The latest group is called the Ultimate Warriors of Niger Delta and its creation closely followed that of equally new group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
There’s a new militant group in the Niger Delta, and there will soon be more.
The ultimate warriors announced their arrival on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, and of course they had threats and demands to make.
“We are also behind the recent pipeline bombing in the Niger Delta region and I can assure you we will not stop until the EPZ project and the Maritime University are totally completed and start operations,” the group said via a statement released by spokesman, Sibiri Taiowoh.
“We want to be the ones to be safe guarding oil pipeline in our area so as to create more jobs for our people. We would resist any attempt to give surveillance contracts of pipeline in our backyard to foreigners. We want the pipeline jobs to be given to our indigenous people. We also want 60 per cent of the oil blocs to be allocated to the Niger Deltans…” it added.
It goes without saying that the ultimate warriors appeared because they saw the global attention that NDA was getting and how the latter group had pushed the Nigerian government to its knees.
President Muhammadu Buhari had started by talking tough saying he would deal with the militants like he dealt with Boko Haram and would show them no mercy.
Buhari even sent in the military and citizens were prepared for a total showdown between the troops and the militants. However, after NDA destroyed a large number of oil installations and threatened Nigeria’s crude oil and electricity supply, the government cowered.
The militants suddenly became “brothers” to Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu as he begged them to give peace a chance.
“My first appeal will be to my brothers who are engaged in these acts of protest is to sheath their sword and daggers and come back to the table so that we can have a conversation,” Kachikwu said on Monday, June 6, while speaking to journalists on Monday in Abuja.
“The answer to the issue will not be heating up the grounds. The Federal Government is committed to continue the dialogue and the president has appointed a team,” he added.
Kachikwu also said that Buhari had ordered the suspension of military operations in the Niger Delta to give room for the dialogue.
The problem with the government’s decision to settle for a dialogue, is that it now seems to be operating from a position of weakness. If Buhari and his people wanted a dialogue, that should have been their first approach.
However, promising a fight to the finish and then bowing to the militants’ demands will only encourage more militants to threaten the government, as can be seen from the emergence of the ultimate warriors.
The Nigerian government needs to develop its military and tactical strength and stop putting itself at the mercy of every rogue group that decides it’s in need of a payday.
Until then, we can begin to prepare for the appearance of the Niger Delta Justice League, Supermen of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Hulk Hogans.