Ijaw groups, elders warn against resuming violence in Niger Delta


Prominent Ijaw groups and elders have asked youths in the Niger Delta to forget any plan to resume hostilities in the Niger Delta region.

The leaders insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had shown some positive signs and must be allowed to implement its vision to develop the region.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide and the Ijaw National Congress (INC) said instead of resorting to violence, the region had opened a new chapter of constructively engaging the government to ensure it fulfilled all its promises.

Speaking in separate interviews, the IYC President, Eric Omare, said since President Buhari had made promises, the best the region could do was to impress it upon his administration to fulfill them.

He said: “I do not think that it has got to that level where people will resort to threatening to bomb oil facilities again. Government made promises but our duty for now is to remind government of its promises towards the region and insist that government should fulfill its promises.

“But to threaten attack or resort to a militant approach to force government fulfill its promises, l don’t think is the best approach for now. We have never encouraged militant dimension or use of force in our agitation. We advise those that threatened violence to adopt peaceful means”.

Also, the Chairman, INC, Central Zone, Chief Kennedy Odiowei, asked the youths to remain calm insisting that Buhari with his track record of integrity would fulfill his promises to the region.

He said, “We are not in support of violence because the Federal Government is talking to the region. The Vice-President came and toured the Niger Delta. They have seen the plight of the region and the people.

“The government is very proactive to look into the issues of the Niger Delta so we are not in support of any threat to renew attacks. We are saying that everybody should keep calm and drop their arms”.

“The Vice-President made some serious policy statements including asking all the oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the Niger Delta region. It is a welcome development. So let us wait and see what the government could do”.

But the immediate past President of IYC, Udengs Eradiri, observed that the tempo which Vice-President Yemi Osibanjo pursued negotiation with the region dropped immediately Buhari returned from his overseas trip.

He, however, said it should not be an excuse for anybody to contemplate resuming attacks on oil installations adding that he had been talking to aggrieved youths to forget the idea.

He said, “I have been traveling up and down trying to talk to the boys because since the President came back from his travel, everything seems to have nosedived. The tempo with which the vice-president was going was commendable by everybody.”

“The vice-president was using the right words and talking as a leader. But since the President came back, it has been difficult to continue the momentum and keep up the tempo. Nigeria needs peace.

“We are not expecting Buhari to solve the Niger Delta problems totally because it didn’t start from his time. We are looking forward to the plans that the Vice-President had put in place. It is very commendable.

“He talked about putting the illegal bunkerers together to form cooperatives so that their activities can be incorporated into government. He talked about modular refineries, the maritime university and a whole lot of issues that were raised”.  

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.