NEW militant group the Adaka Boro Avengers (Aba) have vowed to declare the independent Republic of Niger Delta later on today in a development that has heightened tension in the region forcing the military to flood it with troops.
Over recent months, militancy has returned to the Niger Delta on a large scale, with several armed groups taking up arms against the government. Several talks have been organised to find a compromise, with pre-negotiations already beginning but several groups like Aba and the Niger Delta Avengers have shunned the government’s offer.
In response to Aba’s threat, the Nigerian military has warned that the declaration by the little known warlords would be met with the strongest resistance, adding that it would not allow anybody to hold the country to ransom. Already, residents of several Ijaw communities have started to flee Kaiama, the hometown of the late Major Jasper Adaka Boro in Kolokuma Opukuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, the Joint Task Force Commander in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Delta Safe, said that the Nigerian Armed Forces would not abdicate their responsibility to protect lives, property and the territorial integrity of the country. Describing the group’s threat to secede as faceless, Rear Admiral Okojie asked the people of the region to go about their normal duties, noting that no group or individual could stop anybody from any region in the country to go about their normal business.
However, Aba insisted after meeting with other militant groups in the region that it had concluded arrangements to declare the Niger Delta region as an independent republic on August 1. It also gave the federal government an ultimatum to withdraw its personnel and establishments from the region before today.
Aba spokesman, General Edmos Ayayeibo, said: “The federal government must move all military personnel and all government agencies out of the Niger Delta. If they refuse to heed to our warning, we will use so many as example in the Niger Delta region on the due date.”
Reacting to the threat, some Niger Delta elders and leaders of thought of Ijaw extraction, led by Chief Edwin Clark met in Warri, Delta State on Saturday and cautioned the militants against such threats. They added that what the Ijaw nation wanted was true federalism and the immediate restructuring of the Nigerian nation to enhance development, progress and peace.