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Nigeria: Militants' Fresh Terms For Cease-Fire

Nigeria: Militants State Fresh Terms For Cease-Fire
*Blame Government For Unrest

By Akanimo Sampson
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

PROSPECTS for an enduring cease-fire in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil and gas region, are currently not appearing very positive. The armed militias are saying that they will remain undaunted in their armed confrontation unless government meet their basic demands.

A top operative of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) told the Scoop correspondent in confidence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,on Monday, that top on their four-point demand is the immediate and unconditional release of Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari.

The militants are also pressing for compensations to be paid to all the victims of alleged government official brutality. They are also demanding that the outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo should be tried by the International Court of Justice for alleged crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing against the Ijaw people.

Lastly, they want an idepth proble of all the financial transactions of the President Obasanjo’s administration form May 29, 1999 to date. The essence of the probe, according to them, “is to enable the Nigerian people know how much have been gotten from the sale of crude oil and how it has been spent. This crude oil is gotten from our land (Ijaw) yet we are oppressed.”

The armed youths are blaming Abuja for the current spate of insecurity in the oil and gas region. Their words, “government is responsible for the unrest in the Niger Delta following the arrest and detention of our indefatigable leader. The raid on oil installations, the killings, the abductions of expatriate workers and the general insecurity in the Niger Delta are all responses to the gross violation of the term of the cease-fire and the arrest and detention of the leader of the Niger Delta struggle.”

Before now, the spokesperson for the Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) of the militants network, Cynthia Whyte, has been maintaining that the oil region was relatively peaceful before the arrest and detention of Dokubo-Asari. He has been held since September 20, 2005.

The armed militias are tracing the facts of the crisis to a rpess statement Dokubo-Asar on the them President of theIjaw Youths Council (IYC) issued in 2003, denouncing the conduct of that year’s elections.

In the statement, he claimed that elections did not take place in Ijawland in 2003. This was interpreted to mean that there was falsification of electoral figures in favour of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

This, according to them, drew the ire of Dr. Peter Odili, the outgoing governor of Rivers state, who allegedly instigated Abuja against Dokubo-Asari.

The militants are insisting that the Federal Government consistently violated the peace agreement they reached with Dokubo-Asari, following the bloodbath that rocked Rivers State between 2002 and 2003.


© Scoop Media

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