The violent militant Niger Delta Avengers are not Nigerians from the oil-rich region—they are war-hardened fighters from the failed state of Somalia.
Annkio Briggs, a female activist from the Niger Delta just revealed this while delivering a lecture at the 17th Annual Convention of the Igbo Youth Movement in Enugu June 12.
She condemned the group for attacking oil and gas pipelines and installations in the region, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
The Avengers have been claiming responsibility for recent attacks on oil and power installations in the Niger Delta. The attacks have reduced almost by half Nigeria’s oil production and caused darkness across the country by destroying pipelines that supply gas to power stations.
She insisted that Nigeria must embrace true federalism before it can put an end to the political and ethnic instabilities spreading across the nation.
Briggs spoke alongside other guests at the occasion, including Ayo Adebanjo, a prominent member of the pan Yoruba Afenifere; former information minister Jerry Gana; and others. The occasion was chaired by former V.P. Alex Ekwueme.
The IYM convention, themed Nigeria still in pursuit of fiscal federalism, had all the speakers unite on the fact that restructuring Nigeria–so the states can control their resources, and get closer to the people—is the way out of the current logjam.
“The British colonial masters divided the country in such a way that every region will operate within its constitution,” said Ekwueme.
Gana, speaking on resource allocation, noted that the formula for allocating revenue enrich the federal government at the expense of the states.
“True fiscal federalism is the only form of association that will allow peace and stability in the country and each region should be allowed to manage its resources the way they want it,” Gana said.
Adebanjo faulted the constitution Nigeria currently operates on. “To put a stop to the various uprising in the country such as Niger Delta Avengers, MASSOB, IPOB etc, our constitution needs to be changed to allow for restructuring of the country under true federalism.”
The event was wrapped up with award presentation by the IYM President Elliot Uko to Gana, Adebanjo, and Briggs for their contribution to growth and development in the country.