A coalition of Niger Delta militant groups Saturday, have threatened to declare a Niger Delta Republic if the Federal Government failed to embrace devolution of power and fiscal federalism.
The militants, who spoke under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, stated that they were prepared to mobilise other agitating groups in the oil rich region to actualise a Niger Delta Republic, according to Sahara Reporters.
A statement signed by leaders of nine militant groups said there were ready for secession if the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism were not put in place.
The statement was signed by John Dudu (Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener of the coalition); Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers) Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors); Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters) and Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters).
Others included Ibinabo Horsfall of the Niger Delta Movement for Justice, Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network), Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate) and Abiye Tariah (Niger Delta Development Network).
The statement read, “The least considerable action on the part of the Federal Government is the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism. Anything short of that, the people of the Niger Delta will go their separate ways. The coalition will work to convince other agitators in the Niger Delta for a collaborative action to ensure the least acceptable demand, which is total devolution of power and fiscal federalism.
“The people of the Niger Delta will fully support the call for a referendum by other agitators in the country. Finally, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators firmly resolves to pursue its decision(s) and actualise them by any means necessary.”
They maintained that the authority to represent the Niger Delta ethnic nationalities was no longer under the purview of the current leadership of PANDEF.
The coalition said, “The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators will rally round all other agitating groups in the Niger Delta for the actualisation of the Niger Delta Republic. This will give us the freedom to develop ourselves and at our own pace.”
The group, however, faulted the way PANDEF has been handling the agreement between the region and the Federal Government.
The coalition observed that the forum appeared not to be cohesive and united in thoughts and actions.
“While a meeting is called by Pa E. K. Clark in Bayelsa, the secretary of the central working committee is calling for a constitution review meeting in Abuja the following day. We have no doubt in our mind that there are contending interests and positions that have become overriding in the leadership of PANDEF and we can no longer sit by and allow them to fester,” the coalition said.