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NDDC: Yar'adua Joking With Us, Says Militants

NDDC Funds: Yar'adua Joking With Us, Says Militants

By Akanimo Sampson
Port Harcourt

THE recent claim by President Umar Musa YarAdua of Nigeria that the about N300 billion the Federal Government is owing the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, an interventionist agency, has ''expired'' is currently drawing the ire of the dangerously armed militias of the oil and gas region.

For them, the president is simply joking with his administration's purported quest for peace in the volatile oil and gas region.

The seeming high debt profile came about as a result of unreleased budgetary allocations to the development agency by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. For those who know better, epileptic funding from Abuja largely contributed to the obvious poor performance of the NDDC.

For the Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, an umbrella platform of some of the armed militia cells like a faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, the Reformed Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, R-NDPVF, and several others, ''this s the voice of the devil''.

The JRC Spokesperson, Cynthia Whyte, in a wire statement to this reporter on Thursday said, ''we believe that the President of the Nigerian state was clearly under the influence of some of the demons that have been holding our people down''.

In a seeming rhetorical question, the rebels said, ''how can anyone in his right frame of mind assert that funds which the people of the Niger Delta need so badly has expired? And yet a lot more funds was budgeted to equip the occupation forces of the Nigerian state so that they can attack our communities and render our lands desolate''.

Obviously hitting hard on Yar'Adua, they added, ''how can someone who proclaimed himself a 'servant leader' utter such trash? We are not talking about giving money as aid to Ghana or some suffering or impoverished country''.

According to the JRC, ''the current unrest in the Niger Delta is driven by disenchanted youths whose right to a good life has been shortchanged by the dubious antics of an ungrateful Nigerian state'', pointing out that petro-dollar accrues to the coffers of the Nigerian state as a result of the exploitation of crude oil from their communities. ''Some of our communities today, more than four decades of oil exploitation still lack portable drinking water, good roads, health care, educational institutions among all the other good things of life''.

''Due to continued oppression and injustices, virtually all the communities in the Niger Delta today rely on low value imported frozen fish for their survival because our waters, rivers and seas have become too polluted for fishing. Today, many youths from fishing communities have thronged into the urban cities for jobs that they can never find. In frustration that they have lost their first occupation (fishing), they have abandoned their communities to seek means of livelihood in the cities such as Port Harcourt, Warri, Asaba, and Yenagoa'', they said.

Continuing, they said, ''let no one be deceived, there will be no peace in the Niger Delta until that which is due to Caesar is given to Caesar. Communities which bear the brunt and negative consequences of petroleum exploration and exploitation must be compensated and duly rewarded for the pains they have gone through in time past. The monies earned in the sale of the crude oil harvested in their lands must be used to quickly develop their communities. This is not an outlandish call. This is what the people deserve''.

The rebels who preferred to be called ''freedom fighters'' said they are still demanding that the resources of the oil and gas region be wholly ploughed into the area so that in decades to come, ''our children yet unborn will still have a land to look at when all the oil has been depleted''.

''We demand total control of our resources before any real concessions can be made for peace to prevail in the Niger Delta. We condemn in all fullness, all the so-called Ijaw and Niger Delta elders who demand peace from us without first demanding that the tenants in Aso Rock keep to their own side of the bargain'', the militants said.

Arguing, they said if funds urgently needed for our development can expire, then the quest for peace in the Niger Delta should as well expire. We have tolerated the Nigerian state for too long. We wish to call on all our brothers in the struggle for the liberation and emancipation of our people to eschew criminality and rise up in the campaign to establish a new world order for our generations yet unborn''.


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