Editorial

Threats of violence in the delta must end somehow

 

Even as the rest of the world makes progress, it is shameful that in Nigeria instead of us to face up to development challenges, most of the time we spend time quenching agitations from disparate groups that make up this entity. There is hardly any country that runs like ours in the world where groups, gangs, militants and separatists carry on as if there is no government simply because of an over- sized sense of entitlement. In the end where there are agitators for one thing or the other, the people on whose behalf folks claim to agitate are never reckoned with when the booty is shared.

The statement that the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators will renew its attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta on September 10 fits into this bill. The group also stated that the notice to quit issued to Hausa and Yoruba in the Niger Delta had not been withdrawn. Hear them, “our intelligence department has given us the list of the oil wells owned by the northerners. The northerners have over 90 per cent of the oil wells and the Yoruba have about seven per cent, while the Igbo have about two per cent and the Niger Delta people do not have up to one per cent of the oil wells.

“We are not talking only about the notice to quit; we are also talking about the Niger Delta Republic. We have seen that the Federal Government is not serious about the Niger Delta issue. Let me make a point here; the Academic Staff Union of Universities is on strike and the government has set up a committee to engage in a dialogue with ASUU.

“This has never happened in the case of the Niger Delta; the Federal Government has never inaugurated a committee to handle the Niger Delta issue. The only language the Federal Government seems to understand is violence. September 10 is the day we will resume attacks (on oil installations). By September 10, which is on Sunday, over 5,000 members of the Niger Delta Coalition of Agitators will shut down no less than over 20 platforms,” the group threatened. Similarly, the said coalition refuted the claim that it gave the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress the mandate to withdraw the notice. The CNDA had in August told northerners and Yoruba to leave before October 1 or be forced out of the region.

The leader of the Niger Delta agitators, one John Duku, added, “We have not given anybody any mandate to withdraw the notice to quit we issued. On the group (PNDPC) talked about, we have said we are not working with this set of old people again. The composition of that group is not different from that of PANDEF.

“Already, we are talking with leaders of ethnic nationalities and if at the end, we reach a conclusion, we will make it public. Nobody will withdraw the notice on our behalf – we will do that. The fact is that those that announced the withdrawal of the notice are not the ones that issued it. We don’t know them.”

This is the sort of thing that happens when a country or her leadership panders to all manner of considerations in nation building. This also happens when a country shies away from dealing with crime and criminality firmly according to the wordings of the law. It is not true that the Federal Government of Nigeria has not engaged with the Niger Delta on issues bothering on oil exploration. In fact, there is no part of Nigeria that has been engaged better than the Niger Delta. You may argue that the engagement is not enough but that is because of series of engagements that gave rise to Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NNDC, amnesty programme, etc.

The government can go ahead and find solutions to these kinds of threats but they truly have to stop.

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