Stay away from Bayelsa, ex-militant leader, Africa, tells Avengers

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A prominent ex-militant leader, Mr. Africanus Ukparasia, yesterday, vowed to resist renewed threats by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to begin attacks on oil installations in the region. Ukparasia, formerly known in the creeks of the Niger Delta region as ‘General’ Africa warned the NDA to stay away from the region, especially his home state of Bayelsa.

The former commander of the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) reportedly spoke in Yenagoa when he patrolled the creeks of Bayelsa. Ukparasia, who chairs the Bayelsa State Waterways Security Task Force (BSWSTF), said he would not joke with his mandate to secure the creeks of the state and stop the nefarious activities of avengers and their ilk. He said the gods of Bayelsa would not allow avengers to cause chaos, and further degrade the state’s environment, noting that his task force was ready to deal decisively with anybody, who tried to turn the state into a theatre of a needless war and destruction of lives and property.

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Ukparasia said he would not fold his arms and watch a ragtag group to give the military reasons to invade Niger Delta communities. “We advise Bayelsans to report any suspicious movement in their communities, as it is the duty of all to be vigilant against the nefarious activities of criminals who cause problems to give the military reason to invade our communities for innocent people to suffer,” he said.

He said the task force would no longer allow the destruction of oil facilities in Bayelsa, with the attendant consequences of low federal allocation and nonpayment of salaries. He also advised youths not to fall for the antics of some persons deceiving them to buy firearms to partake in a phantom arms buyback programme of the Federal Government.

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He said: “The Waterways Security Task Force headed by me was legally established by the Federal Government in collaboration with the Bayelsa state Government to stop crime and criminal activities along the waterways of Bayelsa state. “We pledge to work with the security agencies to maintain peace and order in the state.

We, hereby, warn that anyone trying to sabotage the peace in the state will be decisively dealt with as no stone will be left unturned to maintain the peace currently being enjoyed in the state. “We call on the security agencies to watch the activities of some undesirable elements in our society to avert any possible breakdown of law and order.” He advised Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State to imitate his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, by working with all persons that could bring peace to the region regardless of party affiliations.

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In a related development, following the renewed threats by avengers, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), summoned all the former Niger Delta agitators to an emergency meeting. A statement by PAP’s Media Consultant, Mr. Wabiye Idoniboyeobu, said the meeting held in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, on Wednesday, adding that all the ex-agitators vowed to maintain the peace in the region.

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