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Niger Delta Avengers

There seemed to be a wave of disobedience ranging from President Mohammadu Buhari, flouting several court orders to the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), in the recent strike also contravening a court injunction from the federal government, stopping them (NLC) from going on strike and now to the Nigerian army, disobeying the two weeks ceasefire which later was extended to 30 days for dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group calling for Niger Delta Republic.

The group has also claimed responsibility of numerous vandalized pipelines in the region, warning the oil companies and the federal government not to embark on any repairs.

In the face of the truce, the military has apprehended a former Niger Delta militant leader, Aboy Francis Muturu, also known as General Aboy, by the 4th Brigade in Benin City, capital of Edo State.

According to reports, Mr. Muturu was arrested in the presence of his wife in the early hours of Friday at his residence in Bomadi Town of Delta state. He was among the militants who accepted late President Musa Yar’Adua’s amnesty programme.

Beauty Aboy Muturu, wife of General Aboy, confirmed the arrest to journalists, saying since his arrest, the former militant leader has been held in an unknown destination and keep incommunicado from his lawyers and from his family.

Omes Ogedegbe, a Warri-based lawyer and counsel to General Aboy has threatened legal action against the Nigerian Army.

In a letter to the army chief, General Tukur Buratai, the lawyer, who is also a human rights activist and national co-ordinator of Conference for the Actualisation of Human Rights, described the former militant’s arrest as illegal and provocative.

“That upon the embrace of the amnesty programme, our client has long denounced militancy as he is currently the managing director of Vicmut Hotels Limited located in Bomadi main town with a laudable staff strength,” the letter to the army boss said.

“That since the abduction of ex-militant General Aboy Francis Muturu on the 7th of June, 2016, the whereabouts of ex-General Aboy Francis Muturu has remained unknown neither has the family any clue as to his whereabouts save for the fact that Captain Robert of the 222 Battalion was part of the team [that arrested the ex-militant]”

Ogedegbe also said that if the Nigerian Army fails to release his client within the next 48 hours, he would institute a legal action to enforce the fundamental human rights of the former warlord.

Capt. Jonah Unuakhalu, the assistant director of the public relations unit of the 4 Brigade Benin, denied knowledge of the incident when contacted.

There has been a resurgence of unrest in the oil-rich region in southern Nigeria with a new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers mounting attacks against oil production in the region. Splinter militant groups have also emerged claiming allegiance with the Avengers.

The federal government leaked news to the Nigerian media that there was a 30-day ceasefire agreement with the Niger Delta Avengers and other militants in the Niger Delta but the Avengers had refuted the report saying that it has not been in any negotiation with the Nigerian government.