N'Delta ex-militant leaders threaten to halt oil production

THE PUNCH Newspaper-Sola Adebayo

Former militant leaders and youth organisations in the Niger Delta have threatened to disrupt oil exploration and production in the region if Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan was not made an acting President.

They also warned the Federal Government to ensure that Jonathan was adequately protected.

The former militant leaders and groups said in a statement after their meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Sunday, that they were watching the unfolding political development in the country with keen interest.

They vowed in the statement that was made available to our correspondent on Monday to resist any attempt by the military to venture into politics.

The communique which was signed by the Ijaw Youth Congress, Mr. Chris Ekiyor and a former member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, said Jonathan was a Nigerian asset and that he must not be harmed under any guise.

The ex-militants and groups prayed for speedy recovery of Yar’Adua to enable him to return to his duty post in the Presidency.

The statement reads in part, “We viewed the Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan as a Nigerian asset on this issue of succession crisis in the Presidency and not an Ijaw man, although he is our pride. But we urge all men of goodwill to ensure his survival because we will not condone any form of harm to him or anybody around him.

”We stand strongly on the path of justice and constitutionalism and that whatever provision that exists in the 1999 Constitution must be upheld to the letters in respect of the transfer of power in acting capacity.”

”We support the position of the Democracy and Justice Advocate all over the country, especially Prof. Wole Soyinka, Mr. Femi Falana, Prof. Pat.Utomi, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Col. Abubakar Umar (rtd), and others and we also said clearly that we will not condone and prepared to resist any form of military intervention in respect of the ongoing constitutional crisis.

”Therefore, any insinuation about possible military intervention is hereby condemned just as we are bold to say and we are ready to frustrate economically in total form, any form of military of military intervention in the country. We shall defend our territory and resources.

”We also reject the notion that we are not fit to run the affairs of this country as elective or acting capacity as President. We therefore want to tell whoever that is holding such view that we are not going to allow them to tap and extract the resources in our land anymore.

”We join all well-meaning Ijaw leaders to pray for President Umaru Yar‘Adua because we believe that he was committed to ensuring the success of the post-amnesty programme and that is why we pray for his quick return to his duty post in the Presidency in order to avoid needless political crisis in the Presidency.

”We thank all members of the Democracy and Justice Advocacy group, especially Prof. Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana, Prof. Pat Utomi, Balarabe Musa, Col. Abubakar Umar (rtd) and others just as we urge our brethrens, especially the ex-militants to remain calm and be vigilant as we are ready to act according to unfolding events at the federal level.

”We also condemned the ongoing seeming religious but clearly political conflict in Jos, the Capital of Plateau State, and rearing its head in other parts of the North and we warned that it does not spread beyond our tolerance. We asked the Federal Government to take decisive action against re-occurrence and escalation and we vowed not to fold our hands while our kinsmen are being slaughtered. We view the Jos crisis as a political move to truncate Nigerian democracy which we stand to defend to the letter.”


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