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Militants give fresh conditions for peace in Niger Delta

Posted by By Lindsay Barrett, Yenagoa on 2007/12/05 | Views: 461 |

Militants give fresh conditions for peace in Niger Delta


A militia leader in the Niger Delta has accepted President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s offer for peace, signalling the possibility of a gradual cessation of hostilities and instability in the oil rich region.

A militia leader in the Niger Delta has accepted President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s offer for peace, signalling the possibility of a gradual cessation of hostilities and instability in the oil rich region.

Speaking in his heavily fortified camp, in the dense mangrove forests of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, militia leader, Commander Boy Loff, said that the Niger Delta militants were ready to sign and fully observe a 12-month ceasefire with the Federal Government as a gesture of goodwill in response to the new stance of government illustrated by President Yar’ Adua’s declarations since assuming office.

Loff spoke while receiving the Chairman, Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Senator David Brigidi who led a large delegation of Committee members and Nigerian media to the camp as part of an ongoing outreach initiative to all the insurgent groups in the Niger Delta.

Loff, however, demanded the release of one Jomo Gbomo, while accusing the Federal Government of conniving with a foreign government to arrest him. He stated that prior to the arrest, militia leaders in the Niger Delta had agreed to a cease fire as directed by their leaders. He declared that the release of Jomo Gbomo, who he described as the “General Overseer” of the movement, was the only obstacle to the formal commencement of the 12-month ceasefire. He said that without the release the militant leader he would not guarantee the commencement of ceasefire.

He praised the Bayelsa State government for fully meeting its part of the terms of the peace deal negotiated through the state chapter of the Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee headed by Chief James Jephthah, adding that it was the Federal Government that defaulted by arranging the arrest and detention of Jomo Gbomo in Angola.

According to Loff, the 12-month ceasefire was to allow time for them to see how genuine President Yar’Adua’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta was.
At the end of the exchange, he presented the chairman of the peace committee with symbolic gifts of a ram, signalling goodwill as well two items: a bottle of brown water and a live machine gun bullet, symbolising the neglect and the anger of the peoples of the Niger Delta.
Senator Brigidi described himself as a peace emissary from President Yar’ Adua who he said had demonstrated a strong determination to achieve lasting peace in the region with a view to bringing development to the area.

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