Fresh threats in Niger Delta over Jonathan


THE Niger Delta Patriotic Front (NDPF), a radical civil society group in the oil and gas

region, has threatened to unleash fresh mayhem in the area if any harm is done to

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, by those allegedly scheming to hold onto power at

all cost.
A report by AkanimoReports says the Central Working Committee of the group rose from

a meeting on Thursday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, warning that they will

fight back if any harm is done to Jonathan.
Briefing anxious local newsmen at the end of their meeting at about 2.15pm,

Co-ordinator of the group, Mr. Dan Anderson, said they want the federal authorities to

explain to the Nigerian people why the return of ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua was

handled in secret and why soldiers were deployed to take charge at the airport without

the knowledge of the Acting President.
''We are of the view that the return of Yar'Adua would have been a canival with the

Acting President, members of the Executive Council of the Federation, leaders of the

ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and virtually all sectors of Nigeria on ground to

receive him. Since that was not done, we are of the view that the secret return of the

president is an ill wind that will do our country no good''.

Continuing, Mr. Anderson said, ''participants at this meeting resolved to support the Joint

Revolutionary Council (JRC), a militant group, in pushing for the convocation of a

Sovereign National Conference to determine the type of a country the Nigerian people

want. We cannot be a great country with the mess of the past 92 days''.

NDPF said it has has the capacity to mobilise the active wings of the Niger Delta to inflict

maximum damage on the country's oil and gas industry.

There were indications at the NDPF briefing that new insurgent groups in the delta would

pop up in the weeks ahead as public functionaries continue to subvert the 1999

It is, however, far from certain whether NDPF. poses any serious threat to Western

energy interests and to the Nigerian government. Besides their threat, there is the

possibility that the group. could evolve into a threatening militant organization.

For instance, it is suspected that some of their grassroots leaders may have been

involved in a small-scale bombing campaigns in 2006. Although NDPF has been

described as a "radical organization," in July 2006 some of their affiliate. groups claimed

credit for bombing the homes of a few individuals linked to some Nigerian politicians, for

instance the home of the brother-in-law of the then Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili, a

medical doctor.
As part of NDPF.'s warning, it issued a number of demands, which are familiar

grievances held by all of the political-militant groups in the delta, broadly,

socio-economic, political and environmental justice.

In tangible terms, their demands include: the repeal of the Land Use Decree of 1978; the

creation of more developmental agencies in the delta; properly funding the existing

developmental agencies in the delta; employment of delta indigenes by multinational

companies; and the reversal of a government decision to demolish Port Harcourt's

waterfront communities, which the Chibuike Amaechi administration alleges are hotbeds

for militant and criminal activity.
In the mean time, there are pockets of potentially violent groups springing up in the

delta, as backstage schemes for the 2011 general elections gradually hot up. As things

currently stand, the sheer level of youth violence occurring in the delta means that any

new development such as this should be carefully monitored.