11 December 2018

Nigeria: You're Cruel to Niger Delta, Militants Accuse President

Warri — A coalition of agitators under the aegis of Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) and Mass Action in the Niger Delta yesterday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of abandoning the oil-rich region amid numerous promises by his administration.

They described the last three years as most tortuous for the zone, stating that the Federal Government had virtually done nothing in the region.

The coalition decried what it described as the continued poor treatment of the zone, adding: "The resources of the area are being channelled to fund interventionist programmes in the North East to the chagrin of former militants and combatant elements in the Niger Delta."

In a statement by the spokespersons of JRC and Mass Action in the Niger Delta, Cynthia White, and Godswill Tamuno, the freedom fighters alleged that ongoing programmes such as the Presidential Amnesty Programme had been abandoned by the Buhari administration while more than $6.4 billion had been spent on various intervention projects in the North East.

They therefore called on former agitating groups to galvanise for the development of the region, stating: "Our silence must never be mistaken for cowardice. If we do not come together and act, we will all be consumed by the ignominy of the Buhari junta (government)."

The militants alleged: "In 2016, $3.3 billion was spent on intervention programmes in the North East. In 2017, another $3.1 billion was also spent on intervention. In 2018, a similar amount has been quietly provided for in the budget. This does not include the recent declaration of a provision of $1 billion for security purposes in the same zone."

The coalition added: "Yet, the same Federal Government continues to complain of lack of funds to prosecute the cleanup of Ogoniland and complete the East West Road.

"The past three years has been an intensely terrifying experience for the Niger Delta and its people. For three whole years and counting, the Buhari government has deliberately launched a campaign to subdue, neglect and abandon the area.

"There has been no new project and no new vision for the region. In fact, old projects, such as the East West Road that was reaching completion stage, have been recklessly abandoned."

The agitators expressed reservations over the proposed $2 billion refinery project for the border town of Mashi in Katsina State, regretting that the one in Kaduna, built from oil wealth, had failed to deliver.

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