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Group Demands Extension Of Referendum To Indigenous Peoples Of Niger Delta

Annkio Briggs

Following the letter by Arewa Youths Council, calling on Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to allow the Igbos have their ‘Biafra Republic’ through a referendum, a Niger Delta group has demanded that the referendum be extended to the oil-rich region to enable the indigenous people of the area go their own way.

In a statement made available to BigPen Online on Saturday, the group, Niger Delta Self Determination Movement, NDSDM, said that over 40 ethnic nationalities in the region are demanding that such a referendum must be extended to them in all the six states of the South- South geopolitical zone.

The group said that they were equally tired of the “over 100 years of stifling and oppressive system” occasioned by the amalgamation of Nigeria by Lord Lugard.

They reaffirmed their demand as contained in the Niger Delta Indigenous Peoples Charter of 100 percent ownership, control and management of natural resources in the region.

In the absence of this, they demand restructuring of the country to reflect fiscal federalism.

NDSDM, however condemned in its strongest terms alleged “false and misleading claim” by Prof. Ango Abdullahi that oil was developed with allocation gotten through groundnut pyramid from Northern part of the country.

“His attempt to rewrite history as the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum is nauseous”, it said.

On the October 1st, 2017, quit notice ultimatum to the Ndigbo by the Arewa youths, the group said that the order was a smokescreen to engage in another genocide and pogrom against all Southerners living in the North.

“The motive behind the order is same as exactly 50 years ago, diabolical and brimming with evil intentions against not only Ndigbo but also against the Indigenous peoples of the Niger Delta and, in fact the entire Southern ethnic nationalities.

“It is worthy of note that till now the Nigerian security apparatchik has failed to arrest any of the signatories of the said notice to unravel their true intentions.

“We therefore urge our people (all southerners) living in the North to be very vigilant, be on their guard and not to let their defenses down.

“We state without equivocation that any attempt to forcefully eject our people (Southerners) living in the North shall be met with the same measures in the Niger Delta”, the group warns.

Continuing, NDSDM, however listed the atrocities the “Arewa North” had committed against the Ndigbo, saying the “sins” include but not limited to the religious killings at the slightest or no provocation at all”.

Besides, they alleged other atrocities the North had committed against the Niger Delta to include “the expropriation of our oil wells and gas fields while sponsoring political and economic violence in our communities, environmental genocide (ecocide) and the well documented use of the military to commit genocide against oil producing communities” .

The statement which was signed by
Annkio Briggs, convener of the group, Chimennma Okolo, Emmanuel Udom as well as Rosemary Graham, also condemned the alleged threat and intimidation by another set of Arewa youths under the auspices of Northern Youth Leaders Forum which reportedly threatened that the North would not allow the Presidency to move to South in 2019.

“This statement to us is ill-advised and runs counter to all known democratic norms and culture.

“We therefore call all lovers of democracy all over the world, particularly the United Nations to take note of this veiled call to use threat and violence to intimidate Southerners who are equal partners in the project Nigeria.

“We call on the UN to note the threat of violence from the Northerners against the Southerners of Nigeria over the forth coming 2019 elections”, they added.