An Itsekiri group, Warri Study Group (WSG) on Wednesday, accused former and serving governors in the Niger Delta of secretly liaising with militants to cause destruction in the region in an effort to get the Federal Government to negotiate and drop criminal charges against them.
Chairman of the group, Edward Ekpoko, in a statement, asked the Federal Government not to negotiate with Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) or any other militant group for that matter.
“Politicians, including an ex-governor of Delta State and militants have continued to use this neglect to blackmail the Federal Government as a reason for the renewed crisis. But who is to be held responsible?”
The group’s statement is subsequent to the call by South-South leaders, who noted that negotiations with the militants should be led by President Muhammadu Buhari as well as other stakeholders to ensure that an acceptable and long lasting solution is found to the destruction of pipelines and oil installations.
“Politicians, especially some governors (both serving and former) and their cronies from the Niger Delta are hands in glove with the militants and are openly and secretly advocating dialogue with them so as to (through them) have criminal charges against them dropped.”
“The militants are well known to some of them (governors) to the knowledge of Niger Deltans. Government should keep them under watch. Let us get it right: who are the Avengers? Tompolo has denied them, but do we believe him when they want his account de-frozen? MEND has denied them, they are used by those who created them.”
“To dialogue with them is tantamount to open discussion with corrupt politicians from the region that have forced the pathetic conditions of life that now pervade the Niger Delta. All they want is to bargain themselves from investigation and trial.”
On the pipeline attacks, WSG said, “We have watched with consternation the renewed violence in the Niger Delta by the Niger Delta Avengers and its affiliates such as Joint Niger Delta Liberation Front, JNDL.”
“Their criminal acts and violence have left in their trail vandalized oil and gas pipelines, other installations and killing of military personnel deployed to guard these facilities.”