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OPEN LETTER TO TOMPOLO ON THE NEED TO EXERCISE CAUTION 

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By Dickson Bruce Bekederemo
My brother and my leader, you are a product of the struggle, therefore I am not in the position to educate you about the wishes and aspirations of the people of Niger-Delta but permit me to refreshen your memory as to why so much blood of our gallant youths have been shed to water the tree of economic liberty. It is a natural principle of law that says, “What is affix on the land, below the land, and above the land belongs to the owner of the land”. This principle was recognized in both the Nigerian Independent constitution of 1960 and the Republican constitution of 1963. We lost ownership of what belonged to us by fortune of nature when Lt. Aguiyi Ironsi enacted his infamous decree No. 34 which abrogated the federal structure in exchange for unitary structure. In reaction, the Lt. Isaac Boro declared a Niger-Delta republic and embarked on a revolutionary war for 12days in 1966. In a bit to legalize what the majority tribe stole from us by fiat of obnoxious laws, the Nigerian state enacted the Nigerian petroleum Act of 1991 which vest ownership of oil on the Federal Government. The effect of which led to the enactment of “Kaima declaration” by Ijaw Youth Council on 11th December 1998 seeking for our natural right to ownership and control of our land and resources.
In January 2006, MEND was formed, and the aim was to have total control of the Niger-Delta oil wealth and return ownership of oil to oil-bearing communities. Then came the Niger-Delta Avengers in 2016 bearing their cross to Golgotha for the economic liberation of the Niger-Delta.
It is 6yrs down the line and we cannot afford to be seen doing things outside the ambit of our desire. We cannot be seen as the gate keepers protecting our stolen wealth for the constitutional thieves to enjoy. The right thing to be done at this moment is to use our connection and influence with the present administration to issue oil license to oil producing communities with the Federal government holding 40% equity shares in the license. This is the only way pipelines in the Niger-Delta can be protected.
In Zamfara state and other states in the North, solid minerals like gold, zinc and others have been in constant exploration by artisan miners for decades. The government of Zamfara state collect tax and purchase the gold from the miners. This practice can also be replicated in the Niger-Delta. Let our artisan local refinery owners buy crude oil legally from oil producing communities and refine same in line with international best practice for our local and international consumption. I think this is the solution to the oil quagmire we find ourselves. Any other solution will make our fallen heroes to turn in their graves and become very restless. I want to use this opportunity to pay homage to our fallen heroes who paid the ultimate price for us to take back what they took from us; Bombey Adokia, Joseph Jaman, Delefe, Ojugo, Ebi Ikoro, Emma Otorubu, Markson, Alati, Alatti Oruobo, Iganga, Left Terry, Kingsley Opuogai, Anderson, Sele, Issac Yangaboy, Alary Oruobo, Soso Amiafiemama, Gen. John Togo and so many others.
In the meantime, I want to urge us to be very cautious just as an Ife priest who worshipped Oromila once warned Oba Ovoranmwen, the son of Oba Adolor in 1888. “Caution! Caution!! As Ife once forewarned the dog against too close a friendship with the lion, which almost cost the dog its life”.
For years, they stole our God given bounty via constitutional means but God in his infinite mercy gave our people the idea to take back what belongs to us by any means necessary, so there is need to thread softly and carefully in order not to be seen undoing what God has done for the most subjugated people in Nigeria. I would like to add the statement of Ola Rotimi in his book titled Oba Ovoranmwen, “My friend, it is not borne out of love but the need for a clean mouth that made the hippopotamus to open its mouth wide for the river bird to pick out”. Caution, brother! Caution My leader!! in your dealing with our new friend to avoid unnecessary confrontation and hatred from your people.
Writing from Kiagbodo Town.
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