Niger Delta militants are criminals, says Clark

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Foremost Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, yesterday described militant groups behind the recent dastardly attacks on oil and gas installations across the region as criminals and enemies of the Niger Delta people.

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Speaking in his capacity as the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) at a news conference held at his Warri home, Clark noted the PANDEF would soon be taking a drastic decision on those various groups sabotaging its efforts especially after dialoguing with the Federal Government in Abuja recently.

While appealing to the government not to be deterred by the ugly trends of bombing of the nation’s critical assets in the region, the former minister of Information urged the Federal Government to go on with the implementation of the 16-point demands presented before it by the elders during the Abuja meeting.

Clark ,who was supported by some other stakeholders and  members of PANDEF at the press conference, identified political and pecuniary reasons as factors responsible for the ongoing attacks on critical assets by militants, stressing that there was more to the acts than meet the eyes.

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He observed that the continued militant activities in the region, especially the destruction of oil installations had gone beyond matters of expression of grievances, but a calculated attempt by selfish individuals to derail the building peace process for the region.

Clark, who also expressed fears over the adverse effect of the recent destructive actions of militants on both the innocent members of the communities in the region and the environment, warned that PANDEF would not condone the activities of the adamant insurgent groups any longer.

According to him, “our boys were still boasting in the social media that they were going to attack; they will do this, do that. I was in my house when they sent to me that FG has sent troops to the creeks in a houseboat opposite Oporoza and that some boys were arrested. We intervened and those boys were released. So the question is, what do we want, what are they looking for? They are enemies of the people; they are criminals.

“The war you are fighting did not start today. You have not even waited for the dialogue to take place, and then you have other ulterior motives.

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“So we will soon have a meeting of PANDEF to discuss this thing and take a position. Let me also warn that there are some politicians who are also members of the Niger Delta, who are fighting themselves, and it is not unlikely that some of these people are involved in these bombings to discredit each other.

“The recent blowing up of Trans-Forcados Pipeline operated by Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) is no longer a matter arising from grievances, but an act design to sabotage the present peace process.

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“I want to emphasise that no government sits by, and watch its national assets being destroyed. It is the innocent members of the communities who would bear the brunt of possible reprisal attacks by military.

“We appeal to FG to go on acting on the requests we made to Mr. President on November 1. We will deal with this situation. We won’t sit down at home with arms folded and allow some few individuals to destroy our destiny.

“A larger meeting will be called to review the situation and take a position”.

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