Sylvester Idowu in Warri
A militant group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) last night threatened to bomb another oil facility in protest against alleged random arrests by the military under the guise of looking for its members.
The group, which claimed it is not Urhobo Militant, denounced one Gabriel Ogbudje, who was arrested last week along Abraka-Agbor road as one of its key members.
It said in a statement signed by its spokesman, Aldo Agbalaja, “Again, the Nigerian Army, in a bid to save face, announced the arrest of ‘the declarer of Operation Crocodile Tears’ and its spokesman said his name is Gabriel Ogbudje.
“By the so-called arrest, these jesters are suggesting that they have finally reached the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate. For the avoidance of doubts, we do not know this said Gabriel Ogbudje as either a member or leader so we wonder why he was attributed with the mandate’s ongoing operation”, it added.
The Urhobo militant group decried the ongoing military exercise code-named Operation Crocodile Smile saying it was just a charade.
“The ongoing so-called operation, which the deceptive military administration has guised as an innocent training drill (Operation Crocodile Smile) is nothing but a facade, put together just to retire freshly stolen military fund and in the bid to make the cover-up look tight.
“These unprofessional and ill-trained men have been feverishly engaged in a spree of blind arrests; just anyone that comes in sight, which explains the senseless arrest and parade of a septuagenarian, some teenagers and a pregnant woman as militants.
“The High Command of the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate has watched with disgust the unprofessional approach of the Nigerian armed forces in their so-called campaign against our struggle and we feel sad to say this system is a pathetic waste of time and the resources of the peoples of this contraption called Nigeria.
“How can a supposedly national defense force operate without precise intelligence, but will rather use the people’s resources to buy cover-ups for itself?”, it asked.
“To prove to the world that the Nigerian armed forces have been engaged in a blind and random arrest of mostly innocent and helpless community people, we shall be making a very loud statement to intimidate the smiling crocodile”, it said.
Meanwhile, OML 30 Community Developmet Board, comprising representatives of Isoko, Urhobo, Itsekiris and Ndokwas, yesterday decried the destruction of oil facilities in Urhoboland, noting that it was not in the character of Urhobos to employ violence in agitating for their rights.
OML 30 is a body put together by the government and Joint Venture Partners (JVP) by oil companies for the development of host communities to multinational oil firms operating in Delta Central district in Delta Sate.
Chairman of the Board, Hon. Morris Idiovwa said in a statement that the Urhobos were still mindful of the fact that not all problems were solvable through force of violence.
He therefore appealed to youths in Urhoboland to embrace peace stressing that they should not turn the area to a battle ground which they might regret later, apparently referring to the activities of the militant group.
“So much as we desire our people and our land to receive the appropriate return for their contributions to Nigeria’s national development, through our physical labour and natural resources, we believe there are many routes to access to access the market.
“Urhobo nation has been patient and peaceful and we believe that we are drawing closer to getting our dues from the Nigerian union, therefore, we want to call on all our youths not to give in to the lure and invitation to violence.
“Violence is not our pattern, that is not who we are. We do not want to turn Urhobo land to a battle ground and so we call on all youth groups and their leadership to reach out to all our youths not to start a process that is likely to soil the good name that our fore-fathers bequeathed to us”, he pleaded.
Hon. Idiovwa decried a couple of unwholesome activities in parts of Urhobo land which he said have led to the destruction of some valuable oil and gas assets.
He therefore assured the federal government and the oil prospecting companies operating in Urhoboland that the board will do all that is needed to be done to end incidences of oil destructions in the area.