The New Initiative for Credible Leadership, (NICL) has accused Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs for tacitly supporting emerging militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers by endorsing their destruction and sabotage of oil installations, which she defended as fighting against injustice.
The group warned the Federal Government to no longer disregard threats from Annkio Briggs and militants groups in the Niger Delta as idle talks since it is becoming clearer that there is a concrete and sinister agenda backed by prominent persons to destroy the country.
Reacting to Briggs expression of sympathy for the militant group in Abuja on Monday, a statement by NICL said her decision to endorse instead of strongly condemning the destructive group marked a new low in her ethnically motivated activism and that she has unveiled herself as the official spokesperson for the Niger Delta Avengers.
The statement by NICL National Coordinator, Rev Steven Onwu warned that it is dangerous for Nigeria to repeat the destructive years of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and Boko Haram, which were able to grow into killer groups because persons who should know better erroneously defended their crimes.
It said “It is frightening that Annkio Briggs did not for once in the interview condemn these criminals for what they are but was instead promoting them as right fighters. This is not a surprise to anyone as she threatened as far back as 2013 and later in February of last year that militancy will resume in the region for the people of Niger Delta to take ownership of the crude oil fields.
“Briggs had also threatened immediately after former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the election that it was time for the Niger Delta to secede and this was after Nigerians refused to be cowed by ethnic threats from some section of the Niger Delta that the country will boil if their son loses the presidential election. She had also threatened mayhem if the military is not withdrawn from the Niger Delta and suspects with corruption cases pending in court are not left off the hook.
“Her interview has brought clarity to the rapid ascent of the Niger Delta Avengers as a vicious group as it is now clear that her likes are the ones propping up the attackers. The authorities must therefore at this point revisit a letter from former President Olusegun Obasanjo that accused Annkio Briggs’ principal of training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons. It is apparent the trained terrorists are now using the acquired weapons against the Nigerian state.
“We are even more worried at the international support that the emerging terror group is enjoying with the foreign minister of one of those countries that pretend to be Nigeria’s friend issuing veiled threats to the federal government on their behalf.
“The federal government must not threat this ugly development as the activities of opportunistic criminals as the signs are far more ominous and Annkio Briggs’ interview has only served to reinforce this. Beyond the military that is going to after the rebels, steps must be taken on other fronts to eradicate this latest threat to Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
It warned that efforts to contrive a new round of amnesty for criminals who do not want to do day jobs is not feasible in view of the collapse of oil prices and reduction of output arising from the destruction of critical oil infrastructure.