The leading militant group operating in the oil rich region of southern Nigeria, Niger Delta Avengers has lampooned the commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, and commanding officer, Nigerian Navy Ship, Delta, Commodore Joseph Dzunye, over claims that two of its members were arrested.

In a statement issued on the militants’ website on Sunday, August 14, 2016, the Avengers challenged both Okojie and Dzunye to come to the creeks of Niger Delta, rather than stay in the cities and arrest “sleeper” agents, who they brand as “Avengers members” to attract favour from their bosses.

Spokesperson of the militant group, Mudoch Agbinibo, threw the challenge in a statement posted on the group’s website rebutting the claim by NNS Delta commander on Saturday, August 13, 2016, that two suspects, Stanley Tonghan and Felix Miyenminiye, arrested by the navy, few days ago, were members of the militant group.

The Niger Delta Avengers said that the two suspects were agents working in conjunction with security agencies and were paid N5 million by two leaders (names withheld) to give Nigeria military intelligence on the activities of the group.

“We made it clear that the Nigeria military is using sleepers’ agents to track or checkmate the activities and operation of the Niger Delta Avengers. But the more they try, the more they run into crisis with their employed sleeper agents,” the statement published on the group’s website said.

“Stanley Tonghan and Felix Miyenminiye that were arrested and paraded by the Nigeria Navy Delta are few of the sleeper agents working for Nigeria Military in conjunction with one Ayiri Emani and Michael Johnny.

“The suspects (Tonghan and Felix Miyenminiye) was paid 5 Million Naira to give Nigeria military intelligent on the activities of NDA. On failing to deliver, the suspects were arrested and tagged NDA members, what a shame.

“Stanley Tonghan and Felix Miyenminiye are not members of NDA we do not know or have any connection with them. The Navy Commanding Office NNS Delta, Warri (Commodore Joseph Dzunve) is trying to impress his boss in Abuja, but arresting sleeper agents recruited by his predecessor.

“Any criminal arrested is now an NDA member. Since we (NDA) started the struggle, none of our operatives has been arrested. All those in detention in the name of NDA are not part of NDA, the world should know this.

“Nigeria military have not seen embarrassment. NDA will keep embarrassing you because the only thing you are good at doing in the Niger Delta region is arrest and killing of innocent citizens of the Niger Delta in the name of looking for NDA and illegal bunkering.

“If the Nigeria military is serious about arresting NDA let them come to the creeks of the Niger Delta, that is where we dwell not the city. If I (Brig.Gen Moduch Agbinibo) was the Commanding Officer NNS Delta (Commodore Joseph Dzunve) and Commander of the so-called Operation Delta Safe (Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie), I would have been in the creeks instead of sitting at the comfort of my air-conditioned office,” the statement said.

To the elders of the Niger Delta, the group asserted: “Hope it clear to you, our elders, that the President Muhammadu Buhari- led government is not reliable, reasonable, responsible and not ready to dialogue.

“Can you tell the world the government official you been dialoguing with? Is it the President? On the other hand, is there any committee that is set up for it? We respect you our elders, as such stop behaving, as the Niger Delta is a seized region and stop acting like you are begging the government for dialogue.

“The worse the government will do is to bombard our villages and towns in the name of looking for NDA. Therefore, our elders should tread carefully with the Nigeria government.

“The reason behind military harassment of towns and villages in the Niger Delta is because NDA have not confronted the Nigeria military in battle. We are not scared in confronting you.

“The creeks of the Niger Delta belong to us, so defeating the Nigeria military is not hard for us. We have made it clear in many occasions that our business is to cripple the Nigeria economy not to kill military. The Nigeria military should, not we, (NDA) avoiding them, that is a sign of weakness,” the statement ended.

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