. There are good programmes that are available to them; many of them have refused to take advantage of these programmes.

Can you be more specific on some of these programmes?

There was the Rivers State Sustainable Development Programme initiated by Odili. This was the hallmark of a comprehensive package of economic empowerment and enhancement programme that was to be available to the sons and daughters of the state. It has great areas of components that were given international correlation so that developed countries and development agencies would be able to criticise the concept and the execution of these programmes, with a view to ensuring that the youths of the Niger Delta had access to wealth. Because of this, meetings were held in Nigeria and outside the country. International experts and others appraised these programmes. But as I speak to you, even in the last meeting in The Hague this month, the Rivers State Sustainable Development Programme was well acknowledged as a well comprehensive programme that other states in the Niger-Delta should imitate. But these boys are not responding.

Why?

Because they have discovered another means of living that is not legitimate. What we found out is that whenever we tell these boys to come for such programmes, they compare their earnings from honest endeavours with what they would get through oil bunkering. We have so many skill acquisition programmes, but the boys have shown much reluctance. There was a micro-credit scheme programme we had. The Rivers State Government had put in N1billion into the scheme. It was done in conjunction with NAPEP and some banks. Many of them came, collected this money and refused to do anything with it. There were occasions when we graduated people from skill acquisition centres and upon graduation, we opened bank accounts for them, and lodged in N100,000 in their accounts. We also bought start-up equipment. We handed these things to them during graduation. Some of them, as soon as they left the venue of that ceremony, right there at the gate, would sell their equipment and go to the bank the next day and clean up the entire money, leaving only N2, 000 mandatory deposit. And the banks began to call. They now recycle themselves back again. So, tell me, how is their predicament an indictment on successive government? The people themselves must have a change of attitude. Go to construction sites. We made it obligatory that every company, working in the state, must have 60 per cent local content. That is, all the materials you are using in the sites, everything you require including labour, must come from the state. But go around, if you find five per cent you will give glory to God.

The state government is being accused of covertly influencing proceedings against Rotimi Ameachi in court

I am a lawyer by training, and I know that it will be sheer madness, for anybody to impugn on the integrity of judges in this country, let alone judges at that level. So, that is absolutely false.

Then why was the High Court hesitant at delivering judgement on that case, until the higher court compelled it?

That is another problem. Many people seem not to follow proceedings properly. I ordinarily would not want to discuss issues that are subjudice, for very obvious reasons. But it is very important that people understand court proceedings clearly. There was no quarrel between the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeal was merely saying; if you want me to go and try this case on merit, fine, we will try the case on merit, but the process of trying the case on merit means that if there are appeals arising from interlocutory judgement and decisions which we have made here, if those interlocutory activities are pending before you, common sense would require us to give you the opportunity as required, to decide and determine those appeals before we do anything here. Because, if we don’t give you the opportunity to do it, if you decide differently, it will not be in the interest of justice. And given the order of hierarchy, of course in Nigeria, two of us are not equal. So, two of us cannot preside over the same matter, at the same time. That is why we said those appeals which some of the litigants have taken to you, first, let us give you the opportunity to decide them before we continue. Or let them withdraw them so that we will know that there is nothing disrespectful that we will do, if we have to go ahead, trying the case. And I thank God, that it was when all the parties withdrew their appeals and applications that were pending in Supreme Court, that the Court of Appeal properly resumed jurisdiction. So, to say that they were dilly-dallying is a manifest of total lack of understanding of basic and elementary proceedings.


A government official that knows more about militancy than the act of governance needs to be watched closely.

Abraxas
Aug 28, 2007, 02:04 PM
MEND Alleges Plot To Wipe Out Ijaw Communities

MOVEMENT for Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) yesterday, said it had uncovered plan by Nigerian security agencies in connivance with the Presidency to decimate some Ijaw communities in the Niger-Delta, warning that militants would resume fresh hostilities if the plot was not aborted.

In a statement, signed by Tamuno Godswill and Onyiye Alaebi, the group said, "Our attention has been drawn to the clandestine meetings by the Nigerian security agencies in connivance with the presidency, to decimate some Ijaw communities in the Niger Delta"
"We shall resume serious attacks on the Nigeria economy, if these security threats are not immediately put aside in respect of the present cease-fire declaration by the Movement being maintained in the region to date.

Our commitment to this declaration is due to respect to the on-going dialogue between Ijaw leaders and the Nigerian state. The Movement is always on the red-alert to defend local communities against any aggression from the Nigerian government", they said.

The MEND, therefore, urged President Musa Yar'Adua to "immediately call all the security agencies to order in respect to the on-going dialogue and cease further aggressions and hostilities against the Ijaw interest for the common good of the nation, because we shall match any aggression with more blood and havoc on the nation's economy anywhere".

Toku.A
Aug 29, 2007, 07:23 AM
The Joint Revolutionary Council in the Niger Delta interview series-Cynthia Whyte.

Last View on Wed 29th August, 2007
Last Modified on Sun 26th August, 2007 7:16:12 pm
Author: Admin Sahara








The Joint Revolutionary Council has been very silent on the unrest in Port Harcourt and the eventual city takeover by soldiers of the Nigerian armed forces and other security agencies. What would you like to say about these developments?

What do you expect us to say? The issue in Rivers State right now is principally one between the Rivers State government and unpaid workers are now demanding their remuneration. Like we have often times said, let the politicians handle their shame. The cultists and hoodlums whose services they employed during the April elections are requesting to be paid monies owed them.

It is despicable to tie our name with the current circumstances in Rivers State. It is dishonourable to tamper banditry and hooliganism with the true agitation and quest by Ijaw and Niger Delta people to demand and fight for a better quality of life given the fact that their resources presently guarantee the survival of the Nigerian state.

Your ceasefire is still on?

Yes off course. A lot of work is being done right now by not a few interests groups across the Niger Delta and some results are beginning to come even though the pace of response is damningly slow. Umar Yar'Adua has been responsive to the key issues that we have been agitating for and we are watching closely at the emerging and evolving process.

However, the boys are been too bored for a long time and they are getting restive having been on leave for a pretty long time. We are considering a temporary cancelation in our declaration of truce so that we can deal with some unruly companies who think that they can undermine certain communities, damage their environment and yet refuse to pay the meagre compensation demanded for by the affected communities. Exxon Mobil and Chevron Texaco may be the reason for a temporal cancelation of the truce we declared some months back. Besides, it will go a long way to show that our ability to 'gbeke' is very much intact. We are on top of issues at the moment. Our fluidity and ability to think strategy and ahead of the enemy are key virtues. We don't play with these.

Does it not affect the quality and content of the Ijaw struggle? I mean with the offensive position that the government is currently taking?

When bandits are attacked by soldiers, you will know. When bandits and criminals are involved in a process, you will know. When the true combatants of the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle go to war, you will also know. Then, the armed forces of the Nigerian state will not be ashamed to count it's loses.

Military might and the ability to take down the enemy is not the preserve of the armed forces alone. The Joint Revolutionary Council does not enlist the help of street gangs and cult groups in its campaigns. Ours is a white revolution, a campaign to overcome evil with good. We will continue to do good to our people. That explains the tremendous support that we enjoy.

Well, let us not be too quick to run to conclusions about the current issues in Rivers state. Let us all watch, wait and see. It is too early to come to a conclusion. Very old women do not chew gum.

Recently Ijaw elders led by Chief Edwin Clark called for declaration of a state of emergency in Rivers state and their calls were condemned by representatives of the Governor led by Information Commissioner, Emma Okah. What is the position of your group on this development?

Stupidity is a curse. Ignorance and lack of respect for elders is even far much worse. You see, the good thing with mathematics is that while a particular mathematical problem may look very tasking and difficult, the question itself gives you a picture of what the answer should look like. That explains why even a stupid child will not say that one plus one is equal to seven million.

Where were Omehia and his boy Emma Okah when Chief Clark was Federal Minister of the Nigerian state? Where were they? It would have been much more understanding if Emma Okah was blessed with as much smart talking skills as the ill famed Femi Fani-Kayode who maligned everybody who dared to speak against Obasanjo only to apologise when called before the House of Assembly for ministerial screening. Well, the day of reckoning will come.

When we questioned the 'appointment' of Celestine Omehia as PDP flagbearer and eventual governor of the Bantustan of Rivers state, people thought we were being parochial minded. Now they know better. Omehia's incompetency now speaks for itself. You do not therefore need to know that those who will man the corridors of power for the next four years will have the same measure of human content (cerebrally speaking) as their boss in terms of intelligence, resilience, ability to make decisions on time and on demand, quick thinking etc. Rivers people will have to begin to learn how to bear this burden.

In as much as we do not believe that the current curfew and pseudo state of emergency will not solve the problem, there are far honourable ways for a government to respond to calls such as that made by Chief Clark and his team rather than get some opportunists in government to malign them.

Recently, a group of elders of Kalabari stock led by one Chief Sara-Igbe condemned the call for a state of emergency by the Clark led group. What is your position on these pronouncements and counter pronouncements? Does this represent the divisions in the Ijaw nation? How do these divisions affect your struggle?

Which Kalabari Council of Elders? Who has recognised any of them as elders in Kalabari land? Besides, how many others names were mentioned with Sara-Igbe? Has any human being of Kalabari stock told you that Sara-Igbe has the mandate to speak for them? Did he tell you that he can even speak for himself?

Well you people need to understand that there is poverty in the land and this same poverty that drives Sara-Igbe to such ignominy is the same kind that drives our young men to indulge in such demented and callous way of life. So in a way, Sara-Igbe and the young gun totters in Rivers State, suffer from the same ailment. Times are tough my brother and people have to sustain their families even if it means saying anything to gain some measure of favour from those who control the distribution of the bread. I believe that Sara-Igbe does not really mean whatever he had said. He is just trying to do the best he can to achieve some measure of resource control at least, just enough to take care of his family for some few weeks. Even then, he is a disgrace to the larger Ijaw interest and aspirations.

Come to think of it. Do not forget that this same Sara-Igbe was a special assistant to Peter Odili until he was booted out. When Odili was gunning for Presidency at the expense of the vast but 'curfewed' resources of Rivers people, Sara-Igbe desperately sought to be included in the largesse that was being distributed. He tried so hard. He may have gained some good wad. This man represents the people we choose to tag 'pay as you go Ijaw elders'. He has very little 'elder' value in the comity of elders.

Are you in support of a state of emergency in Rivers State?

The city of Port Harcourt is already in some pseudo state of emergency with the armed personnel of the Nigerian state taking positions across the city especially around Government House. Women and children are being the brunt of the failure of government to truly protect them. Young girls are being raped on a daily basis by armed-to-the-teeth security men who have utilised the prevailing circumstances for their own satanic and perverted benefits. Judgment will soon be dispensed on them. Make no mistake.

Omehia and his goons know that a state of emergency may deny them the extreme privilege that they now enjoy. A state of emergency will or may definitely limit access to the abundant resources of Rivers State that they now enjoy. Therefore, it is very clear that Omehia is a very selfish person, putting himself before the state.

Illegality and abnormality cannot and should not condemn illegality. You are all press men. You can have access to Omehia and his talkers. Maybe you should go and ask Omehia the following questions. At what point did he buy the PDP form? Was he among the initial set of PDP contenders? Was he with them when his corrupt co-hort Amaechi's hand was lifted up by their godfather Peter Odili even though Amaechi's endorsement was a deceitful one and like all things born in deceit, do not last or stand the test of time.

For how long will we be subject to the whims and caprices of an opportunist bunch who believe that they can trade the destiny of our people and undermine the integrity of our fathers?

Is Omehia too dumb to follow the foot-steps of Umar Yar'Adua? Yar'Adua has been one step ahead of all his detractors since he came into power. Yar'Adua has avoided making confrontational statements since he came into office, always ensuring that he does the right thing even before anyone gets the chance to talk about it. Yar'Adua understood and accepted that the circumstances and processes that resulted in his emergence as President of the Nigerian state were not exactly fair. He immediately declared himself as a servant leader and then started a process for an inclusive government. A man's actions and his demeanour in certain circumstances defines his ability to create solutions.

What we see in Rivers State today is the picture of a failure of government, governance and the governed.

What is your view on the future of Rivers State with respect to the return of peace, unity and stability?

Omehia is the first begotten son of a corrupt and deceptive hegemony (created by Peter Odili) that has demonised satanised and abused rivers state and her people for eight solid years and still want to hold up captive. You can see that the same enemies of the people are still lurking around the corridors of Rivers people. Now you cannot run an exorcism on these kinds of folks overnight. You need strong and tested spiritualists in order to get it right.

How can you describe a situation where two close aids of a governor, from the same tribe and village could not be settled and reconciled by the boss who they both worked for and reported to? Rotimi Amaechi and Celestine Omehia were two very close aides to Peter Odili even though Amaechi was speaker of the Rivers State house of assembly and Omehia was a special assistant to the governor. This simple scenario describes the nature of Peter Odili, a divider. What we see in Rivers State today is a reality demonstration of 'Sins of the fathers', being visited on the son. Odili's sins blended with Omehia's naivety and incompetence may destroy Rivers State, but the God Lord will fight for us through us.

Does your group accept Omehia as governor of Rivers state?

We know that the assemblage called PDP, provided after a series of turn of cunning events; an individual called Celestine Omehia and eventually rigged him into power with the efforts of renegades who now give them sleepless nights and who they now seek to annihilate for fear of exposure.

If Omehia will confess his sins (as a product of an illegitimate, corrupt and failed system) and seek forgiveness, we will faithfully and justly forgive him, for we recognise that all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God.

Frankly though, I am of the belief that Omehia should go. The man lacks what it takes to move Rivers state to the next level.

Take the case of Yar'adua.

But most importantly, the people of Rivers State are in dire need to best-in-class leadership especially after the wasteful yester-years. Tens of billions of resources meant for the development of Rivers State have been wasted on vanity, wickedness and insanity. We have air ambulances that nobody needs. How can a governor buy air ambulances for a state where rural communities do not have health centers or air strips? How many landing centers or air strips exist in Rivers State? Where were people like Chief Sara-Igbe when such misdeeds were being committed against our people? Only for him to wake up today and cast aspersions on the integrity of Ijaw elders whose pedigree he can never match!

Omehia should be very careful. If he is not, he will soon find himself engulfed by a critical mass of CEOs (Coalition of Enemies of Omehia) who will do everything possible to make the governance of Rivers state a painful sojourn.

What in your view is the way forward?

The only way forward right now is to go backward, correct the wrongs of the past and then keep coming upwards. The way forward is for everyone to look forward and imagine the abundant possibilities and opportunities that exist for all our people and then carefully work in alignment with the realities of the achievement of expected goals. This is not a mandate for government alone. Human capacity building must be driven up in good measure. Our people must be trained and equipped with the skills they require to live meaningful lives. The presence of the highly active oil and gas industry in our communities and region should be exploited by government but this cannot be possible if the government is not a thinking one. All they know how to do is share money.

To be able to separate the hoodlums and bandits from the others, then government and the private sector should create opportunities that hard working youths can exploit.

You have to understand that the inability of government to listen to the needs of the people of Rivers state is the root cause of the current unrest in Port Harcourt. This unrest will continue until government wakes up.

Try to find out how many jobs were created in the past eight years of Peter Odili excluding jobs and appointments such as special assistants and commissioners.

Thank you.






J.R.C. statement.

Son of the Delta
Aug 29, 2007, 09:25 AM
If I may ask DoubleWahala are kidnappings in states like Anambra and Imo also being fuelled by oil bunkering?Emma Okah and his partners in crime know that they are the prime problem and are doing all their best to avoid being drowned by the tide that is about to overwhelm them.For goodness sake is Rivers the only oil producing state in Nigeria?Even an infant will not accept his explanation.The Rivers P.D.P. has to get rid of the cultists in it`s fold.Yar`Adua should also learn from the past.The fact that Obasanjo sent in the military did not root out the cult groups in 2004/2005 and it will not in 2007.The solution remains uprooting the structures that rely on them for survival.As long as Odili`s corrupt cannibalistic political structure remains in place the problem will still persist.Am afraid if this situation is not properly handled it may lead to another civil war or the eventual break up of Nigeria.

Son of the Delta
Aug 29, 2007, 09:53 AM
Hostage released.

Pakistani Hostage Released in Nigeria's Oil-Rich South
By VOA News
28 August 2007



Authorities in Nigeria say kidnappers have released a Pakistani construction worker who was taken hostage one month ago in the oil-rich delta region.

The kidnappers seized the man in late July from Bodo city in southern Nigeria's Rivers state. The victim has been working for an Italian firm building a road in the area.

Bodo is plagued by gang violence, while kidnappings have become a major problem in the Niger Delta.

More than 200 foreign workers have been abducted from the oil-producing region since the end of 2005.

Some abductions are the work of criminal gangs seeking ransom, while others have been carried out by militants demanding that local villages get more of the region's oil wealth.

Most Niger Delta residents are impoverished, despite the billions of dollars the government and oil companies reap from oil production.

Unrest in the region has reduced Nigeria's total oil output by 25 percent since early last year.

Son of the Delta
Aug 29, 2007, 10:15 AM
Article from PH telegraph.


Between State Of Emergency
And Omehia's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
By Senior Fyneface




A theme that ran throughout Celestine Omehia's inauguration speech as governor of Rivers state was the emphasis that he will continue from where Peter Odili stopped.
He was very emphatic that he would build on Odili's legacy. The question is: Which legacies did Odili leave behind? Any indigene or resident of the state can easily count Odili's legacies to include insecurity in the state, bloodshed and gangsterism, celebration of bribery and corruption, enhanced looting of state treasury for fraudulent personal investments including Arik Air, sponsorship of cultism and assassinations, and so on and so on. So which of those legacies is Omehia talking about? Anyway, there is the popular saying that 'a snake must give birth to a long thing,' as it is beginning to be evident in the state.
The description of the current street battles in the state by the Omehia government as "not an isolated scenario, but part of the Niger Delta crisis, which would take time to resolve" was a clear indication of the insensitivity and helplessness current leadership in the state.
Hear what the government had to say: "The Governor Omehia-led Government from the first day in office had demonstrated a clear commitment to give the State purposeful and people-oriented leadership. Governor Omehia has a pedigree for accomplishments and no matter the ploys of a few disgruntled persons, the Government will not be distracted from its avowed commitment to serve the people", this is pure nonsense. Who is interested in praise singing now in the state as the armed crisis is becoming more and more devastating and the fire is fast spreading to areas that were previously peaceful.
It is really unfortunate that the Rivers State Government could say that "the sporadic gun fire experienced a few days ago in Port Harcourt was the handiwork of people who plan to discredit Government for their own selfish gains." As far as the Omehia government was concerned, "the scenario has not degenerated because if you want to achieve peace, you have to embark on reorientation and this process takes time before yielding result." Maybe, the result would start manifesting when everybody in Port Harcourt and environs has been killed by bullets of the warring government-sponsored gangs," may God forgive all of you in government.
Rivers state could be rightly described as a huge theatre of absurdity. Just few weeks ago, the Douglas/Needom- led Rivers State Peace and Rehabilitation Committee (RSPRC) was doling out a whopping sum of one million (N1 million) to any one who professes that he or she is a cultist, militant or gangster and would quit the trade.
As was widely reported in the media both national and Port Harcourt-based, hitherto blood-thirsty militants, cultists, and other criminal gangsters were clutching their bibles shouting hosanna in the highest and trooping to Rivers State Government House Chapel as Pentecostal born-again Christians even though Douglas a Sunni Moslem is the events manager of the Rivers State Government's 'who wants to be a millionaire' promo.
Leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Alhaji Asari Dokubo as a person, would always be the man of the masses of the oppressed Niger Delta people particularly Rivers state. In what could rightly be described as a state of the region address, Asari in his usual matter- of -fact statement accused both the former and incumbent governors of Rivers state, Peter Odili and Sir Celestine Omehia of involvement in the shocking wave of violence and kidnap operations in the state that have attracted both national and international attention.
The fearless NDPVF leader chose to make his well-intended accusation at the Police Headquarters in Abuja where he had gone to inform the acting Inspector General of his intention to depart for Saudi Arabia. He alleged that Odili and Omehia were both direct and proxy collaborators with those who are kidnapping people and shooting on the streets of Port Harcourt.
Whether the Rivers State Government likes to hear this or not, the latest 'free-for -all Port Harcourt AK-47 and K-2 riffle street show' arose because a cult group was said to be angered by the alleged patronage of a rival group by the political powers in the state.
This allegedly made rival groups to want to prove that they were relevant as well. Although both actors have denied involvement, it was alleged that the aggrieved group is the coalition led by Soboma George while the government-patronized group is led by Ateke Tom, the 'peace maker' and recently born again former warlord.
Commendably, immediately Asari was released from hostage by the Abuja government abductors, he reportedly entered into a peace treaty with Ateke Tom.
Both former enemies resolved to forget the past and forge an alliance in the interest of the Niger Delta struggle and the peace between the two seems to be holding.
The question now is: why has it become so difficult for the Rivers state government that has been "actively involved" in brokering peace between warring groups to reconcile Soboma and Ateke? Both men used to be very close allies in their joint military face-off against the Asari -led group until they parted ways after being covertly encouraged by government anchormen to do so.
For the records, Soboma George was the detainee that escaped from Port Harcourt Prisons and the scandal that followed led to the sack of the prison comptroller. The man (Soboma) was declared wanted by both the Police and Odili-led Government. However, he freely moved and socialized around town particular in the old Port Harcourt metropolis part of the city in broad day light to the knowledge of both Odili and the then police commissioner, Mr Sylvester Araba.
Ateke Tom was also declared wanted - dead or alive 'preferably dead' by both Odili and the police on the orders of the then crown king of Rivers state Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He went underground and resurfaced during the Omehia -engineered peace and reconciliation propaganda and declared a turn around from his 'evil ways'.
Their boys participated together at a training and re-orientation forum held in Calabar, Cross River State recently. The Greenlanders, the Bush Boys and members of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force were also directly engaged in the project. But that was just few weeks ago.
Interestingly, just as the governor's initiative on peace and reconciliation was about to be adjudged as producing results, both Soboma and Ateke suddenly renewed their hostilities and overnight assumed 'the greatest threat' to the peace effort. The two foolish brothers should read in between the lines. This was exactly the same path that the duo of Ateke and Asari treaded which finally culminated in the adoption and detention of the latter for almost two years. It took both of them rivers of blood to realize that they were remotely manipulated and armed from the same source for selfish political gains which of course turn out to be an outing for national disgrace for the actor.
Between the people who are championing calls for a state of emergency in the State and the cultists at the Government, who qualifies more to be called "agents of destabilization?" What else does anybody expect from the helpless and endangered people of the state but to look for help outside the state at least now that Obasanjo is no longer at the helm of affairs at the Presidency before it will be too late. The people occupying the Government House from all indications have failed to help protect the masses either because of their involvement or outright lack of ideas on how to solve the problem that is fast engulfing the entire state.
Governor Omehia and his predecessor, Odili should know that Rivers people are anxiously waiting for them to publicly deny the allegation of complicity or explain their innocence in the current gun duel between Ateke and Soboma- led groups. The explanation would help the people of the state to know whether to encourage Omehia to continue to build on Odili legacies or start a fresh bloodless foundation or at best quit the stage. Omehia as the governor has a lot to do if really he wants to continue from where Odili stopped.
Since Omehia and his people are yet to appreciate that the situation in the state has reached an emergency status, there is nothing wrong in calling the entire state, 'a state of emergency' whether declared or undeclared. Let the interest of the entire state override the myopic interests of a few cabals occupying privileged positions.
SENIOR FYNEFACE, ELELEWON STREET, GRA II, PORT HARCOURT
(senior_fyneface@yahoo.com)







Copyright 2004&#169; The Port Harcourt Telegraph |Alrights Reserved | Email Us

denker
Aug 30, 2007, 08:42 PM
Azazi rules out full military operation in Niger Delta
From Madu Onuorah,
Abuja

</I>CHIEF of Defence Staff, Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, has ruled out full military operations in the Niger Delta. He said it would mean waging war against innocent Nigerians, whom the militants are using as shield.
He gave the assurance yesterday in Abuja, where he announced the maiden edition of the Nigerian Armed Forces Day.

Accompanied by the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Paul Dike and the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Azazi explained that the new Armed Forces Day celebration is meant to display the country's military might.
He told journalists that "any time we are required to conduct a military operation in our own environment, the major factor is that you are not fighting a full-fledged war, but you are addressing certain people, who are gathered in the midst of everybody that are more law-abiding citizens than others. So, you don't carry out full military operations because of collateral damages it would cause in such an environment."

Azazi further clarified the difficulties faced by the military when asked to intervene in civil disturbances, saying it is a complicated task.
"For any nation, the conduct of any military operation in its own country is very difficult, so Nigerians should not expect that the military would go to the Niger Delta and wipe out everybody there, it is not possible.

The government would not even allow it, not to talk of the rest of the world," he stated.
According to him, the involvement of the military in quelling civil unrests is to aid the police. "Whatever operations we conduct within the country is to assist the police to further enhance their capabilities," he said.

On the significance of the Nigerian Armed Forces Day celebration, the Defence boss explained that September 4 was picked being the day the joint military training between the Army, Navy and the Air Force started in 1967 at the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
He said that having been approved by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Armed Forces Day is intended to provide the opportunity to showcase the real and collective capabilities of the Nigerian armed forces.
Nigeria is one of the few countries in the world that institutionalise joint military training as evident in the successes recorded by its contingents during international peace-keeping operations.

"Joint operations is an area that the Nigerian armed forces wants to emphasise to ensure that we remember that we want to promote the operations as team, work as a team and that we want to support Nigerian democracy as a team," Azazi said. Activities lined up for the event include Moslem and Christian prayers on Friday and Sunday while it will be rounded off with a dinner on Tuesday, September 4.

naijanubian
Aug 30, 2007, 09:56 PM
.

Uduaghan is my boy - CLARK
By Emma AmaizePosted to the Web: Wednesday, August 29, 2007, Vanguard Newspaper.

DESPITE the opposition of the Delta Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan's governorship of Delta State, the Forum's chairman and national leader of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, Chief Edwin Clark says he cannot stop the governor from visiting him whenever he wants to, declaring that "Uduaghan is my boy and is respectful to me".Speaking to newsmen on the Governor's unexpected visit to his Kiagbodo country home, last Friday, Chief Clark said it was true that the governor visited him but was quick to add that they did not discuss anything.Governor Uduaghan confirmed to Vanguard when contacted, yesterday, that he actually visited Chief Clark at his country home when he attended the burial ceremony of his late friend in the community, saying that it would have been improper for him to come to Kiagbodo without seeing him as his father and senior citizen of the state.Corroborating the statement of the governor, Clark asserted, "Last Friday, he (Uduaghan) came for a funeral ceremony of the late David Okpa, who is my nephew or cousin at Kiagbodo. He (the deceased) attended the same Federal Government College with Uduaghan from class one to the end and they had been friends. So, he came to my house on the grounds that it would not be fair for him to visit Kiagbodo without visiting me. We did not discuss anything; I entertained him, which does not mean that I am out of my principle"."What I have said is that no one will accept Uduaghan as our governor as long as his brother has handed over his government to his brother who was part of the government.

denker
Aug 31, 2007, 02:57 PM
<TABLE cellPadding=0 width="100&#37;" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2>No to emergency rule in Rivers —Yar'Adua</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top colSpan=2 height=19><TABLE cellPadding=3 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>By Hector Igbikiowubo & Ben Agande
Posted to the Web: Friday, August 31, 2007
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

ABUJA — PRESIDENT Umaru Yar’Adua reacted publicly for the first time yesterday to the recent violence in Port Harcourt and declared that the Federal Government had never contemplated imposing emergency rule in Rivers State.
He, however, warned that government would not allow criminals to seize control of the garden city.

“We will deal decisively with criminal elements whose activities have led to loss of lives and property and breakdown of law and order,” he told an 11-man delegation of National Assembly members from Rivers State that visited him.
He also met, although separately, with the governors of the nine Niger Delta states and the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), asking them to “re-harmonise” the $50 billion (about N6.4 trillion) Niger Delta Regional Development Master-Plan (RDMP) to ensure its implementation in the 2008 national budget.
Receiving the Rivers State legislators, the President said: “We have clearly distinguished between genuine aspirations for development of the Niger Delta region and the criminal activities being perpetrated by selfish elements with a culture of criminality and self-aggrandisement.”

No to emergency rule in Rivers — Yar'Adua

On calls by Ijaw elders, led by Chief Edwin Clark, for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state, the President said: “The conditions in Rivers State are not ripe for the declaration of a state of emergency and we never contemplated it. What we need now is peace in Rivers State in particular and the Niger Delta in general and that is what we shall pursue.”

Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, Sen. George Sekibo, commended the president for his prompt response to the crisis in the state. He described calls for a state of emergency in the state as “parochial, self-centred and politically-motivated.”
Sekibo ascribed the recent mayhem in Port Harcourt to a mere “struggle for supremacy among cult groups,” which should not be construed to be a legitimate agitation by the people of Niger Delta.

Yar’Adua directs implementation of $50bn Niger Delta master plan
And at his meeting with the Niger Delta governors and the NDDC, President Yar’Adua harped on the need to re-arrange the priorities contained in the master plan so that implementation could be started as soon as possible.
Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is to chair the next meeting which will re-harmonise and re-strategise the plan which was fashioned out by former President Olusegun Obasanjo shortly before he vacated office last May.

Ambassador Sam Edem, the NDDC chairman who briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting said the president did not mean a review of the master plan but demanded a “restructuring of the areas of responsibility” so that the stakeholders like the states, local councils and oil firms could be given specific responsibilities.
He said the nine governors were “super stakeholders” in the Niger Delta project and thanked them for co-operating with President Yar’Adua, who, according to him, is committed to positively changing the fortunes of the Niger Delta.

Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State said the President’s directive was just to ensure “maximum value is obtained from the resources” to be pumped into the Niger Delta. His counterpart from Rivers State, Celestine Omehia, described the master plan as a “masterpiece” that is very in-depth and crucial to developing the Niger Delta.
Other governors in attendance were Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Princewill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), and Liyel Imoke (Cross River). The deputy governors of Abia and Edo states also attended.

Anticipated sources of funding for RDMP

The Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan anticipates funding from both the public and private sectors as well as international sources.
Under the public sector, improved funding input is expected from local government authorities and state governments in the region.
The RDMP report contends that between both tiers of government in the region, there would be increased government capital outlay, curtailed recurrent expenditure, improved internally generated revenue and encouraged public-private sector partnership.

At the state government level, it is expected that there would be improved professional funds management as well as continuous flow from the ecological fund.
On the part of the Federal Government, the RDMP contends that there would be proactive engagement with federal departments and agencies annually for increased government outlay, improved internally generated revenue, encouraged public-private sector partnership and special projects.

The RDMP also expects that on the part of the NDDC, there would be proactive engagement with federal agencies for consistent full funding in line with the Act setting up the Commission and that there would be more dynamic local and global partnering, plus aid and grant sourcing.

The RDMP also breaks the private sector into two categories for funding expectations: statutory and non statutory.
Under the statutory private sector including oil and gas industry operators, the RDMP expects to get funding from oil and gas companies contributions as well as contributions from gas processing companies operating in the region.
Funding under this category is also expected from banks and companies which advance loans facilities to inventors and entrepreneurs, joint ventures, incentive to customers, oil and gas companies support to sustainable development initiatives and direct private sector investment.

Under the non-statutory category, funding is expected from NGOs/CSOs and community self help schemes and these covers foundations and charities, counterpart funding arrangements and donor assisted projects.
The non-statutory category also includes funding expectations from individual and private sector operators and this covers: build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT); build-own-operate (BOO); build-lease-transfer (BLT); and rehabilitate-own-operate-transfer (ROOT) initiatives.

The RDMP also anticipates funding from international sources broken into two categories: development agencies and international CSOs.
It is expected that the international development agencies and CSOs would be forthcoming with counterpart funding, advance credit to government agencies and parastatals, and donor assisted projects, grants, aids and gifts.

The popular version of the Niger Delta RDMP says its implementation requires the deployment of enormous financial and other resources which is beyond the reach of any single development stakeholder.
The RDMP for the Niger Delta has an economic development model which deals with has five broad categories including economic development; infrastructure; the natural environment; human and community needs; and institutional development.
Each of these categories is described under: master plan theme; identified challenges; policy instrument for attaining the goals; goals; expected outcomes; and potential beneficiaries.

Currently, states like Delta and Ondo have put in place a mechanism for development of the oil bearing communities, but same cannot be said of other states in the region leaving development efforts in a haphazard state.

Meticulous
Aug 31, 2007, 03:25 PM
Yar'Adua either wants to share in the bounty or he doesn't understand the issues in Port Harcourt.

How can he make a decision based on input by the corrupt elements of the state?


<TABLE cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD colSpan=2>No to emergency rule in Rivers - Yar'Adua</TD></TR><TR><TD vAlign=top colSpan=2 height=19><TABLE cellPadding=3 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>By Hector Igbikiowubo & Ben Agande
Posted to the Web: Friday, August 31, 2007
</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

ABUJA - PRESIDENT Umaru Yar'Adua reacted publicly for the first time yesterday to the recent violence in Port Harcourt and declared that the Federal Government had never contemplated imposing emergency rule in Rivers State.
He, however, warned that government would not allow criminals to seize control of the garden city.

"We will deal decisively with criminal elements whose activities have led to loss of lives and property and breakdown of law and order," he told an 11-man delegation of National Assembly members from Rivers State that visited him.
He also met, although separately, with the governors of the nine Niger Delta states and the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), asking them to "re-harmonise" the $50 billion (about N6.4 trillion) Niger Delta Regional Development Master-Plan (RDMP) to ensure its implementation in the 2008 national budget.
Receiving the Rivers State legislators, the President said: "We have clearly distinguished between genuine aspirations for development of the Niger Delta region and the criminal activities being perpetrated by selfish elements with a culture of criminality and self-aggrandisement."

No to emergency rule in Rivers - Yar'Adua

On calls by Ijaw elders, led by Chief Edwin Clark, for the declaration of a state of emergency in the state, the President said: "The conditions in Rivers State are not ripe for the declaration of a state of emergency and we never contemplated it. What we need now is peace in Rivers State in particular and the Niger Delta in general and that is what we shall pursue."

Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation, Sen. George Sekibo, commended the president for his prompt response to the crisis in the state. He described calls for a state of emergency in the state as "parochial, self-centred and politically-motivated."
Sekibo ascribed the recent mayhem in Port Harcourt to a mere "struggle for supremacy among cult groups," which should not be construed to be a legitimate agitation by the people of Niger Delta.

Yar'Adua directs implementation of $50bn Niger Delta master plan
And at his meeting with the Niger Delta governors and the NDDC, President Yar'Adua harped on the need to re-arrange the priorities contained in the master plan so that implementation could be started as soon as possible.
Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is to chair the next meeting which will re-harmonise and re-strategise the plan which was fashioned out by former President Olusegun Obasanjo shortly before he vacated office last May.

Ambassador Sam Edem, the NDDC chairman who briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting said the president did not mean a review of the master plan but demanded a "restructuring of the areas of responsibility" so that the stakeholders like the states, local councils and oil firms could be given specific responsibilities.
He said the nine governors were "super stakeholders" in the Niger Delta project and thanked them for co-operating with President Yar'Adua, who, according to him, is committed to positively changing the fortunes of the Niger Delta.

Governor Olusegun Agagu of Ondo State said the President's directive was just to ensure "maximum value is obtained from the resources" to be pumped into the Niger Delta. His counterpart from Rivers State, Celestine Omehia, described the master plan as a "masterpiece" that is very in-depth and crucial to developing the Niger Delta.
Other governors in attendance were Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Princewill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Timipre Sylva (Bayelsa), and Liyel Imoke (Cross River). The deputy governors of Abia and Edo states also attended.

Anticipated sources of funding for RDMP

The Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan anticipates funding from both the public and private sectors as well as international sources.
Under the public sector, improved funding input is expected from local government authorities and state governments in the region.
The RDMP report contends that between both tiers of government in the region, there would be increased government capital outlay, curtailed recurrent expenditure, improved internally generated revenue and encouraged public-private sector partnership.

At the state government level, it is expected that there would be improved professional funds management as well as continuous flow from the ecological fund.
On the part of the Federal Government, the RDMP contends that there would be proactive engagement with federal departments and agencies annually for increased government outlay, improved internally generated revenue, encouraged public-private sector partnership and special projects.

The RDMP also expects that on the part of the NDDC, there would be proactive engagement with federal agencies for consistent full funding in line with the Act setting up the Commission and that there would be more dynamic local and global partnering, plus aid and grant sourcing.

The RDMP also breaks the private sector into two categories for funding expectations: statutory and non statutory.
Under the statutory private sector including oil and gas industry operators, the RDMP expects to get funding from oil and gas companies contributions as well as contributions from gas processing companies operating in the region.
Funding under this category is also expected from banks and companies which advance loans facilities to inventors and entrepreneurs, joint ventures, incentive to customers, oil and gas companies support to sustainable development initiatives and direct private sector investment.

Under the non-statutory category, funding is expected from NGOs/CSOs and community self help schemes and these covers foundations and charities, counterpart funding arrangements and donor assisted projects.
The non-statutory category also includes funding expectations from individual and private sector operators and this covers: build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT); build-own-operate (BOO); build-lease-transfer (BLT); and rehabilitate-own-operate-transfer (ROOT) initiatives.

The RDMP also anticipates funding from international sources broken into two categories: development agencies and international CSOs.
It is expected that the international development agencies and CSOs would be forthcoming with counterpart funding, advance credit to government agencies and parastatals, and donor assisted projects, grants, aids and gifts.

The popular version of the Niger Delta RDMP says its implementation requires the deployment of enormous financial and other resources which is beyond the reach of any single development stakeholder.
The RDMP for the Niger Delta has an economic development model which deals with has five broad categories including economic development; infrastructure; the natural environment; human and community needs; and institutional development.
Each of these categories is described under: master plan theme; identified challenges; policy instrument for attaining the goals; goals; expected outcomes; and potential beneficiaries.

Currently, states like Delta and Ondo have put in place a mechanism for development of the oil bearing communities, but same cannot be said of other states in the region leaving development efforts in a haphazard state.

Son of the Delta
Sep 1, 2007, 11:36 AM
Why Port Harcourt violence won't end soon, by Horsfall
By Chioma Gabriel, Assistant Editor
Posted to the Web: Saturday, September 01, 2007




LAGOS - ELDER statesman and former chairman of the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC), Chief Albert Horsfall has given insights into why the spate of violence rocking the oil city of Port Harcourt may not end soon.

In an interview in Lagos, Chief Horsfall who was also a former director-general of the SSS also alleged a big cover-up on matters relating to the security crisis rocking Port Harcourt, and the rest of Rivers State.

"You would have heard, I have read it and have been told by different persons that the issue of cults and militias permeates every level of government in Rivers State. It was alleged in one of the papers that I read that starting from the most senior politician down to the local government chairmen in the state, most of them control some cult members for their own protection or advancing their political cause.

"Now, if you allowed one cult member to be in charge, you are inviting the rival cult member to attack that person. And if the military douses that situation as it seems to be, its only a temporary and palliative. In a matter of time, the thing will flare up again. So, it is obvious that the proper solution is to get a neutral person to be an administrator in a state of emergency which is what is operating in Rivers State today whether we like it or not.

"There is a curfew and people cannot move about freely. All the tenets of an emergency situation is taking place except that there is no state of emergency and one of the parties to the dispute is in charge of affairs but that is not fair because under the present circumstances, you cannot achieve justice and you cannot settle the matter."

The former PDP presidential aspirant also said in the interview that in the past eight years, there had been strenuous efforts to cover-up events happening in the state, and portray it as a place where there's no problem.

"For eight years, a culture of cover-up of events in Rivers State was established such that it was always difficult to know what was happening in the state. Everything coming from Port Harcourt was painted in rosy terms.

"Everything coming from Port Harcourt had a rose attached to it: a golden governor, rosy this, rosy that, development was number one and so forth. Anytime there was an attempt to tell the truth about the state of things in the state, government goes into a frenzy and sends out agents to put a contrary viewpoint and a proper view expressed by responsible citizens will never be heard but were submerged and subdued.

"That has been the situation until the last general election and the aftermath of it, which as we know saw two political gladiators, the former speaker of the state assembly, Rotimi Amaechi on one hand and the man who emerged as governor, Celestine Omehia on the other hand."

On plans by the state government to demolish the waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt, Chief Horsfall cautioned against the move.

"If I were to advise the governor, I would tell him not to make such a pronouncement without proper and careful planning. I have heard many stories about the waterfronts of Rivers State. One version said he would demolish the place and build new modern estates where people can go and live and the first people who would be allocated the new buildings would be those who lived there before. I wish it is true. But I would say elders should advise this young man because it is a very sensitive issue. You don't touch it without proper planning."

Abraxas
Sep 2, 2007, 04:46 AM
Ole Girl, Pitaqua Has Gone To Da Dog!

By Busola Sotonye Olagunju; The NEWS Magazine on-line; 20-Aug-2007 @12:34 hrs.

This is a direct quotation from a text message I received a few days ago. Few persons, who have lived through the past few months in the once glorious ‘garden city', would be inclined to disagree with the sentiment expressed above. In the past few months, we have been assailed by a faceless group of persons who seem determined to add to the challenges of being a citizen of the 15th least developed nation in the world. We are hardened to bouts of ‘social unrest' here in Port Harcourt - after all, a year or two ago, our city provided the backdrop for a vicious power struggle between rival cult groups. We would retire to bed at night to be rudely roused from our innocent slumbers by the sound of gunfire in the dead of night.

Huddled in our bedrooms or creeping into the living room to peek out of the curtains, we would distinguish the boom of dynamite from the gunshots, try to identify the source and direction of the gunfire and assess the possibilities of being caught in the crossfire. After a few hours of strained listening, the breaking of dawn would bring a respite. The tension would dissipate and we would compare notes with neighbours and colleagues in the security of daylight: except for those unfortunates inhabiting the ‘marine base' neighbourhoods, through which the combatants emerged and returned to the creeks. For many of them, daylight brought no respite- only grief, despair and impotent rage, as daylight revealed the full cost of human and material losses inflicted on them in the dark of night as ‘collateral damage' in the war between titans.

Thankfully, this phase passed as numerous interest groups in the state intervened to reconcile the warring groups. Barring the occasional flare up or prison break, our nights once more remained unbroken.
And then in the last quarter of 2006, the tension ante leapt up with the slew of ultimatums to the authorities from the militant groups. Sure enough, in January 2007 the expatriates began to disappear from the streets one by one- an Italian here, two Indians there etc. etc. From that point on, matters have spiraled out of control.

I believe three factors distinguish the current ‘security problem' in Port Harcourt from our past troubles. The first is the number and frequency of challenges to the state and the rule of law. In this new era, we are barely given an opportunity to fully absorb the reality of one outrage before we are confronted with another. Was it the kidnapping of the two-year old British girl – which came hot on the heels of the abduction of the son of the female legislator – which was then followed by the snatching of the 3-year old toddler son of the traditional ruler? Was it the assassination of a colleague in connection with a community/cult tussle- who incidentally had shouted murder in the weeks before his death? Was it the killing of the uncle of another colleague, while his wife innocently chatted in the home of another woman, or the shooting of the American professor by gun-wielding ‘militants' demanding angrily for ‘the dollars'? What about the brutal attacks on the LNG boats that served us so well? Or the incomprehensible grenading of the NNPC fuel station, where we all queued for cheap fuel? Almost each day brings forth fresh evidence that in Port Harcourt, the rule of law is at disintegration point and the citizens of Port Harcourt are numbed to the point of stupefaction by the orgy of lawlessness surrounding us.

The second factor distinguishing the present from the past is the apparent absence of any boundaries in the target, timing or geographical selection process by the perpetrators of the violence. Whereas previously, the warriors considerately confined their activities to well defined areas of the city, which the rest of us could choose to avoid; operated mostly at night - so we the uninvolved majority could go about our business during the day; whereas formerly, it was oil sector expatriates who had cause to fear - being perceived as visible symbols of oppression, - today, there seems to be no boundaries. Every one and anyone is fair game. Be you a toddler sucking on a lollipop, a great grandmother groping your way to the bathroom with your walking stick or a white Nigerian whose youth was spent serving a Nigerian male, it matters not. You might well be the next victim –no age, or class or creed is sacred: we are all potential targets of this faceless group. This reality was underscored by the experience of a sleek-cheeked friend: he was told at a local bar by a stranger (described as one ‘big ruffian'): ‘Ole boy, person like you for good for N2 million o.' He now spends his evenings in front of his computer…just in case.

A third new aspect of our troubles is the sheer openness of it all. No longer do our friends wait for the cover of darkness, or even trouble themselves to disguise their identities. Last Monday afternoon, it chilled me to the bone to dive back into the State Secretariat for cover from machine gun fire on the streets, only to watch from a nearby balcony, those responsible for shattering the collective calm, majestically driving along a major street in Port Harcourt in a long convoy of motorcycles, proudly and openly balancing their AK47s, on their right shoulder, for the admiration of us all. It had previously been my belief that to carry firearms about and terrorise the public with gunshots was totally illegal. But there, before my wondering eyes- (Mogadishu?) they were! Faces open to the world, unhurriedly declaring their victory over the law! And lo! What was that at the tail of this impressive procession? A Blue tanker?! Official escort? Surely not!!!

That Monday afternoon gave us all a foretaste of what we were to experience for 5 consecutive days. Open gunfire in x and y locality, disruption of our lawful activities and cancellation of appointments, tension, nervous smiles, jumping at every sharp sound and generally exhibiting all the symptoms of a traumatized people.

It should be clear to all by now that the current wave of lawlessness has been detached from its political origins. The atrocities which unfold day after day have no connection whatsoever with ‘resource control', ‘the inequities of the past', oppression etc. These are not strategic attacks on the might of the state, designed to achieve clearly defined political objectives. What we are witnessing is what conflict experts call ‘entrepreneurial violence'- lawlessness with profit in mind. And no wonder. Where, on the one hand, a society is blessed with a surfeit of frustrated youth, neither integrated into the national economy nor engaged in any productive endeavor, is burdened with a venal and shortsighted leadership, prepared to harness legitimate indignation to serve their personal and selfish ends, and, on the other hand, lacks any effective institution for managing social behaviour (religious, traditional or legal), the triumph of lawlessness ought to be expected. (Recall Sierra Leone and Liberia: Act one, united rebels against dictators. Act two, rebels against dictators, but Good God, this power, money, international attention and prestige is sweet, sweet, sweet. Act three, factions in savage pursuit of ‘blood diamonds', full stop).

What has astonished me is the response of the authorities to these affronts. We are all consciously or unconsciously unfamiliar with the law of effect. The law of effect states that activities that lead to positive outcomes (called ‘satisfiers' by psychologists), are likely to be repeated by the actor, while actions that lead to negative outcomes are less likely to be repeated by the actor. This simple but powerful principle underpins the criminal law system and is known to us all at various levels. Now- if persons engaging in the abduction of their fellow citizens are rewarded with tens (or, as we hear, hundreds) of millions of naira (positive outcome) is it not foreseeable that they will repeat this behaviour in the future? And if onlookers observe that attached to such behaviour are NO negative outcomes (e.g. arrest, detention or imprisonment), what is the disincentive for us all to get into the game? Secondly, if persons convicted of committing criminal offences are openly received in the highest echelons of power while still reeking of the courthouse, what invidious signal is being transmitted to law abiding citizens about the inviolability of the law? As far as I know, the policy of appeasement has never worked at any historical point in time. This is because it basically consists of accommodating and not deleting evil.

Well, as a member of the non-privileged class of Nigeria, my interest is not to engage in ‘dogon turenci'. My primary focus is straightforward and uncomplicated: in common with millions of my compatriots it is merely to meet my survival needs – food on the table, suitable roof over my head, clothes on the back of my children, school fees. In post-Obasanjo Nigeria, the achievement of these apparently simple desires is not easy for a woman. At the best of times, it requires verve, raw energy, and mental nimbleness to keep one step ahead. I am highly resentful that I was prevented by the inadequacies of the security apparatus, from a major ‘run' last Monday afternoon – keeping an appointment that might have secured me financially for the rest of the year. But, my loss was less grievous than the old man who was shot in the head by the combatants at Lagos Bus stop simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had left home at dawn to go to the ‘bush market' to purchase commodities which would later be sold to keep body and soul together. Returning from his honest labours in the afternoon, he ran smack into the middle of a show of strength taking place on Station road. He was told to ‘park and get out of the car'. He obeyed. They shot him dead! Five days after these murderous elements had commenced plaguing the citizens of Port Harcourt, it was still possible for these ‘kind-hearted' boys to stand in the middle of a major Port Harcourt Road and snuff the life out of a struggling old man. Such is the efficiency of our law enforcement agencies!

This situation is utterly unacceptable. The residents of Port Harcourt deserve effective protection by the authorities. After all, it was recently reported that despite being one of least developed countries in the world, Nigeria has the highest paid public officials. They have a duty to earn their pay by finding a solution to our little ‘security problem'. They must find it so that we can all go about our business in peace.

• Olagungu sent this piece from Port Harcourt.

Abraxas
Sep 5, 2007, 07:47 AM
Stop Molesting Civilians –GOC Orders Soldiers.


The General Officer Commanding the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Ibrahim, has declared that Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers state are not in a state of war.

Ibrahim made the declaration at the 2nd Amphibious Battalion, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, while addressing soldiers of the joint Task Force [JTF] who are taking part in the "Operation Flush Out 111" currently in the state capital.

"We are not in a state of war. You are not an army of occupation here. There is no war. Don't give the impression that there is war. You are just trying to make sure that everybody goes about his business unmolested," Ibrahim told the soldiers.

He continued "Some of you in the process of enforcing the curfew have been overzealous, forcing people to raise their hands; you use koboko on the civilians," and kick them.

According to Ibrahim, the way and manner the soldiers treat the civilians whom they [JTF] are to protect is very important because Nigerians have liberty and freedom of movement and the soldiers are just performing their constitutional duties in time of insecurity.

Though there are miscreants in Port Harcourt, Ibrahim said it is not limited to Rivers State as 99 per cent of Rivers indigenes are law abiding and they soldiers should treat them with dignity as members of a disciplined force working among their people.

Ibrahim admonished soldiers to avoid negative attitudes and actions such as molesting people and using horsewhips on them as the public are unhappy over such treatments when soldiers become unnecessarily difficult.

He lamented that the attitude of the soldiers to duty is bad as they do not adhere to army standing rules, drink and womanize while on duty while others go without belt, headgear or boot when on duty and they paint a difficult picture of the Nigerian Army.

The army officer told the soldiers that they owe the force a duty to behave well especially when they are on duty as the army would be very hard on any soldier accused of gross indiscipline and treating civilians with indignity.

Ibrahim stated that it is unavoidable that soldiers have to be on the streets but this does not mean they should lost their sense of judgment because they are on the streets of Port Harcourt to maintain peace so that the city can return to its glorious past.

He appealed to the soldiers to realize that they owe Nigerians a duty to protect them and they should do this in a civilized manner so that the civilians can cooperate with JTF to flush out the bad ones in the society.

denker
Sep 5, 2007, 10:13 AM
http://www.thetidenews.com/images/aug310701.jpg

Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia (right) welcoming the Amanyanabo of Opobo Town, King DandesonDouglas Jaja, when he led a delegation of Opobo/Nkoro Council of Chiefs on a solidarity visit to Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday

‘Omehia ‘ll triumph over organised criminality in Rivers'
• Thursday, Aug 30, 2007


Despite spate of criminalities in Rivers State in recent times that almost rubbished the good government of Governor Celestine Omehia, a socio-political organisation in the state, the Ikwerre Democratic Initiative (IDI) has optimism that Governor Omehia would certainly triumph over the prevalent evil and organised criminality in the state.

The event of killings and level of insecurity in Rivers State in a couple of weeks ago is evil and condemnable. But we are confident that Governor Omehia will certainly triumph over the prevalent evil and organised criminality in the state, "the coordinator of IDI, Hon. Chinagorom Nwonkwo said in a statement in Port Harcourt.

Early this month, cult groups made Port Harcourt and its environs a theatre of war which resulted in many innocent citizens cut down in the cross war. The federal and Rivers State governments reacted promptly to stem the tide of insecurity in the state by introducing a joint military patrol in the state.

Since then, security has been restored in Port Harcourt and many Rivers people have welcome the security measures adopted to rid the state of cultists and criminals masquerading under the aegis of Niger Delta struggle.

But the IDI coordinator said "no matter who was wearing the masquerade", time would expose the perpetrators of the evil in the land."

Nwonkwo also reacted to the call for emergency rule in Rivers State by some Ijaw leaders described the call as shameful, unpatriotic, unstatesmanly and outrightly insensitive to the efforts of the present administration to checkmate the activities of criminals in the state.

He said Governor Omehia and President Umaru Musa Yar' Adua have demonstrated sufficient political will to confront and root out what he described as a multi-faceted cult-related, politically-motivated, incessant gangsterism and organised criminals in the state.
He described as heart-warming and encouraging the support and stance of Rivers traditional rulers, top functionaries and Rivers federal legislators over the call for emergency rule in the state, and called on all well-meaning people of the state to remain supportive to government's action to restore lasting security in the state.

Abraxas
Sep 5, 2007, 10:46 AM
http://www.oyibosonline.com/images/soldier.jpgThe authorities of the Joint Task Force on peace in the Niger Delta on Tuesday debunked claims that it intended to invade Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The JTF‘s spokesperson, Major Sagir Musa, who made this known in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Port Harcourt, said that the army had no intention of invading communities in the state.
He said that the task force was not an army of occupation as currently misconceived by people in certain quarters, noting that the operations in Rivers State was constitutional.

Musa said that the military was empowered under the law to assist the civil authority in maintaining law and order, especially when the police prove incapable of doing so.

He said, "The Nigerian Army is a well-organised and well-disciplined institution, which is morally mindful of its constitutional responsibility to the people. By virtue of this, we have never seen ourselves as an army of occupation.

"Ours is just to restore law and order and we are constitutionally mandated to do this in any event where there is a break down of law and order. This is especially where the police seem to be incapable of containing such situations.

"We are not out to molest or kill anybody. We can only kill as a last resort and sometimes on self-defense." He, however, urged all those who possess arms and ammunitions illegally to voluntarily surrender them to the task force. Even when it has intelligence report linking any community with cult-related activity, Musa said, the JTF would only capture the affected community with a view to recovering the arms.

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to probe the violence in Rivers State. It said the investigation would unravel the masterminds of the raging cult violence and pave the way for peace in the state. MOSOP President, Mr. Ledum Mitee, made the suggestion while speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt.

The Ogoni leader stated that the special commission was necessary to unravel the cause of the violence and bring unrepentant culprits to justice. Mitee recommended that remorseful cult sponsors and patrons should be granted special amnesty and made to sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour. He said, "In my view, taking soldiers to the streets is like treating the symptoms of an ailment without uprooting the disease itself. Without getting to the root cause of the violence in the state and their masterminds brought to book, the problem would resurface.

"We should deal with those who planted the boys and make the state almost ungovernable for many years and are now pretending as if all is well.
"Once there is credible evidence that any politician is responsible for the promotion of cult violence, he should be punished.

"Whether the government agrees or not we believe that this is the time for all to sit down together and find an answer to the crisis. We must also take steps to separate pure criminality from genuine community agitation." Mitee stated that military action could never solve the Niger Delta crisis and that it was wrong to take actions that suggested that Rivers State was under a siege when the legal requirements for such a state of infraction had not been adhered to.

lionking
Sep 5, 2007, 11:31 AM
Yar'Adua either wants to share in the bounty or he doesn't understand the issues in Port Harcourt.

How can he make a decision based on input by the corrupt elements of the state?

'Meti' surfaces again.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !


We are keeping track O!

Of Meti and 'her' shadows on NVS

Abraxas
Sep 6, 2007, 03:36 AM
'Meti' surfaces again.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !


We are keeping track O!

Of Meti and 'her' shadows on NVS

Hi, Lionking!

Keeping track of what? Who are "WE"?

Obrigado.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

lionking
Sep 6, 2007, 04:31 AM
Hi, Lionking!

Keeping track of what? Who are "WE"?

Obrigado.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)

Why, none other than the many lovers [Igboid and non-Igboid] on NVS of our darling 'Meti'!

Son of the Delta
Sep 8, 2007, 06:46 PM
SOURCE:www.guardiannewsngr.com

Friday, September 7, 2007


Gangs unleash mayhem in Rivers


Kill three chiefs

From Kelvin Ebiri, RoseAnn Chikereuba (Port Harcourt) and Chido Okafor (Warri)
THE sleepy Ogbogoro community in the Obio Local Council of Rivers State was yesterday thrown into turmoil by suspected cult members in a reign of terror. At the time the dust settled, three chiefs were feared dead while seven houses were destroyed.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Luka Nyeh Yusuf, and his Air Force counterpart, Air Marshal Paul Dike, yesterday in Warri pledged to end youths' restiveness in the entire Niger Delta.

Guns boomed at Ogbogoro, where suspected cult members were reported to have visited with vengeance following the community's bid to cleanse itself of violent members.

An eyewitness who pleaded anonymity disclosed to The Guardian that Ogbogoro chiefs and some youths conducted a spiritual cleansing of the community on Wednesday and asked the local gods to kill gang members who failed to renounce their membership and violence.

Shortly after, the chiefs and other community leaders went round the village and directed suspected gang members to proceed on exile or risk being handed over to security operatives.

The source said: "After the cleansing, security agents came and actually arrested some of the gang members who failed to renounce violence or leave Ogbogoro as directed by the chiefs and various stakeholders."

Though the number of those arrested could not be ascertained, it was learnt that the Deebam gang members who had been on the run, quickly went and mobilised their other colleagues from neighbouring villages and attacked the village yesterday afternoon.

The Guardian learnt that scores of gunmen stormed the Ogbogoro Civic Centre where some chiefs were meeting on how to rid the community of miscreants. The gunmen were said to have shot dead two of them. Several other persons were macheted.

One of the chiefs, who was identified as Harrison, was attacked and shot dead in his home. The marauding gunmen also destroyed several houses during the siege that lasted till late afternoon. It was feared that the chairman of the chiefs' council was kidnapped by the gunmen and taken away.

Following the violence, thousands of Ogbogoro indigenes were forced to flee their homes.

The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Phelix Ogbaudu, confirmed the incident and said some anti-riot policemen had been deployed in the area to restore law and order. He, however, did not confirm the number of causalities.

Meanwhile, the chiefs of Eweh community in the state have urged the government to prosecute the leaders of any community that provide cover for wanted gang members.

Addressing journalists yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Eweh chief, Mene Benedict Tebirawa, expressed grief over the spate of violence perpetrated by the youths three weeks ago in Port Harcourt.

He said: "We as traditional rulers and custodians of people's heritage strongly condemn violence. It was a shameful thing to see our youths challenging the state and Federal Government of Nigeria; it is indeed foolishness of the highest order for the rampaging cultists to lay siege to Port Harcourt, the once peaceful city of the Niger Delta."

Tebirawa, who lauded the efforts of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Celestine Omehia for responding swiftly to the crisis, called on the youths to desist from senseless violence which he said could only retard development.

The service chiefs who said they were visiting the Niger Delta to have a feel of the real situation on ground to enable them make good decisions, urged the militants to sheath their swords so that development which had been lacking in the area could flow in.

Yusuf, who addressed reporters at the Headquarters of the Joint Task Force (JTF), said their visit was not connected with what was going on in Rivers State but purely a fact-finding mission.

He said their assessment of the JTF was that it was doing the job for which it was set up. He explained that the JTF was an additional security measure fashioned by the Federal Government to maintain peace in the Niger Delta.

He said that the JTF would be disbanded if the governors of the Niger Delta states who are the chief security officers of their states, said peace had returned and their (JTF) services were no longer needed.

"Don't forget that the JTF is an additional measure to improve the security already in place in the states. Once the governors who are directly in charge of these areas say they are satisfied with the level of security in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government would disband the JTF," he added

He said: "My message to the militants is that they should understand that Nigeria is at a crucial stage of development and their activities would deter the economic and social progress of the country."

Yusuf reassured that there would soon be lasting peace in the region when the Federal Government begins to unfold the development package it had for the Niger Delta.

Son of the Delta
Sep 8, 2007, 06:50 PM
SOURCE: www.guardiannewsngr.com
Suspected Killers of Rivers Chiefs Arrested

FROM KELVIN EBIRI, PORT HARCOURT
AS the crackdown on the Niger Delta militants continues, the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) has arrested six suspects in connection with the killing of three chiefs of Ogbogoro in Rivers State on Thursday.

The suspects were arrested yesterday when the JTF raided three communities in the state. One of the suspected criminals was alleged to be the leader of Soboma George's outlawed cult group.

Intelligence report had revealed that the suspected cultists who murdered the three chiefs for insisting that they renounce violence, were taking refuge at Ogbogoro, Ozuoba and Rumuekini, hence the cordon and search operation.

The JTF, which was assisted by the community's youths later proceeded to Ozuoba village where they conducted a thorough search of some houses suspected to be hideouts of Deebam cultists. Also searched was the Sympathy Mortuary along the NTA-Uniport Road .

Following information that some of the cultists were taking refuge at Igwe Hotel, Rumuekini village along the East-West Road, the JTF, during the raid arrested three suspects among them a native doctor whose shrine shares a fence with the hotel.

JTF spokesperson, Major Sagir Musa said "the houses earmarked for cordon and search are based on intelligence report. We are to ensure that all the houses are diligently and carefully searched without molesting the house owners, their neighbours and even the villagers."

He explained that the operation, which was led by the General Staff Officer in charge of Training and Operations 2nd Amphibious Brigade, Lt. Col, A. U Mohammed, was aimed at arresting the cultists who killed the three Ogbogoro chiefs, as well as recovering arms and ammunition from them.

Major Musa who described Ogbogoro and the two other villages searched as flash-points in Rivers State, said the JTF would not relent in its effort to rid the state of cultists and militants who have been terrorizing law-abiding citizens.

A youth leader who pleaded anonymity told The Guardian that the community leaders had apprehended eight cultists who failed to renounce violence and gangsterism on Thursday morning.

And as they were waiting to hand them over to security agents, scores of armed cultists from Ogbogoro and neighbouring villages stormed the village's civil centre to rescue the arrested cultists. In the process, they murdered three chiefs and destroyed several houses.

Some of the chiefs led by Wolu Anele have appealed to the Rivers State Government to prevail on the JTF to remain in the village until all the suspected cultists are arrested and normalcy returns for socio-economic activities to thrive.

He said: "If not for the JTF, the cultists would have razed the entire village and this is the primary reason we want the JTF to remain here. We are scared because these cultists have continued to terrorize all law-abiding indigenes and residents of Ogbogoro."

The JTF comprising the Army, Navy, Airforce, Police and the State Security Services (SSS) has been deployed to Ogbogoro with the aim of arresting the remaining cultists who might still be hiding there.

According to Musa, "this operation is to help us get the cultists that are responsible for the killing of the three traditional chiefs. We will remain here until we get rid of all the cultists."

Son of the Delta
Sep 8, 2007, 06:54 PM
I think something has to be done about the cabal of cultists in Rivers that is being promoted by Odili and Omehia and their partners in perverse practices.Until the entire colony of cultists led by Odili are culled Nigeria will have no rest.They should be dealt with from head to toe.Omehia and Odili should not be exceptions.At least Odili has no immunity.

Son of the Delta
Sep 8, 2007, 07:05 PM
SOURCE:www.reuters.com
Foreign hostage believed killed in Nigeria
Sat Sep 8, 2007 5:21PM BST

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[-] Text [+] By Austin Ekeinde

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Nigerian troops found the corpse of a man believed to be a foreign hostage floating in a creek on Saturday near a village where five people died in fighting this week, a military spokesman said.

Kidnapping of foreign workers has become commonplace in the Niger Delta, a vast wetlands region which is home to Africa's largest oil industry, but hostages are almost always freed unharmed in exchange for money.

"The joint task force were in operation around the creeks of Ogbogoro and Ozuoba when they sighted a corpse of a white man floating on the river," said Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the military in the Niger Delta.

There was no positive identification of the victim, he said, but his hands were tied behind his back and his mouth was obstructed.

"He apparently died from being tortured because he was kidnapped," Musa said.

Troops were deployed to the area, on the outskirts of Rivers state capital Port Harcourt, on Thursday after five people were killed in communal clashes in the village earlier this week.

Soldiers were conducting house-to-house searches to try to find those behind the violence when they found the corpse.

There are currently about five foreigners being held by various armed groups in the delta, including a Briton and a Lebanese. A British embassy spokesman said he could not confirm the identity of the corpse.Violence in the delta escalated early last year when armed rebels demanding control over oil revenues and an end to neglect by corrupt politicians started blowing up pipelines and oilfields.

Their raids shut down at least a fifth of oil output from Nigeria, an OPEC member and the world's eighth-biggest exporter of crude. The disruption has contributed to record high oil prices on world markets.

But the violence in the delta has degenerated into a chaotic wave of abductions for ransom, armed robberies, turf wars between gangs and fighting connected to a trade in stolen crude.

Over 200 foreigners have been kidnapped since early 2006 and most have been released unharmed in exchange for money, fuelling the trend. Thousands of expatriate workers and their relatives have fled the region, slowing down oil and infrastructure projects.

Port Harcourt, the delta's largest city, has been particularly prone to kidnappings and street battles.

The military took control of security in the city last month after a week of bloody street wars between rival gangs killed at least 15 people.

Politically motivated attacks on the oil industry have subsided since a new president took office on May 29 promising negotiations and efforts to develop the delta, but the crime wave has continued.

Abraxas
Sep 22, 2007, 12:17 PM
Resource Control: INC Tasks Ijaw in Europe.

From John Iwori in London, 19.09.2007


As the Ijaw step up the struggle for resource control in the international community, National President of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Kimse Okoko, has tasked them to brace up for the challenges ahead.

Speaking at the inauguration of the INC chapter in Europe at the Coliseum, Ilford London, at the just concluded 2007 Isaac Adaka Boro commemorative day, Okoko warned the Dr Felix Tuodolo-led executive to imbibe zero corruption philosophy of the association. Tuodolo, pioneer president of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) was at the occasion named Chairman, Representatives Council of INC in Europe.

"Your watch-word must be zero tolerance for corruption. Transparency and accountability must be exhibited in all your dealings, because INC back home is surviving because things are done openly as a family. Nothing is done in secret. Every kobo collected or spent is known. That is why our leadership has survived so far," he said.

Okoko said that the launch of INC in Europe represented the beginning of the externalization of the Ijaw struggle and urged them to be prepared for the task ahead.

"You have been entrusted with a great job, stand resolutely by the struggle, don't go by any rumours", Okoko charged them, even as he expressed confidence that the association would go places under Tuodolo's administration. Okoko who is a professor of Political Science at the University of Port Harcourt enjoined the new leadership of INC in Europe to collaborate with the Ijaw National Alliance in the Americas (INAA) to fight the Ijaw cause globally, assuring that Tuodolo-led-exco would be given every support from the parent body.

"We are always by you, we will be by your side in line with the principles of the Ijaw nation," he said. Tuodolo who recently bagged a doctorate degree in Geography from the University of Liverpool, in his response, assured that his administration would continue to internationalise of the Ijaw struggle. "The INC is open to every Ijaw person and we expect contributions from all, contact us in all you want to know about, this leadership will be focused and will promote the Ijaw struggle," he said.

He expressed gratitude to the INC for what he described as "the chance given the honour to me" to serve Ijaw nation which is arguably the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria. In Tuodolo's exco are the President Ijaw Peoples Association of Great Britain and Ireland, Mr. Rowland Ekperi, and London based lawyer, Mrs. Elizabeth Tuburu. The formal launch of INC Europe was witnessed by INCV Chairman in America, Justus Waripagha, his Secretary, Paul Ekadi, the Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRM Joshua Igbagara and other eminent personalities.

Meticulous
Sep 22, 2007, 12:55 PM
Lionking, what's this your new obsession with me?

Have you taken over from Obugi? :confused:


Why, none other than the many lovers [Igboid and non-Igboid] on NVS of our darling 'Meti'!

Son of the Delta
Oct 9, 2007, 03:40 PM
Nigeria denies US aid worker bail
By Alex Last
BBC News, Lagos



Dr Judith Burdin Asuni has lived in the region for years
A court in Nigeria has denied bail to an American aid worker and a Nigerian man, who were arrested last week for breaching the official secrets act.
Judith Burdin Asuni and her colleague, Danjuma Saidu, are accused of assisting two German journalists take photographs of oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

A state prosecutor said bail had been opposed because of new information.

Mrs Asuni said she was being prosecuted because of her friendship with the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Niger Delta has been a sore subject for Nigerian authorities, particularly with the recent international attention given to militant groups campaigning for a greater share of the region's oil wealth.

The delta is home to all of Nigeria's oil and responsible for 95% of hard currency earnings. However, most of its inhabitants live in abject poverty.

Diplomatic ripples

A 60-year-old US-born aid worker, Mrs Asuni has lived in the Niger Delta for decades and runs a non-governmental organisation called Academic Associates Peace Work, which promotes peace and reconciliation in the troubled oil region.

For years she was close to Mr Obasanjo, who stepped down in May. It is that friendship which she says lies behind her prosecution now.

Speaking to journalists in court, she said in the past she had stepped on the toes of certain politicians and security officials in the delta, who were unhappy that she would bypass them and go straight to the president with information.

Now with him gone, she says they want to bring her down.

Mrs Asuni and Mr Saidu were arrested in September and accused of providing assistance to two German documentary film makers who were detained for allegedly taking pictures of oil facilities.

All four have been charged with breaching the official secrets act, but while the Germans, Florian Alexander Opitz and Andy Lehmann, have been released on bail, Mrs Asuni and Mr Saidu have been remanded in custody.

The case has caused some diplomatic ripples here.

In a recent statement, the US government said it was disturbed by Mrs Asuni's detention and deeply concerned that she had not been granted bail.


Linkhttp://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art200710092452559


Espionage: Suspects wanted to escalate N'Delta crisis – FG
By Musikilu Mojeed and Victor Sam, Abuja
Published: Tuesday, 9 Oct 2007
The Federal Government on Monday claimed that it had fresh evidence showing that two of the four persons – Dr. Judith Asuni and Danjuma Saidu – it charged with espionage had documents capable of aggravating the crisis in the Niger Delta.

The government made this known during the hearing of the bail application for Asuni and Saidu at a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Two Germans – Floran Orpits and Andy Jehmanu – who were arraigned alongside Asuni, an American/Nigerian, and Saidu, were last Friday granted bail by the court.

The filing of the documents by Grace Aricha, a litigation clerk at the Department of Public Prosecution, on Monday stalled the bail application for Asuni and Saidu.

The documents contained messages exchanged by Saidu and the two Germans.

The government had claimed in the affidavit that if Asuni and Saidu were granted bail, they would pose a threat to national security.

Counsel for Asuni and Saidu, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), and the Federal Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. Salihu Aliyu, later agreed to meet in private to study the new document.

They met with the judge and it agreed that the case be adjourned till October 16 for the accused to react to the new allegation.

One of the documents, which was titled Annexure ‘A', could not be obtained by our correspondent.

The affidavit by Aricha reads, "That because of the security implication of Annexure ‘A', the DPPF will at the next adjourned date seek to tender the said ‘Annexure ‘A' from the Bar.

"That the State Security Service is still investigating not only how Annexure ‘A' was obtained by the 1st and 4th accused persons (Asuni and Saidu) but more importantly for who and to whom the 1st and 4th accused persons have provided ‘Annexure ‘A'.

"That Annexure ‘A', if passed to foreign governments, could have serious security implications not only in terms of Nigeria's investment climate but for any enemies of Nigeria or even adventurers who would want to exploit the situation and incite violence in order to sell arms and engage in oil bunkering."

The government asked the court not to release Asuni and Saidu because they had refused to disclose "who have requested for and obtained Annexure ‘A' from them."

It argued that if released on bail, the suspects would continue to supply information such as is contained in the document issue to any willing foreign buyer.

"If released on bail, the 1st and 4th accused will interfere with investigation as the 1st accused in particular is a woman of substantial means with powerful connections, including heads of government, security agencies, embassies, oil companies, to mention a few," it said.

Although Asuni was charged as a Nigerian/American citizen in the original charge sheet, she was said to be an American in the affidavit filed on Monday.

Paragraph 16 of the affidavit states, "The 1st accused person (Asuni) is an American citizen married to a Nigerian though a decree nisi has been issued in respect of the said marriage.

"That the 1st accused person is in possession of a Nigerian passport though she is not a Nigerian citizen.

"That the 1st accused person will be charged with the offence of illegal possession of a Nigerian passport."

Another document – the correspondence Asuni and Saidu used to deceive the Nigerian embassy in Germany in issuing visas to the two Germans – was also attached and marked Annexure ‘B'.

A copy of this was obtained by our correspondent.

Excerpts from the letter written to Saidu by Orpits on August 9, 2007 reads, "We are planning to come from September 6th to September 25th approximately, but we have not finally booked our flights yet. This should be completed by the beginning of next week latest.

"The purpose of our visit is general research on the situation in the Niger Delta and how it could be improved.

"I am not sure it is wise to mention in the letter that we are film-makers, as this might raise questions and make it more difficult to get visa at the Nigerian embassy in Berlin…. What do you think? Do you have any experience with this?"

In his response to the letter, Saidu said, "We usually send invitation letters to our guests who wish to visit Nigeria and they don't have much problem getting visas.

"We usually write to whom it may concern informing him/her who is coming, from which organisation, the purpose of the visit, etc. We then print the letter on our letterheaded, scan and send.

"In your case, I need to know the name of your organisation and your position in the organisation.

"But since you don't want the Nigerian embassy to know you are film- makers, why don't you say you are from an international NGO that is collaborating with AAPW to conduct general research on the situation in the Niger Delta and how the situation could be improved?"

All the accused had pleaded not guilty to the charges of alleged conspiracy and spying in a manner detrimental to the security of the nation.

The accused were alleged to have conspired to commit felony and entered the vicinity of protected places in Lagos; Warri, Delta State; and Port Harcourt, Rivers State for a purpose prejudicial to the security of the country.

They were also charged with taking photographs of things situated in the protected places contrary to the Official Secrets Act.

Specifically, they were alleged to have taken photographs and videos of pipelines, refineries, petroleum installations, ships and other things situated in the protected places.

Asuni and Saidu were alleged to have aided the Germans to make a false declaration to the Nigerian embassy in Germany for the purpose of obtaining visas.

The Germans were said to have falsely presented themselves as academic researchers whereas they were film-makers.


It is unfortunate that this woman helped Obasanjo and Odili to kidnap the citizens of her Country of birth. If we go by Nigerian Court claims that say they have documents to prove her involvement. She have been so callous to work with Obasanjo and Odili forgetting the trauma her fellow citizens would have gone through because of the kidnapping. Since she claims to be a friend of the former president then the allegations being levelled against her are likely true.

Felix
Oct 10, 2007, 02:19 PM
Can This Be Defined As Positive Militancy, Liberation By Abductions Or Plain Ocultic Bringandage As We Are Told Is The Case In Neighbouring Rivers State???. Few Months Ago, The Vice President Of Our Beloved Country! Was Nearly Abducted, Later His House Was Completely Burnt Down. Since Then Perents and Relations Of Bayelsas Lawmakers Have Been Disappearing At The Speed Of Light. ...Makes You Wonder If Bayelsa Is A Candidate For A State Of Emergency......:confused1

http://www.guardiannewsngr.com/news/article06


Militants kidnap Bayelsa lawmaker's father

Demand N150m ransom on expatriates
From Willie Etim, Yenagoa
KIDNAPPING, the Niger Delta's reigning plague, yesterday dispelled any hope of abating.

Once again, militants in the region kidnapped the father of a lawmaker and asked for a ransom.

Mr. Jeffie Komonibo, 82, father of a lawmaker in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly was kidnapped in the evening yesterday in Odi community in Kolokuma /Opokuma Local Council Area of Bayelsa State.

It was also learnt yesterday that kidnappers of the two expatriate oil workers with Saipem, Libardo Valderrama (Filipino) and Abert Bacani Montemayor (Colombian) have demanded a N150 million ransom.

A community source who spoke with The Guardian at Odi said about seven heavily armed young men, about 8: 30 pm, arrived at the Odi waterfront in a double horse power speed boat, invaded the residence of Komonobo and forcefully took him away.

The kidnappers, who shot sporadically into the air, carried the old man who also had his aged wife sitting by him, to a nearby waterfront and disappeared into the creek.

A close aide to Ebiondu Komonibo, representing Kolokuma/Okpokuma constituency I, said the lawmaker was in great shock when the report of the kidnapping of his father was broken to him.

Chief Prince Boro, the secretary of Odi council, lamented the action of the abductors and expressed worry about the health of the old man.

"The old man has been sick for quite some time now, he was on medication before the hoodlums took him away," he said.

He explained that the council of chiefs in the community was already holding meetings to decide on the issue.

The Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Iniobong Ibokette (DSP), who confirmed the incident, said that investigation was already on.

A top security source, disclosed to The Guardian yesterday that the kidnappers of the Filipino and Colombian were insisting that the Italian oil company pay them the said amount or they would continue to hold on to the two expatriates.

The two men were kidnapped on September 27, by a gang of gunmen disguised as soldiers who invaded the company's premises at Rumuolumeni near Port Harcourt. One Colombian, Henry Delgado Corrales, was killed during the attack.

The Guardian gathered that the gunmen had demanded a N150 million surveillance contract from Saipem but were not given.

It was learnt that the kidnappers have been relocating the oil workers from one place to another to avoid being tracked by the Joint Task Force, which has been on their trail.

According to the source "the kidnappers have taken the two expatriates deep inside the creeks but we are trailing them. Nobody is going to give in to their demand."

Meanwhile, five suspects purportedly involved in the kidnap of a British oil worker, David Wood who was rescued last Friday by the JTF, were brought to the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt by the State Security Services (SSS) but their plea could not been taken because of the absence of the prosecutor.

The SSS counsel, Mr. Ernest Chieka, had brought the five suspects to court and when the presiding Judge, Justice Roseline Nwodo, realised that he was not the one that signed the charge sheet, she denied him the right of audience. She said the best thing was to stand down the case till today when the prosecutor is expected in court.






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Felix
Oct 20, 2007, 07:00 AM
Hi Folks,

Liberation militancy seems to be spiralling out of control as grand papas and great grand mamas suddenly become targets..Seems like we are dealing with some sort of business venture here.The politics of kidnapping seems to be backfiring in the Niger Delta . Yesterday it was a father , today a mother..It is all happening in Goodlucks Bayelsa state.

http://www.thisdayonline.com/nview.php?id=92777

Reps Mother Kidnapped in Bayelsa

From Segun James in Yenagoa, 10.20.2007

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The mother of the a member of the House of Repres-entatives, representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson was abducted early yesterday from his country home in Toru-Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area of the state.
Dickson who was on his way home from Abuja by road when THISDAY called him on the phone yesterday said information reaching him indicated that security operatives are on the trail of the kidnappers.
Dickson also said the kidnappers have not made any demands from him neither have they given any reason for the kidnapping.
It was learnt that the gunmen men lay siege on the sleepy community in one speed boat in the early hours of Friday. As is usually the case, they shot sporadically into the air to scare away people and moved into Dickson抯 residence and picked up the septuagenarian.
The six heavily armed youths then disappeared into the creeks with the seventy year old Madam Goldcoast Dickson. (Goaldcoast??? :confused1)
Her son, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson was the immediate past Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa state.
A spokesman for the state police command, Mr. Iniobong Ibokette who confirmed the kidnapping by telephone said it happened about 1.40 a.m. on Friday, adding that kidnappings have become a major concern to the command.
Hon. Dickson described the act as 搖nfortunate,?adding, 揑 am on my way to Yenagoa right now.?/P>

Abraxas
Oct 21, 2007, 06:50 PM
Hi, Mazi Felix!http://forums.vault9.net/style_emoticons/default/whistling.gif

Please upgrade your memory as appropriate:

Muchas gracias.

Don Juan-Carlos ABRAXAS (III)


Panic As Kidnappers Invade Abia


Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=2705)
There is apprehension among Abia State residents following the spate of kidnapping across the state in recent weeks.
In the last one month, not less than 10 kidnap cases have been reported to the police with the perpetrators extorting ransom from relatives of their victims.
Sunday Independent investigations show that kidnap incidents occur daily in the state, with most not reported to law enforcement agencies for fear of retaliation.investigations show that kidnap incidents occur daily in the state, with most not reported to law enforcement agencies for fear of retaliation.
Most of the victims and their relations would, however, prefer to remain anonymous in order not to incur the wrath of the so-called kidnappers while some assume that if they give out certain information concerning their plight, the hoodlums may revisit them.
But, the state government in a terse statement in Umuahia at the weekend warned that it would now meet those behind this ugly development and their collaborators with maximum force to stamp it out.
Part of the statement reads: "The attention of the governor, Theodore Orji, has been drawn to the growing cases of criminal kidnapping of individuals in Abia state. Consequently, he has assured all Abians and residents of the state that he has got reports from security agencies assuring him that they have credible information that would lead to the smashing of the kidnap syndicate in the state.
"Information available to the governor indicates that the syndicates are of two folds: those whose operational base is outside the state; and those whose base is in the state. For the avoidance of doubt, kidnapping for ransom and all such acts with criminal connotation are alien to the culture and tradition of Abia. These criminals are hereby warned to take their crime to somewhere else because the state would no longer accommodate them."
The governor's statement was re-emphasised by the police image-maker, Ali Okechukwu, who told the Sunday Independent that the command was battling the ugly trend with all bullets in its arsenal. He regretted that most times, some of the relations of the victims would prefer to succumb to the blackmail of the hoodlums by giving them the ransom they (the criminals) demanded rather than reporting the case to the police for action.
He cited the case of a reverend father in Isiala Ngwa who, according to him, was kidnapped but was freed by the police following thorough investigation and prompt action. Okechukwu stressed that the clergy man on release pleaded that his name and the case should not be mentioned at all.
The police image-maker insisted that the crime was being imported from neighbouring Rivers State into Abia by some gangs, adding that some suspects are being detained by the police in Umuahia in connection with the incident. Orji, in the statement, asked Abians to be vigilant and report any suspected moves to the law enforcement agents around them for further action, adding that government was working vigorously to flush the criminals out of Abia.


Kidnappers Demand Consultation Fee!

Source: Oyibosonline.com (http://www.oyibosonline.com/cgi-bin/newsscript.pl?record=2704)

Unknown gunmen who kidnapped Madam Goldcoast Dickson, mother of a member of the House of Representaives have demanded for N500.000 consultation fee before opening up negotiations.
Aside the consultation fee, the kidnappers through a telephone calls are said to be demanding for between N15million and N20million ransom before releasing the 70-year-old woman.
His son, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, who disclosed this to newsmen yesterday evening said that since the incident happened two days ago, he has been receiving telephone calls from various groups demanding for a ransom.
He said, "one of the groups gave me the name, the account number and the bank to lodge the money but I have made my stand known that I am not ready to part with even a dime."
"If they are not ready to kill her, they should return her, but if they want to do otherwise, they should be kind enough to tell me where they are dropping her corpse so that I can give her a befitting burial", the federal lawmaker said."
He said he wanted the matter to be thoroughly investigated, saying the police should get to the root of the matter and bring the culprits to book. "I am not ready to part with any amount, no matter how small, the act is criminal and should be discouraged. Imagine people going to my village, kidnapping my aged mother when the woman was sleeping. Imagine the mental torture. They have even killed the woman spiritually.
"She has never experienced that kind of situation before. She was threatened with gun. She even resisted but over 400 rounds of ammunition were dispensed in my community.
"The youths from my village pursued them with a flying boat but were unable to catch up with them because their boats were faster", she said.
Describing the act as criminal, Hon. Dickson said having served the state at the level of Ijaw Youth Council, Ijaw National Congress and even as the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, he was surprised that people could pay him back that way.
The Chairman, House of representative Committee on Justice said he even felt for state government because of the kind of image the act of hostage taking is giving the government, adding that it is now becoming a recurring event there.

Abraxas
Nov 19, 2007, 02:55 AM
Angola To Hand Over Oil Rebels To Nigeria For Trial

(Reuters) - Angola has agreed to hand over to Nigeria two militia leaders whose detention in Luanda has led to a resurgence of violent attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, the state-owned news agency reported on Sunday.

The rebels would be handed over after extradition processes were completed, Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos told Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua at a meeting in Riyadh, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said.

Henry Okah, factional leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and an unidentified man, were arrested in September on arms trafficking charges. Nigeria had previously said it wanted the pair to face trial at home.

"We are trying to find a formula to resolve the issue which has nothing to do with politics but criminality; they are Nigerian citizens, so we cannot charge them in Angola," Dos Santos told Yar'Adua, the Nigerian president's office said in a statement.

"I assure you that we will ultimately release them to you for trial in Nigeria, but we must resolve the legal issues first," Dos Santos said.

Yar'Adua and Dos Santos, leaders of Africa's top oil producers, were in Riyadh for an OPEC meeting.

MEND has carried out a series of attacks and kidnappings on oil facilities since late 2005, prompting thousands of foreign workers to flee the southern delta which produces almost all of Nigeria's crude oil.

The group, which suspended attacks with the inauguration of Yar'Adua in May to allow the new government a chance to make peace, called off the ceasefire after the arrest of the pair, accusing Nigeria of masterminding it.

MEND has since claimed responsibility for four separate attacks on major oil facilities since Oct. 20, including Thursday's attack on a pipeline that feeds the Forcados oil export terminal operated by Royal Dutch Shell.

MEND says it is fighting for access to oil revenues by impoverished local communities in the delta that have been neglected by successive corrupt Nigerian governments. (Reporting by Tume Ahemba; editing by Elizabeth Piper)

Abraxas
Nov 24, 2007, 08:03 PM
Days of Odili, Omehia Gone in Rivers, Says Princewill

Source: TheTimesofNigeria.com (http://www.thetimesofnigeria.com/) November 24, 2007.

The governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in the April 14 elections in Rivers State, Prince Tonye Princewill has warned the immediate past governor of the state, Sir Celestine Omehia and his political godfather, Dr. Peter Odili against doing anything that would distract the new administration of Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.

He said their days were gone for good in the state, adding that the new governor was capable of taking the state to the next level. The AC candidate gave the warning at the weekend in Lagos while announcing the formal withdrawal of his petition at the Rivers State Elections Tribunal.


Princewill said the gesture was an endorsement of the Amaechi administration, which he described as one of the best things to happen to Rivers State. The AC stalwart who said he had no plans to quit his party for PDP disclosed that Omehia tried to bribe him to withdraw his election petition at an earlier stage but he bluntly turned it down.

He explained: "We believe very strongly that ev