IJAW People Development Initiative, IPDI, has said President Muhammadu Buhari could not truncate genuine non-violent agitation in Niger Delta region unless his administration stopped the aged-long marginalization of the people.
National President of IPDI, Mr. Austin Ozobo, stated this in reaction to the President’s fresh warning to militants and aggrieved persons in the communities to drop their confrontational stance and work with those charged with implementing the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, for a review.
“People outside the region have shared oil blocs, top employment in multinational companies, and managerial appointments of NNPC are held mostly by people from non-oil producing communities, there is no rapid development in the region and the president thinks people would be contented?” he queried.
Also, chairman of Niger Delta Bishops Forum, Archbishop God-Dowell Avwomakpa, has urged the military to review its operational onslaught on young adults who have taken to militancy, arguing that their current operation won’t end militancy.
Avwomakpa, who fought the Nigerian civil war as a young soldier before he got called to the vineyard, noted that negotiation, engagement of respected community/religious leaders, diplomacy and strategic planning were key in any warfare beyond that as a nation, Nigeria has obligations to the citizens.
Some of the obligations, he said, included protection of lives and the territories of the nation in addition to the provision of social amenities as well as other forms of welfarism that can make life meaningful and better for the citizens.
Meanwhile, groups in the Niger Delta have called on the Niger Delta Avengers, Ogbesu Red Ties and other agitators in the region to embrace dialogue with the Federal Government to resolve problems in the region.
Akwacross Freedom Movement, AFM and Bakassi Strike Force, BSF, of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states respectively, while dissociating themselves from attack on oil facilities, noted that they were not in support of destruction of facilities in the region.
The groups, in a statement by their leaders, Master Simply and Ibok Eyo of BSF and AFM urged the Federal Government to do all within its power to stop such ‘stupid agitations.’
They noted that the agitations of Niger Delta Avengers and Ogbesu Red Ties were alien to the interest of the people of Niger Delta region. Ozobo added, “Amnesty programme is not the problem of Niger Delta, so reviewing it or not does not provide answer to the developmental demands of the region.”
Ozobo described the president’s threat to deal with aggrieved persons and communities in the region as obnoxious and unfortunate, saying: “Such will be an abuse of constitutional rights Nigerians to agitate for better welfare embedded in Africa Charter and Peoples Rights.”