A coalition of Niger Delta militant groups has threatened that failure of the Nigerian government to adopt full devolution of power and fiscal federalism would amount to a declaration of Niger Delta Republic.
The threat is coming barely a week after the National Assembly had in its constitutional amendment exercise rejected the devolution of powers to states.
However, on Saturday, the militants, who spoke under the aegis of the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, stated that they were prepared to mobilise other agitating groups in the oil rich region to actualise a Niger Delta Republic.
A statement signed by nine militant leaders cautioned that the people of the Niger Delta were prepared to secede if the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism were not put in place.
Those who signed the statement included General John Duku of the Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; General Ekpo Ekpo of Niger Delta Volunteers; General Osarolor Nedam of Niger Delta Warriors and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete of Niger Delta Peoples Fighters.
Other were Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters; Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall of the Niger Delta Movement for Justice; Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson of Niger Delta Fighters Network; Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate and Major-Gen. Abiye Tariah of Niger Delta Development Network.
The statement read in parts: “we have fully resolved to re-echo the following for the umpteenth time: That the authority to represent the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities no longer rests on the current leadership of PANDEF. The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA) has since withdrawn its support and reliance on the current leadership of PANDEF; as the mouth piece of the peoples of the Niger Delta.
“The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators will rally round all other agitating groups in the Niger Delta for the actualization of the Niger Delta Republic. This will give us the freedom to develop ourselves and at our own pace.
“That the least considerable action on the part of the federal government, is the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism. Anything short of that, the people of the Niger Delta will go their separate way.
“That the Coalition will work to convince other Agitators in the Niger Delta for a Collaborative action to ensure the least acceptable demand which is total devolution of power and fiscal federalism.
“That the people of the Niger Delta will fully support the call for a referendum by other agitators in the country.
“The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators firmly resolves to pursue its decision and actualize them by any means necessary.”