By Nehru Odeh
The last has not been heard of the face-off between the federal government and Niger Delta militants over the continual marginalization of the people of the Niger Delta region.
Four years after their ceasefire, the Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters, a group of Niger Delta militants, have threatened to bomb Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory.
In a video posted by Africa Independent Television (AIT) on Tuesday the group accused the federal government of marginalizing the region and reneging on the promise to carry on with the amnesty programme.
A masked member of the group, reading from a script, said: “After accepting the amnesty pact, till date, there are no schools, no potable water, no light, no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy”.
The militant also complained that “no meaningful progress has been made” with the Ogboni clean-up project “because the Nigerian government has decided to place politics against the meaningful development of our people.”
He then asked the government to allow the region to manage its resources “the way Zamfara gold mining sector is being handled by their own people.”
“Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment… but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves. They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate,” a member of the group read from a statement.
“Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping, and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people. Now in our territorial waters, it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“Don’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos. As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people, we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time, we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy,” the militant averred.
This threat brings to the fore the continual marginalization of the people of the Niger Delta region and their angst, in spite of the fact that the bulk of Nigeria foreign exchange earnings – which is from crude oil – is derived from the region.
The people of that region believe they are being exploited by the federal government. And that has resulted in several face- offs between the militants on the one hand and government as well as multinational oil companies on the other.