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Nigeria: Groups Spoil For War In Rivers

Nigeria: Groups Spoil For War In Rivers

Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt, Nigeria

SOME interest groups in Rivers State,one of Nigeria's prime oil and gas states, who appeared not to be comfortable with the outcome of the April 14 governorship election in the area, have started to beat a fresh war drum. Before now, a number of armed militia groups have been threatening to spill more blood in the state.

From the year 2002, the state has a theatre of war with cult and militia groups locked in blood-letting confrontations. The armed conflict arose principally because of the re-election politics of the time. Since then, power seekers have resorted to creating their own political armies.

However, the latest threat is coming from the Niger Delta Enterprise Initiative. In a wired statement on Friday, the armed group informed the peoples of the oil and gas region, particularly those of Rivers, of a possible breach of the peace in the state and some other Niger Delta states.

Secretary of the group, Austin Wopara said, ''we believe that plans for this occurrence are already at final stages and is a result of the unfortunate charade of elections and mass disenfranchisement of people of Rivers state and some neighboring Niger Delta states''.

According to them, ''while we recognize that the elections were a big disappointment and disgrace to all people, we cannot help but condemn the degree of violence that this incidence may come with. It is unfortunate that General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd) the president of the Nigerian state would publicly agree that the elections were successful''.

''This acceptance on his part'', they went on, ''shows the level of moral and ethical decay that General Obasanjo's government has fallen into''.

Adding, they said, ''we also wish to use this opportunity to call on the international community and leaders and elders of the Niger Delta to impress on the government of Nigeria to release with immediate effect and unconditionally Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari. It is ironical that the Obasanjo government will keep Dokubo-Asari in solitary confinement and still expect militants in the Niger Delta to reason with Goodluck Jonathan, purported to be Nigeria's vice president-elect''.

''This will be impossible and the occurrence in Bayelsa state on the eve of the presidential election (April 20) is a testament to this assertion that we now make'', they said.

For them, the continued detention of Mujahid Dokubo-Asari has brought out the worst in the Ijaw and Niger Delta youths, pointing out, ''we believe that the worst is yet to come. The increasing availability of lethal arms and weaponry in the Niger Delta region is not a sign of good tidings''.


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