Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) led by its Commanding Officer, ‘Major General’ Johnmark Ezonebi(aka Obama) after an emergency meeting in the creek of Delta State, has described the position of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) against President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva over passage and signing of the PIB into law as reckless and parochial.
The RNDA, said instead of reckless threats and unfounded statements, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva should be commended for the passage of the PIB Bill into law.
The RNDA, which is a coalition of nine Militant groups who embraced the peace accord from the Federal Government, described the decision of the present administration to ensure the passage of the PIB and the signing into law as courageous, passionate and a show of love for the people of the Niger Delta region who have suffered over six decades but within the six years in office of President Muhammadu Buhari led APC administration, the narrative has changed.
According to the RNDA, ”Indeed, we the people are immensely grateful to the President to boldly and committedly actualize this long and protracted bill running over 16 years, and today it is passsed and signed into law, and this is a new dawn in our history as a people in the Niger Delta region. Our hope is rekindled by this iconic benevolence demonstrated by President Muhammadu Buhari to take away the reproach of neglect borne out of sheer wickedness by our own leaders who were Governors, National Assembly members, Ministers of Petroleum, Ministers of Niger Delta Affairs, Vice President, Acting President, and even President.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is our hero and father. We and our generations unborn will remain grateful to him for this historic and memorable signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into Law. We really appreciate his sincere love for our region as seen in his influence on the National Assembly to ensure the holistic and robust debate and also inclusion of all stakeholders in the process of passing the PIB into law for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region who suffer consequences of inhuman pattern of exploration and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas that have thrown the region into a dead trap because of pollution carried out by these multinational oil companies.
“It is also gratifying to state at this juncture that President Buhari being a man with a human heart went on to rewrite the wrongs done to our region and to reposition it for a new beginning of development. This is what our own son and brother, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a son of the region, a Niger Deltan from Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, who also is from an oil producing community, where in his local government oil was first discovered in 1956 in Oloibri community could not achieve.
“Jonathan whom we had hope on as Commander-in-Chief for six years who led the People’s Democratic Party, and also Diezani Allison Madukwe was Minister of Petroleum and daughter from the region could not pass the PIB into law despite the fact that PDP was in the majority in the National Assembly.
“We are indeed elated with the kind gesture of Mr. President, because he understands the plight of the people in the region having lived in Burutu in Delta State and as Minister of Petroleum under former Head of State, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, constructed Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Company, and also being the Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund(PTF) then impacted massively on the region.
“With this patriotism, he never hesitated to carve a niche for himself and to the benefit of the Niger Delta people with the assistance of our own brother and son, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva together with the leadership of the National Assembly, especially, the Deputy President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo Agege and Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, to bring the PIB into fruition.
“It is imperative to state at this juncture that the debate on three per cent given to oil producing communities is unnecessary because this runs into over $500 million, and this is a trust fund which oil producing communities will manage by themselves in collaboration with oil producing companies and the government. This is a beginning, and instead of fighting over this we should commend the President for his magnanimity and other prominent leaders who have played a very critical role to ensure passage and signing off the bill into law. These include the Minister of State Petroleum and also the Deputy President of the Senate.
“It is imperative to state here that it is unbecoming of Chief EK Clake and his PANDEF over unnecessary and unguarded utterances he has been voicing out on the pages of newspapers and television stations over the PIB and pressure mounted on President Buhari, why is it that Clarke and his group never came up with PANDEF to mount pressure on Jonathan to pass PIB into law, and where was Seriake Dickson who was in House of Reps and was later Governor of Bayelsa State for eight years and only Ijaw speaking Governor to rally round to ensure the PIB was passed into law by Jonathan but only now is using disparaging comments on Chief Timipre Sylva?
“The RNDA with the coalition of the nine militant groups in the creek that is agitating for the overall development of the Niger Delta Region condemn in totality PANDEF’s position for attacking and criticizing Mr President for assenting to the PIB over the 3 per cent for the oil producing communities.
“We want to use this medium to warn those troublemakers in the region that is trying to use this PIB 3 per cent issue to cause problem in the creek should quickly retrace their steps now and withdraw from whatever useless and meaningless threat statements been declared before now.
“The likes of the 21st Century Agitators Conscience Group led by one miscreant called Mr W O I Ezonebi, including MOSEIND and other groups in the region to retrace their steps by attacking and opposing the 3 percent approval and Mr. President accent to the bill. Rather they should toe the part of honesty and patriotism as true Nigerians to applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for making it possible for this great kind gesture for having the neglected emancipated people of the oil producing communities.”