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Niger Delta: New Militant Group Seeks Okah’s Release, Threatens Attacks

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A RELATIVELY new militant group has sprouted out in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil and gas region. The group which is made up of unrepentant insurgents, are out to press for the release of Henry Okah, a leading militant leader who galvanised the dreaded Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).
Okah is currently standing trial in South Africa. The new group, Niger Delta  Liberation Movement (NDLM), which has claimed responsibility for oil pipeline explosions in Bayelsa State, President Goodluck Jonathan’s home state, said they will take on oil facilities in the oil region if the Federal Government fails to initiate moves with South Africa to free Okah.
Their demand is however, coming at a time Nigeria is locked in a seeming bitter diplomatic conflict with South Africa.
Spokesperson of the insurgents, Opuama Anderson, told AkanimoReports in an online statement on Thursday, ”we are responsible for the recent oil pipeline explotions in Bayelsa, and we are ready to do more if the Federal Government refuses to meet out  demands”.
Anderson said they are demanding for free health care for all Niger Deal Indigines, and provision of free education from primary to university level in the oil and gas region
According to the militant group, ”we are asking the Federal Government to re-award the East-West Highway road contract from Edo State to Calabar, Cross River State to a more capable road construction  company. We are making this demand because it is the only Federal Government project that is common to the peoples of the Niger Delta”.
Fourthly, they want Abuja to ”release our brother, Comrade Henry Okah from detention in South Africa”.
They argued that if their demands are not met withing 30 days from Thursday, March 8, 2012 ”we will carry out more destruction of major oil pipelines across the Niger Delta”.

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