The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), which claims to be the ‘highest organ’ of all the freedom fighting bodies in the Niger Delta, has revealed its terms for a ceasefire.
The group, which had earlier threatened to launch missile attacks on the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, National Assembly complex and NNPC Towers in Abuja among others, said its decision not to go ahead with the missile attacks was due to the federal government’s declaration of ceasefire and offer of dialogue.
The militant group, however, said government would have to comply with its demands if it wants sustained peace in the region.
Among the group’s demands is the immediate release of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; establishment of the Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State and reversal of the order to freeze the bank accounts of elusive former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, better known as Tompolo, among others.
The JNDLF threatened “to go after” Niger Delta governors, who are its representatives in negotiations with the federal government “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.
On the decision to back down on its threat to launch six missiles simultaneously against some targeted areas and shutting down of the nation’s airspace, the group claimed that the federal government and some international nations sent it mails, pleading with it to open talks with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“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 JNDLF said.
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 immediate sack of Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.), 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 (rtd) and 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”.
The militants asked the government to replace Boroh with Dr. Felix Tuodolo, who they claimed has been in the struggle of non-violence since 1980 and was the originator of 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”.