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Niger Delta: Another faulty peace move

Niger Delta, in recent times, has become a region in Nigeria that whenever it coughs, the entire country shivers like the fish under its oceanic terrain. It has also assumed a dimension that even the government at the state and  federal levels usually have a second thought pertaining  to the policies they promulgate as they affect the region. A time was when  the youths of the region took the law into their hands and unleashed mayhem on everyone, including foreigners, and the country paid dearly for it as oil sales slumped almost to zero level.

The government at the centre could not achieve its budgetary visions. Even the hard stand of government in sending the military into the region was rebuffed, despite the “Operation Crocodile Tears,” until there was a reversal of the  federal government decision. 

Well-meaning sons of the Niger Delta assembled and reasoned together to work for peace in the region and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), led by Chief Edwin Clark, was formed. 

Sequel to this initiative, the federal government met and entered into an agreement for a ceasefire with the group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which was alleged to be the arrowhead of sabotage and destruction of oil amd gas facilities in the region. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, later criss-crossed the region on a peace crusade.

As it is usual with the federal government, it has reneged on the agreement with the militants. Today, the story is about to change. Last week, the 10 coalition groups in the region and their leaders  Niger Delta Watchdogs, led by General John Duku; Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators, led by General Ekpo Ekpo; Niger Delta Volunteers, led by General Osarolor Nedam; Niger Delta Warriors, led by Major-Gen. Henry Etete; Niger Delta Peoples Fighters, led by Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw; Bakassi Freedom Fighters, led by Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall; Niger Delta Movement for Justice, led by Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson; Niger Delta Fighters Network, led by Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams; Niger Delta Freedom Mandate; and Niger Delta Development Network, led by Major-Gen. Abiye Tariah, have all come together under an umbrella body known as the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators to call for a renewed aggression in the region. In the light of their renewed call, the federal government should hide its face in shame that every time it goes into an agreement with a warring party, it reneges on its part of the agreement only to wake up from slumber when the situation becomes dicey and a line drawn  for a showdown. The teachers,’ doctors,’ labour and civil servants’ labour agreements with the federal government are clear indications of a government that is not faithful to its own part of agreements. In the case of the Niger Delta militants, apart from almost castigating Chief Clark as selling out, they expressed no confidence in  the federal government and argued that the government was only bidding for time and postponing the evil day. What could have warranted such an outburst? Was the elder statesman corrupting their aspirations or could it be, according to them, that their interest and that of the region were not being adequately represented? When youths are fighting, they table their grievances before an elder but these Niger Delta youths are not interested in the prolonged type of dialogue that Chief Clark is embarking upon. He has forgotten that this generation is the “fast food” generation. A generation that wants everything in the fast way. These militant agitators want to achieve their motive in the fast way. Someone should frankly address the demands of militant youths of the Niger Delta; indeed, they have a good point but their manner of approach needs to be fine-tuned. Once your agitation is known, it is better to toe the path of dialogue.

The militants have much to lose just as the country has much more to lose. A country with an unstable economy cannot afford to ignore a threat to its major economic stronghold. It is important to ask why the federal government is not too keen on sustaining the peace accord earlier initiated by the Vice President. Does it mean that the federal government only likes to dance in a burning bush? Despite all the military moves, the agitating militants have not been cowed, so why can’t government embrace and take another peaceful step so that the region can experience a more lasting peace?

Interestingly, the 2018 presidential budget speech has given hope that the federal government wants to embrace peace in the Niger Delta, knowing the implications ahead. The question, is how did our security agencies allow these militants to multiply at this rate? Definitely, with each group comes the challenge of acquiring arms and ammunition. As they feather their nest, so they become a danger to the country. Information shows that each of the groups uses illegal oil bunkering to sustain their operations. Each group has hundreds of recruited personnel. It is, therefore, a commendable move by the federal government not to engage them in combat but to seek peace with them. After all, they already see themselves as people deprived of their oil wealth, which is not yielding positive fruit for their region. It is true that the harsh economic realities in the country could also be the reason for their renewed agitation.

Moreover, it is situations like this that can be politicised, and this is not good for a country that is still struggling to extricate itself from the grip of Boko Haram terrorists and Fulani herdsmen that are freely rampaging  all over the country.

The way forward is the peace initiative. This  should not be postponed neither should the demand for resource control, fiscal federalism and devolution of power, if found worthy, must not be swept again under the carpet.

lf the militants are no longer comfortable with the leadership of Edwin Clark, then former President Goodluck Jonathan should be appointed as the new presidential peace envoy to the Niger Delta, for the sake of regional peace.

Security Question: 

What would you do if, at a large car park, you suddenly discovered that when you pressed your car security key, six  other cars responded and their doors were automatically opened?

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2 Comments

  1. Dr. Uche Kalu 9th November 2017 at 1:13 pm

    The People of the Niger Delta have come a long way in their struggle for equity,fairnes and justice.
    But all along, they have always gone about their struggle in a wrong way.
    This struggle which was intiated by the late Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro,remains a noble cause up till today.
    Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro was a hero,who paid the ultimate price because he realised too late,that he had made a pact with the Nigerain vandals and devils. It was Adekunle the Black Scorpion,who had him murdered.
    The late Ken Saro Wiwa tried to take over from where Major Adaka Boro left off,by first launcing an anti-Biafran campaign, lampooning the Igbos and their Leaders.
    But when he eventually realised that he was a mere stooge of the real enemies of his people and tried to go
    after them,he like his predecessor,Major Adaka Boro, paid the ultimate price too.Gen,Sani Abacha had him
    hanged like a dog.Along with him were innocent eight Ogoni kinsmen of his.
    After Ken Saro Wiwa, came Chief Mujahid Dakubo Asari and his MEND Enviromentalists, who did rattle the
    Federal Government under the Chief ,OBJ and were later granted amnesty plus paltry stipends in order to
    scuttle their ligitimate struggle for justice.
    Mallam Mujahid Dokubo Asari was later hounded into a self-imposed exile to Benin Republic by the Jonathan’s
    Government..
    It is about time the Leaders of the Niger Delta, so called PANDEF,and the Boys in Creeks,the Avengers,
    MENDS et al, be compelled to take stock of the current situation in the polity.
    By the destructions of oil pipe-lines by the Avenger is not only quixotic about it, but that only causes more
    damages to the already degraded environment of the entire N’Delta Region and beyond.
    Besides,that will only provoke the ire of our Arewa Jajaweed Army,which is commanded and dominate by the
    Fulanis and their Hausa/Kanuri mongrel muslim barbarians,murderers and savages.
    The only option here is for the mobilization of the people to march for the restructuring of the country and the devolution of power to our New Constituent Units.That must be followed by a unanimous call for a
    boycott of 2019 Election.No Retructuring,no Election,come 2019,should be the slogan.
    No to the status quo ante bellum!
    Dwon with Hausa/Fulani Islamic Hegemony!!
    All Hail Biafra,the Land of the Rising Sun!!!

  2. Ezekiel Okeke 9th November 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Only Niger Delta Republic of south south guarantees existence securities and freedom of south south natives in this 21st century world. Only Niger Delta Republic guarantees peace in south south. The same applies to south east of Biafra Republic, south west of Oduduwa Republic. All northerners in the military, police etc. must vacate Southern Territorial Sovereign States now- dead or alive. No southern oil, gas, revenue etc. will again go to the enemy. It is now Southern Revolution War Engagement. God Is With Us!!!

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