The joint revolutionary council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), which claims to be the highest organ of “all the freedom fighting body” in the Niger Delta, has declared ceasefire.
The group had earlier threatened to launch six missiles in the region and to also shut Nigeria’s airspace, but it said it decided to do otherwise after the federal government offered to dialogue.
However, JNDLF said government would have to comply with its demand if it wants the momentary peace to be sustained.
Some of the group’s demands are the immediate release of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), reversal of the order to freeze the bank accounts of Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, establishment of Matitime University in Okerenkoko, Delta state, among others.
The group said Niger Delta governors are its representatives and threatened “to go after them if they betray the region”.
“We shall continue to engage in dialogue if our demands are met. Our representatives for the dialogue, especially the governors and others will not betray our demands with the federal government. Any betrayal on their own part shall be viewed as betrayal of the entire region and we shall go after them immediately as they know our mode of operation in which they will not escape from us,” JNDLF said in a statement.
“There is no gainsaying that we made our earlier promise to launch six missiles simultaneously against some targeted areas. But this was waved aside as a result of appeals made to us through email by the federal government and some international nations to open talks with Buhari.
“We saw some genuine aspiration on the part of Buhari, who made several contacts to us to see reason with them over the issue of under-development of the region. And since he (Buhari) had set the ball rolling for a clear negotiation with us, there is no problem without solution. We have therefore declared ceasefire in order to negotiate with the government if it is a true reflection of what they have in mind to develop the Niger Delta region.”
The group said it was more interested in negotiating with the government on the basis of developing the Niger Delta rather than giving out monetary compensation.
It also demanded the implementation of the report of the 2014 national conference, and the removal of Paul Boroh, coordinator of the presidential amnesty programme.
“We are not ready to negotiate with the federal government for the sake of monetary benefit to us but how genuinely the government will develop the region is at the centre of our discussion and anything less than that we will continue our struggle without further warning to the federal government,” the statement read.
“We demand the immediate implementation of the report of the 2014 national conference report, failure of which Nigeria will forcefully break-up. Oil-polluted lands in the Niger Delta must be cleaned up, while compensation should be paid to all oil-producing communities, e.g. Chevron fire outbreak of gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa state and Bonga Oil Spill in 2011;
“We also demand the immediate release of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) and Dr. Nnamdi Kanu.
“We also want the removal of Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd.) as Amnesty Coordinator. He does not understand the programmes and policies of the Amnesty and does not know us to the grassroots. “Hence he should be replaced with Dr. Felix Tuodolo who has been in the struggle of non-violence since 1980 and he was the designer of the amnesty programme.
“We carried out all these attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the region because of the statement made by President Buhari that he will develop those areas that gave him 95% votes during his presidential election last year. We, the Niger Delta people only gave him 5% hence we vowed that our oil money will not be used for the development of any other region.”
Despite the declaration of the JNDLF, the Niger Delta Avengers, the group which has led the attacks on oil installations since the resurgence of militancy, blew up pipelines in Bayelsa state on Friday.