A professed member of the Niger Delta Avengers has warned the life of President Muhammadu Buhari will be in danger if he visits Ogoniland, the oil rich area of Rivers state.
In a recording sent to IBTimes UK, a man is heard saying during a phone conversation with one of the hosts of the UK-based Radio Biafra that Buhari would be signing his death warrant by visiting the delta.
Buhari is due to visit several states in southeastern Nigeria to discuss with local leaders ways to tackle renewed violence in the area. The president’s planned visit, expected to begin on Thursday (2 June 2016) – comes amid attacks on oil pipelines blamed on the new group Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
The attacks have partially halted oil production and forced Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell to close at least two plants. “Buhari is trying to visit Ogoniland, but he should sign his death warrant before coming to Port Harcourt or try to visit any state of the Niger Delta community, Biafra land,” the suspected NDA member said.
“We are starting a dance he cannot finish. We shall dance like vultures. He [Buhari] has dared to wake a sleeping lion, but I promise him this time around if he tries to step his foot in any community of the Niger Delta, in Biafraland, he will not go back alive.
“Any Niger Deltan who will try to walk with Buhari shall also go to his grave that day. This is our assurance.”
The alleged militants also condemned the Nigerian security forces for shooting pro-Biafran demonstrators during commemorations to pay homage to the victims of the Nigerian Civil War on Monday. “The Nigerian government shot and killed our brothers. They showed us are the monsters,” the man said.
He then urged all pro-Biafrans to pray for Nnamdi Kanu, the director of radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra [IPOB], who is standing trial on six counts of treasonable felony charges.
Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar however, Nigeria’s director of defence information, dismissed the NDA’s threats.
“Niger Delta is part of Nigeria and will remain part of Nigeria for life. Buhari is the president, he is number one, he can go anywhere he wants,” he said.
“[The] NDA are just criminals and we are treating them as criminals. We are not being intimidated, we remain focused to ensure security in the country and that Nigeria remains one. Nobody is above the interest of the country.”
“We cannot and will not tolerate what these people are doing. In the long run, they will surely pay for they have done.”
The Nigerian environment minister Amina Mohammed recently announced the president would visit Ogoniland on Thursday, June 2.
She said President Buhari would launch a clean-up program that will help to restore the region’s fragile ecosystem.
According to a United Nations Environmental Programme report released in 2011, Ogoniland has suffered catastrophic environmental damage that will take 25-30 years to clear up.