Former militants in Niger Delta have called on the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to carry them along if they were serious about the development of the oil rich region.
The former militants, who made this call in Port Harcourt on Wednesday when they met with the leadership of the Niger Delta Peace Campaign for Development Network, said it was necessary for government to involve them in the growth of the area.
One of the ex-agitators, Abiodun Edah, who was formerly known as ‘General’ Abiodun, added that youths and community leaders in Niger Delta must also be part of the development of the region.
Edah recalled that former President Goodluck Jonathan involved them in the security of the waterways, maintaining that there was nothing wrong should the current administration co-opt them into the plan to move the region forward.
“The idea of giving peace a chance is a welcome development. But I believe that if the Federal Government and the NDDC are serious to develop the region, they must involve us and not to see us as those who are not part of the development agenda in the region.
“Apart from the ex-agitators, the youths and community leaders must be carried along if we are to achieve peace in the region. When the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, was there, he partnered with us to watch over waterways and other surveillance contacts,” he said.
In his remark, Tommy Dore, who is also a former militant in the region, urged the NDDC to ensure that everybody benefitted from their empowerment programmes.
Dores said, “We are in support of any peace move in Niger Delta. If the President (Muhammadu Buhari) is visiting the region, all leaders, including the community leaders, should be invited and not to leave them behind.
“The NDDC should allow everybody to benefit from any empowerment programme such as skills acquisition, scholarship and the rest of them. The issue of filling these positions and opportunities with the names of their family members and relatives should stop because there is need to reposition the NDDC.”
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