THE Niger Delta militants have disowned elders from the region who held a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday at the Aso Villa, Abuja, saying that the elders cannot represent them.
The militants emphasized that none of the stakeholders who met the President had the proper knowledge of the plight of the Niger Delta people, stressing that bombing of oil facilities in the region will continue
In separate statements, the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front (NDPDF) and the Concerned Militant Leaders (CML) expressed dissatisfaction that no former militant leader was among those chosen to be part of representatives of the region in the meeting with government.
Leaders of the two groups, General Ben and General Playboy maintained that such a meeting without any recognized former Niger Delta militant would not protect the interest of the people of the region.
They also doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity on the $10 billion development fund to be earmarked for the Niger Delta.
“Pipeline bombing cannot stop because the people going for the meeting do not know why they are going there. It is not the first, second, or third time and would not be the last. So, we cannot be deceived or bamboozled by whatever tag is given to the meeting.
“We insist on implementation of the report of the National Conference and other reports on the development of Niger Delta region. Anything short of this is insincere and will not be accepted. For a genuine peace, past reports of several commissions on Niger Delta must be visited,” they said.
General Playboy said: “Our elders and leaders are not helping matters at all. They do not really know the plight of Niger Delta people because they are wealthy, quite rich and do not take issues about the region seriously.
“They do not know the common people in the region because they are not based in Niger Delta and cannot show holistic commitment to our struggle. Our elders represent themselves, and not the people in the rural areas.
“We don’t need people who will play politics with the genuine struggle of Niger Delta people. We don’t want people, who are not agitators. The real agitators are people like Alhaji Asari Dokubo, High Chief Government Tompolo, Egberipapa, General Africa, General Joshua and many others.
“These are the kind of people that can negotiate for our people. They know the plights of the Niger Delta people because they live in the same environment with them. They are not based abroad. They come down to the communities to know the feelings of the people. Such people should represent us.”
General Playboy, however, noted that their position did not mean that they were disrespectful to the elders in the region, insisting that they (elders) were not needed at the meeting with the President.