Niger Delta leaders give ultimatum on restructuring

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The Federal Government is making frantic efforts to address new grievances in the South South.

Rising from  a meeting in Port Harcourt, the leaders asked for immediate steps to restructure the country, handing down a three-month ultimatum to the Federal Government to start the process of giving Nigeria a new lease of life.

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Niger Delta leaders emerged from a meeting in Port Harcourt late Friday asking the government to convene a national dialogue for the purpose of charting a new course for the country.

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Reacting, president’s spokesman, Femi Adesina described the ultimatum as unnecessary because President Muhammadu Buhari has listened to the grievances of the region.

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The Niger Delta Avengers has also announced its return to the creeks ahead of launching what it called Operation Humble targeting oil installations in the region.

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The Niger Delta leaders, in a communiqué at the end of a South-South zonal conference in Port Harcourt, said the dialogue they are advocating should draw its membership from all ethnic groups to chart a new course for the country.

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The conference had as its theme, “Restructuring: imperatives for sustainable development, unity and security.”

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They spoke of an urgent need for the devolution of powers to the states and vowed to resist oppressive and repressive tendencies against the Niger Delta region and its people.

They appealed to the Federal Government to stop selling their resources to the Chinese and others.

The stakeholders, who came from the nine states of the region, threatened to actualise their freedom if nothing happened at the expiration of the ultimatum.

The communique was read by prominent Niger Delta activist and President of Agape Birthrights Development Initiative, Ms. Ann Kio-Brigss.

The communique reads: “We the people of the Niger Delta hereby give the Government of Nigeria a three months window within which to cordially address our concerns towards re-federalising the polity, by convening a national dialogue of the representatives of the ethnic groups in Nigeria to chart a new course for the country.

“At the expiration of this three months window, we the people of the Niger Delta will commence the process that will guarantee our freedom and progress.

“Our people should mobilise all human resources to see that fiscal federalism and devolution of powers are included in the constitution. There should be internal justice amongst us- charity begins at home.

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“We the people of the Niger Delta hereby reaffirm their commonality, unity and oneness despite our multi-ethnic diversities.

“The Niger Delta people, who are the breadwinners of Nigeria, demand to be heard and fairly treated with equity by the oppressive Nigerian state, and by extension, the insensitive Nigerian political class, as the only basis for peaceful co-existence.

“We the people of the Niger Delta demand restructuring, with the states as the federating units and devolution of more powers to the states.

“We the ethnic nationalities of the South-South affirm the right of peoples to self-determination and to fully control their resource to stop and put an end to further deprivation and despoliation of their environment which they have suffered in the last 60 years.”

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