Ex-militants from the Niger Delta have cautioned the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, not to tamper with the programmes of the outgoing Jonathan government in the region.
Although the All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to maintain certain agencies of government to keep up with development in Niger Delta, ex-militants from the region have cautioned the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari not to tamper with the programmes of the outgoing Jonathan government.
Speaking under the aegis of the Niger Delta Salvation Front(NDSF), the ex-militants alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan lost the election to an international conspiracy and further accused the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, of playing the regional/ethnic card in the just-concluded general elections.
The statement signed by Victor Tamara and Michael Akporode, the national coordinator and public relations officer of the group respectively, and obtained by Daily Sun, reads in part:
“We are members of the Niger Delta Salvation Front(NDSF), a new grand coalition of ex-militants and agitators from all the Niger Delta states.
“We have watched keenly the recent developments in the country- that is the general elections, especially the presidential election, and the hurried concession by our brother, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“We are compelled by these developments to issue this official statement -our first on the matter- which represents our views and stand on the elections and the issues arising there-from.
“We note, unlike the position of some skewed international observers and the media community, that the general elections were not free and fair, and do not meet with best international standards for electoral conduct. For instance, the Card Readers adopted by the Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were systemically used to disenfranchise many people of Southern origins who likely would have voted for President Jonathan. Even the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) was done in such a way to favour the North, the natural support base of General Buhari.
“But for the President-elect, we want him and his party, the APC to note that we are watching carefully their plans and mission for the Niger Delta. We want them to recall the recent history of the region when crises led to disruption of Nigeria’s oil production capacity and inevitably affected the income accrued to federal, state and local governments.
“ That was because of decade-old marginalisation of the region and her people, who are the chicken that lay the golden eggs.
“In the past few years, some form of peace and stability had returned to the region largely because of the interventionist policies of the Yar-Adua/Jonathan presidency. The policies led to such laudable programmes and agencies such as the Niger Delta Ministry, the Amnesty Programme, … etc.
“ While our people think these governments could have done more, they were nonetheless not unhappy with these programmes and accept them as the irreducible minimum conditions for peace in the region. “Therefore, any attempt to scrap these programmes and agencies and marginalise the people of the region because they voted for the PDP would certainly lead us back to those days when Nigeria could barely pay salaries because of poor production output.
“We are not issuing threats, only a warning: That if you create the conditions for trouble in the Niger Delta through marginalization in the scheme of things, then be prepared to reap what you sow. He who sows the wind should be prepared to reap the whirlwind. A word is enough.”
In the just concluded elections, some of the militants who accepted the federal government’s amnesty were elected into the Rivers state House of Assembly.