Armed rebels of the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil and gas region, have threatened to cripple the country’s economy if President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) rigs himself back into office.
The threat is coming after Budget and National Planning Minister, Udoma Udo Udoma, had expressed delight that the economy under the guidance of President Buhari, was on the path of sustained growth.
Udoma who spoke while reviewing the growth performance of the economy observed that the encouraging result in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was also consistent with improvements in other indicators including inflation, foreign reserves, exchange rates, trade balance and capital inflows, amongst others.
For him these indices show an economy that is on the mend and on the path of recovery to sustained growth. ‘’It is a clear indication that our programmes and policies are on the right track’’, the obviously delighted minister said.
Figures of the last quarter of 2018 that were released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the real GDP grew by 2.38%, indicating the strongest quarter growth since the economy slipped into recession in 2016.
The full year 2018 real GDP stood at 1.93%, higher than the 0.82% growth rate recorded in 2017.
In a seeming departure from the endorsement of Buhari by the hitherto war lords of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) said they will make the country’s economy history if President Buhari twists the outcome of Saturday’s polls.
According to the armed rebels, ‘’we are in charge of the struggle now and our strike teams are active and gallantly waiting to receive instructions from the high command to cripple the Nigerian Economy again if Buhari is rigged back to office.
‘’And this time, it will be a perpetual recession for Nigeria, as we shall not relent until oil stops to flow in the pipes that braces our feet in our land.’’
The Avengers have accordingly warned multinational corporations operating in the oil region, ‘’not to be casualties to the ongoing securitisation and provocation in the Niger Delta by the Nigerian military command.’’
Victor Ebikabowei, a high ranking General of MEND popularly known as Boyloaf, is claiming that they are with Buhari because of the APC to field Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as the party’s candidate in 2023.
With Boyloaf on the side of Buhari is also Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who is on the wanted list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission *EFCC) over allegations of money laundering.
But the Avengers who are not on the same page with them, said if President Buhari insists on imposing himself on the people, ‘’we shall not relent until oil stops to flow in the pipes that braces our feet in our land.’’
NDA’s Spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo, in a statement asserted, ‘’as a warning and closing note; we want to resound it to members of the International Community, multinational corporations and subsidiaries’ operatives to withdraw their workforce and services from Niger Delta within the period of this elections.
They lashed out at the MEND ex-war lords for allegedly endorsing Buhari. In a seeming dramatic twist, some of the MEND top shots including Tompolo have publicly dissociated themselves from the purported endorsement of Buhari.
While tagging Buhari as an enemy of the Niger Delta people, the roaring militants added, ‘’we are adopting Atiku Abubakar, as the sole candidate to be voted for by all the people of the Niger Delta as a result of his political ideology, which is in tandem with our agitation for equitable and fair principles of federalism.
‘’The high command is convinced that when elected come February 16, 2019, the government of Atiku will not only restructure Nigeria, but will reverse the inimical ownership rights to natural resources alongside promises that falls within the basis upon which we declared Operations Red Economy against the evil government of Nigeria.
‘’We use this medium to advise Atiku that when elected into office, the cardinal demands of restructuring of Nigeria should kick start within six months to forestall further agitation from the Niger Delta.’’