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JONATHAN: OGONI, IJAW JOIN FORCES

By DANIEL ALABRAH, The Hague




A coalition of civil society groups, ethnic nationalities and the academia from Nigeria has raised alarm over reports of massive deployment of soldiers in the wake of ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua's return to the country.

Representatives of the coalition comprising the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC), Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and the Centre for Advance Social Science, met at The Hague, Netherlands, at the end of the Niger Delta peace conference organized by the Rotterdam-based Hope for Niger Peace Campaign (HNDC).

A statement entitled: 'State of the Nation,' released to Nigerian newsmen who attended the conference and signed by Dr Atuboyedia Obianime (INC), Mr Ledum Mitee (MOSOP), Anyakwee Nsirimovu (NDCSC), Dr Chris Ekiyor (IYC), and Dr Sofiri Joab-Peterside (representative of the academia), warned that some unpatriotic Nigerians were trying to reap political and social capital from the crisis arising from Yar'Adua's ill-health.

The coalition condemned the statement credited to the Army Chief that his loyalty was to Yar'Adua and not the Nigerian Constitution.

'Nigerians demand an explanation for the massive military movement between Kaduna and Abuja, the redeployment of soldiers in the Brigade of Guards, the controversy surrounding it and the statement credited to Lt. General Abdurahman Dambazzau, the Chief of Army Staff, that his loyalty is to President Yar'Adua and not the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the realm of the Nigerian state.'

It also demanded an explanation for the 'discourteous shipment of President Yar'Adua into the country without the knowledge of the Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.'

'We warn those who seek to reap political and social capital from this turbulence in the polity; create ethnic tension and want to play politics with the 'Servant Leader's health to desist from this unwholesome act,' the coalition stated.

It noted that the position of the Acting President occupied by Dr Goodluck Jonathan is a creation of the National Assembly, based on the doctrine of necessity and the spirit of the Nigerian constitution.

'So, any person/persons who by their cynical actions create disrespect to that institution irrespective of his/her position (political or marital) should be ready to face obvious attendant statutory consequences,' it further stated.