Militants in the Niger Delta militants have withdrawn the October 1 quit notice issued to Northerners and people of Yoruba extraction living in the region.
The withdrawal of the quit notice was made known by the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress, a new group that claimed to have the mandate to negotiate for the Niger Delta with the Federal Government and other interested stakeholders.
The group said the issuers of the quit notice gave them the mandate to withdraw it.
The coalition had also announced the disbandment of the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum after passing a vote of no confidence on the group and constituted PNDPC as the new negotiator for the region.
The militant groups appointed His Royal Majesty Pere Ayemi-Botu, the paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, as the head of the PNDPC and named Chief Mike Loyibo as the coordinator/convener of the group.
The coalition comprises the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta Joint Revolutionary Crusaders Council, Niger Delta Supreme Egbesu Fighters, Niger Delta Red Scorpion Fighters, Niger Delta Youth Mandate for Justice, Niger Delta People’s Liberation Force, Niger Delta Fighters for Resource Control, Niger Delta for Urhobo Resource Control and Bakassi People’s Liberation Force.
Loyibo, whom the coalition said was appointed following his track records of integrity and honesty, confirmed that the coalition mandated the PNPDC to announce the withdrawal of the quit notice.
He said the youths were remorseful after he and members of the new group met with them and told them the implications of the quit notice to the peace and development of the region.
He said: “People should disregard the quit notice from our youths. I have spoken to many of them and they mandated me to withdraw it on their behalf.
“They have called off the quit notice and discharged it. Everybody in the region in the west, east and north should go about their normal business. I can guarantee them of their safety.
“The entire Niger Delta people are not in agreement with the quit notice issue. The boys that issued it are very remorseful. So, they have asked me, because they mandated me to speak for them and the region, to discharge the quit notice.
“This quit notice and counter quit notice found their foundations from the precolonial days. The three leaders that negotiated the independence of Nigeria did not love themselves.
“It was the crisis that extended to our era where everybody begins to struggle for their own. I don’t believe in regional or tribal considerations. As Ijaw people, those that had been good to us did not come from our region.”
Loyibo said the youths were only suspicious that the Federal Government was trying to weaken them through promises that they might not fulfill at last.
Loyibo said the leaders also told the youths to also hold their governors, appointees and regional interventionist agencies responsible for lack of leadership and development.
He blamed the Arewa youths for causing tension in the polity and frowned on the way and manner the government treated them.
He noted that nobody should be treated as a second class citizen adding that all must be held as equal stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
The Ijaw leader, however, said the youths in the region still believed in the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and their ability to fulfill the promises they made to the region.
He said: “We are peace loving people. Our diversity is our strength. Mr. President has brought a lot of integrity to governance and he came in with massive goodwill. So, I believe that this is the time he should be addressing the issue.
“The late President Yar’Adua took the bull by the horn and declared amnesty and today amnesty is working. The place is being transformed in human capacity building.
“This is not the time for us to bring violence. When the militants and the agitators and the people of the Niger Delta named us to represent the Niger Delta as the new face, it did not come to us as a surprise because some of us have long history of integrity and openness.
“We believe that Nigeria will continue to remain as one under a peaceful situation. So, I hereby, use this medium to formally discharge that quit notice. It is of no effects and there is no element of seriousness and the people that did it are very remorseful after we met with them and scolded them.”