The Pan Niger-Delta Forum (PANDEF) has said that non-payment of five-month arrears of the repentant Niger Delta militants before 1st January, 2017 may derail the prevailing peace in the region, a member of the
A former President of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), Famous Daunemgha noted that the 30,000 ex-miltants are getting increasingly agitated over non-payment of their monthly stipend for a period of five months.
This according to him may jeopardise the relative peace enjoyed in the region was due to the relentless interactions with the ex-militants.
Daunemgha, while speaking with journalists on Thursday in Abuja, observed that the federal government may have unwittingly reversed the gains of past efforts aimed at sustained peace in the region with the non-payment of the ex-militants stipends.
“Federal government should rather see the 30,000 ex-agitators as its children and should be treated as such and not turn them to recruits for militancy again.30,000 former restive youths on the side of government is huge in an environment where injustice is common place.If the five-month arrears was not paid before the end of the year, we may not be able to hold these youths back.,” he said.
He added that; “We have been able to get this far just because of the assurances PANDEF has been giving them, I don’t think we have any thing to justify again, if the deadline they gave us lapses.”
While commenting on President Muhammadu Buhari’s Christmas day celebration and the call for dialogue with militants, Daunemgha said the Federal government had not been totally sincere in convening a round table to discuss practical solutions to the crisis in Niger Delta.
According to him, the statement was all politics as no effort was made by the Presidency to make such dialogue a reality.
He said the insincerity of President Buhari insincerity can be identified from his statement that the dialogue would be with militants.
He explained that the dialogue should and must be between the government and the people of the region rather than militants, Daunemgha explained, “PANDEF has been able to secure the commitment of the militants for over three months and there has been no bombings of pipelines till now.
“Our interaction with them was on the basis that the Federal government was ready to implement the second phase of the Amnesty Proclamation which was infrastructural development of the region. It is however sad that the government has failed to latch onto the peace we have been able to sustain and come to the table for dialogue,” he stated.
According to him; “Why the Presidency is doing this, no one can understand because PANDEF as the umbrella body of Niger Delta interest was made up of credible sons and daughters of the region cuttng across all spheres that have track records of commitment to the region. If President Buhari is sincere he should have constituted Federal government negotiation team and request for Niger Delta’s representatives. This only goes to show the insincerity of government on this issue. For three months PANDEF was able to secure peace in the region but how far can we go if government was not ready to take advantage of PANDEF’s interventions,” he stated.
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