Niger Delta elders on Wednesday raised the alarm that some unpatriotic but powerful individuals with an agenda to destabilize the Muhammadu Buhari administration and return Nigeria to the dark days, were responsible for the spate of bombings of oil facilities in the Niger Delta using a faceless group known as Niger Delta Avengers.

The elders, who spoke at a media briefing under the aegis of Concerned Niger Delta Elders, in Abuja, alleged that the sponsors of the bombings were uncomfortable with the pro-development and anti-corruption drive of the present administration and had therefore adopted sponsored attacks to create chaos so as to bring Nigeria backward for their selfish interest. a�?We are fully aware that those vested interests who have held Nigeria back for so long will not give up without a fight.

They will sow divisions, sponsor vile press criticisms at home and abroad, incite the public in an effort to create chaos rather relinquish the vice-like grip they have held on Nigeria,a�? the elders said. The National Coordinator of the elders under the aegis of Concerned Niger Delta Elders, CNDE, High Chief Mike Ekayama Loyibo, who read the position of the elders, described Niger Delta Avengers as a faceless, destructive elements bent on destroying the common heritage and the mainstay of Nigeria. The Niger Delta elders said they were fully in support of the current efforts of Buhari to bring development to the region and would not support any form of destruction which had crippled the transformation of the area in the past and caused untold hardship for innocent persons in the communities.

Lobiyo said: a�?While acknowledging that violence is not a solution to any human problem, we throw our weight behind the President to take decisive actions in addressing the issue seeing that the vandals are sabotaging the efforts of Mr. President in bringing speedy development to the Niger Delta region. a�?We advise that they Niger Delta Avengers join hands with forward-looking citizens to appreciate the obstacles we as a country have overcome and the progress the country has made under current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari this far, to help strengthen the plans the government had put in place to return Nigeria to the path of progress.

a�?We are equally optimistic that the government which has already extended a hand of fellowship to the NDA in a bid to bring about peace and prosperity to the people is always ready and willing to accede to genuine requests of the people. While applauding the Federal Government for keeping faith with the articles of the Presidential Amnesty Package for repentant Niger Delta youths and the appointment of a Niger Delta technocrat, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh, as the coordinator of the programme, the elders condemned the bombers of oil facilities describing the actions as acts of sabotage and criminality.

The Elders asked the perpetrators of destruction to immediately sheath their sword and join hands with the Buhari administration to develop the Niger Delta and Nigeria, saying that no development could be achieved in an atmosphere of chaos and vandalisation. The elders also appealed to the Nigerian military to be cautious in their operations to fish out the destroyers of oil facilities so as not to inflict untold hardship on innocent community members in the Niger Delta in the search for the culprits as was the case in the previous exercises. Among the Niger Delta elders at the press conference were former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Peremobowei Ebebi, Justice Tabai and Paul Kurugbe.
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor Abuja a��

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