Militants Withdraw Quit Notice to Northerners and Yoruba
A group of militants in the Niger Delta region who earlier in the year issued a quit notice to all northerners and Yoruba living in Nigeria’s south-south region have withdrawn the notice.
The militants had given the northerners and Yoruba till October 1 to peacefully leave the region or face the threat of being forcibly removed upon the declaration of what they claimed would be a Niger Delta Republic.
The threat was however withdrawn on Friday through a new coalition, the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNDPC), formed in the region and comprising several militant groups.
The PNDPC which also claimed to have replaced the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) led by popular Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, as the representative group of all residents of the Niger Delta, said the youths who issued the quit notice gave PNDPC the mandate to withdraw it.
The PNDPC claiming to be the new negotiator for the region also said it had passed a vote of no confidence on PANDEF as led by Chief Clark and therefore disbanded PANDEF.
On Friday, PNDPC appointed His Royal Majesty, Pere Ayemi-Botu, paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom as the head of the PNDPC and named Chief Mike Loyibo as the coordinator/convener of the group.
Loyibo, whom the coalition said was appointed following his track records of integrity and honesty, 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.
“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,” Loyibo told The Nation.
Meanwhile, head of PANDEF, Chief Clark has described Loyibo’s PNDPC and the militant groups who earlier issued the quit notice, as imaginary bodies.
“We, the people in the Niger Delta, the elders, the women and the youths, welcome the Yoruba and northerners. Nobody knows those names in the newspapers. Let them come out to meet us, make their statement. They don’t exist”, Clark said.
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