Buhari CJN
File picture of militants (photo: Reuters)

Niger Delta Militants have threatened to secede from Nigeria if President Muhammadu Buhari is re-elected for a second term in office.

This threat was contained in a statement by a coalition of militants in a reaction to the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Walter Onnoghen for allegedly omitting to declare his assets.

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The statement was signed by the coalition of militants: General John Duke (Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators), General Simply Benjamin (Bakassi Strike Force), General Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors) and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters).

According to the statement, “The CJN is suffering just because he is from the minority area of the South-South, the Niger Delta region.

“This is definitely a petition plotted by the Presidency to forcefully remove the incumbent CJN from office and replace him with a northerner.”

It added that “In the first instance, President Muhammadu Buhari was not disposed to Justice Omnoghen’s appointment to this position, which is why he refused to confirm the appointment after so many months of serving in an acting capacity.

“It was during the period of his sickness, while in Britain, that the acting President, Prof. Osinbajo, confirmed the appointment.

“We wish to also recall that in August last year, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa of Bayelsa State, who was the most senior and most qualified officer at the time, was appointed to the position of acting Director-General of the Department of State Security by Prof. Osinbajo, only to be replaced with a retired and junior officer to Mr. Seiyefa, Mr. Yusuf Magji Bichi, by President Buhari, as soon as he resumed duties.

“We hereby vehemently resist any attempt to remove CJN, Walter Omnoghen from office.

“These go to confirm that there is a high level of hatred, injustice, discrimination and marginalization of the Niger Delta region by the APC-led government over the past three years.”

It added that a former president, Goodluck Jonathan, was disgraced out of office with Buhari brought in by some northern cabals.

Also, the militants called on “northerners and Yorubas, who own oil wells in the Niger Delta to prepare to vacate immediately; we also want to warn our Niger Delta brothers, who are working for Buhari to watch their back and know that we are watching them and their family members. We warn them to stop campaigning for Buhari in the Niger Delta. Be warned.

“Therefore, we want to inform Nigerians and the international community that any attempt by President Buhari to continue in office beyond May 2019, will be resisted by all means necessary.

“If they succeed in rigging election and bring back Buhari, then, Nigeria should prepare to exist without the Niger Delta oil. Niger Delta will not be part of Nigeria anymore.

“The northerners should also prepare to leave the Niger Delta if President Buhari continues beyond May 2019; we are prepared to strike once and for all and declare our Sovereign Niger Delta Republic.