As the Niger Delta Avengers continues to bomb oil pipelines and sabotage Nigeria’s wobbling economy, refusing the government’s plea to lay down arms, one man from Akwa Ibom State appears to think differently about the militants.
Ata Ikiddeh, a former special assistant on diaspora matters to ex-Akwa Ibom Gov. Godswill Akpabio said recently on Facebook that it took “five blown up oil pipelines” to get Femi Fani-Kayode, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, and a former Minister of Aviation, out of prison.
Mr. Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West/PDP) is the Senate Minority Leader.
“This government is a joke,” Mr. Ikiddeh said of the Buhari administration, apparently referring to the government handling of its war against corruption.
Mr. Fani-Kayode, alongside former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, is standing corruption trial for allegedly diverting N4.6 billion belonging to the federal government for political and personal use.
After spending days in prison custody, both Mr. Fani-Kayode and Mrs. Usman, were freed on bail by Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
When asked by a Facebook commentator, Edim Asanaenyi, if the militant group was now a military wing of the PDP, Mr. Ikiddeh responded, “I am afraid to admit that – but that’s what this government is turning the Avengers into: the ‘resistance’ wing of the PDP.
“A very dangerous scenario is unfolding. I wouldn’t be surprised if a copycat group in the North becomes the clandestine military wing of APC, not with their permission of course, but this is how these things begin to take shape, they get out of our control, Boko haram is our perfect example.”
Mr. Ikiddeh said his analysis on the Niger Delta Avengers has never been defective.
“If I tell you all PDP members in detention will be released by the end of July, you’ll wonder where I got that from (I don’t actually know how many there are but I know Omisore was arrested and detained yesterday) – just watch and start counting.
“I am not sure of Dasuki and Kanu, the rumour of a coup has made their releases a security risk to the state. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some kind of House arrest is fangled out for this two.”
PREMIUM TIMES spoke with Mr. Ikiddeh on telephone on Friday evening, and he confirmed that the Facebook comments were his.
Mr. Ikiddeh, who denied having any link with the militant group, said he was concerned with the effects the crisis was having on Nigeria.
“I am not bothered about whatever anyone says. I am only expressing my opinion. And I am doing so as a patriot. I love this country.
“Nigeria is still playing politics with the Niger Delta crisis. Why can’t we have a national conference, organized by the international community, on the Niger Delta?”
Mr. Ikiddeh had in a previous article he shared on Facebook likened the Niger Delta Avengers to a spider that attacks only when its peace is disturbed.
The article, titled “Buhari’s Calamity And The Spider In A Monkey Shadow” reads in parts:
“The spider will not attack until it’s disturbed. It’s quite a unique creature, it can starve itself for days, spread out on its web and not move until one of its feet picks up a tremor coming from any of the many angles from its kingdom. The disturbance sets its digestive juices in motion as it heads for the spot where a prey has been caught, its instinct to kill and devour takes over as it weaves its iron silk around its meal, sealing all escape routes. The spider will often attack prey larger than itself.
“Remember, the spider’s killer instinct takes over only when its webbed kingdom is disturbed. Have this in mind as I explain why the Avengers will keep bombing more oil installations in Nigeria and why the next phase of oil pipeline vandalisation will be more devastating.
“When the Niger Delta Avengers came on the scene late last year, they made a bucket list of demands. The demands may have sounded incoherent but there was a trail of consistency. The following featured prominently, implementation of the CONFAB report, a review of oil blocs licenses, Clean up of oil spill communities and Fiscal Federalism.
“But one key demand this government has consistently ignored is its refusal to stop harassing members of the opposition.
“The harassment and detention of defenceless PDP members has angered the Avengers. They feel the only way they can protect and defend the PDP from being completely destroyed by Buhari’s APC government is to strangle Buhari’s government economically by chewing up Nigeria’s oil pipelines, this is the crude method they’ve devised to defend the party they love, the only way they can tell Buhari, to hands off the PDP!
“Now, again when I say these things, I come under a torrent of abuse, when it happens exactly as I stated it, I am called a spokesperson of the Avengers.
“These are warnings from my tea leaves, as long as the Monkey government is bent on emasculating the opposition, the Spider will retaliate by attacking oil installations, that is the next phase of this war and it’s going to be devastating and humongous in scale. As usual I have warned!”
The All Progressives Congress, South South Zone, in June accused the PDP of sponsoring the Niger Delta Avengers against the Buhari administration.
“The zone is cocksure that the nefarious and ruinous activities of the ‘Avengers’ are not driven by any patriotic and altruistic impulse,” the APC had said in a communiqué after the party’s zonal meeting in Benin, Edo State.
“We have compelling reasons to strongly assert that these activities are sponsored and instigated by the opposition PDP to derail and frustrate the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari because of its determination to fight against corruption, stabilise and put our country on the path of sustainable development.”
The renewed attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta is said to have brought Nigeria’s oil production to a 30-year low.