Yenagoa – Udengs Eradiri, immediate past National President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), said on Tuesday that the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), is enjoying the support of external forces to carry out destruction of oil and gas facilities in the region.
He also disclosed that the Federal Government is aware of the collaboration involving NDA and the external forces, but the government had kept it under wraps.
The group had, penultimate week, called off its ceasefire and threatened fresh hostilities in the region which caused panic in official quarters.
Making the disclosure in an interview in Yenagoa, Eradiri faulted the government’s handling of the agitations of the militant group.
He asserted that the agitations in the Niger Delta resulted from long years of underdevelopment, neglect, lack of equity and insincerity, among other injustices.
Eradiri said though he did not believe in violent agitation, he was in support of the agitation by the Avengers, stressing that agitation is the only language the Federal Government understands.
According to him, the government must show more commitment and seriousness in addressing the causes of agitations if the government was ready to resolve the issues.
“The government is not serious. All they want to do is blackmail some persons politically and dent people’s images. I am from this area and I know how it works. All I want is for everything to be better.
”I believe and I know that all these Avengers’ stuff and threats are external. They are fueled by external forces; people who just want to disrupt things are behind it.
“Their thinking is that money will come out it through negotiation. Even the government knows about it. It is all about destabilising things and stealing money from system.
”My advice to the youths is that they should continue to agitate. Yes, the only language that they (Federal Government) understand is constant agitation. If they did not agitate, the Amnesty budget, you remember I was shouting, it was N20bn down from N56bn,” Eradiri said.
He continued: ”When the youths started agitation, it was moved to N35bn and now it is over N50bn, they (Amnesty operators) now have money to pay school fees and all of that.
“They were also shouting about the Niger Delta Ministry budget, now the government has increased it. When agitation started, we shouted about the Maritime University, they said they were going to kick off.
“Now, I am hearing President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N5bn in the new budget. So, if there is no agitation, will they do all these? So, let the youths agitate. Government, wake up to your responsibility.”
On the Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the former Ijaw youth leader said the group had lost focus and outlived its usefulness, insisting that the Federal Government did not need the organisation to address the Niger Delta question.
He said despite the fact that PANDEF’s effort had jerked the government to take some action, the forum has become an embarrassment and a disgrace to the people of the region.
“We have lost confidence in PANDEF. We no longer believe in them. I was part of those that brought up the idea when the government said they did not know whom to talk to in the region.
”We agreed to come together as one, hence we established PANDEF. But unfortunately, PANDEF has now lost focus. They are now talking about constitution and leadership. They have women’s wing, youths’ wing etc.
”At every point that we strive to make progress, we are the same persons to scatter it. Everyone is seeking audience. Let those elders go and rest, particularly Clark.
“We have no elders to report to; they want to be the rulers, owning the power. They seek to overthrow the IYC and all others. They want to be the leaders all because of the selfish gains they want to derive. PANDEF has lost its usefulness. The group is becoming an embarrassment and a disgrace to the Niger Delta,” Eradiri stated.
The post External Forces Backing Niger Delta Avengers – Former IYC President appeared first on Independent Nigeria.
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Author: Igoniko Oduma