Monday, 3 October 2016

President Buhari Tears Niger Delta Elders Apart

President Muhammadu Buhari's Independence Day speech has sent a wave of division between Niger Delta elders, Vanguard reports.

In the speech, Buhari had vowed to deal ruthlessly with militants blowing up oil installations. He said he won't allow them to hold the country to ransom.

“What sense is there to damage a gas line as a result of which many towns in the country, including their own town or village, is put in darkness as a result? What logic is there in blowing up an export pipeline and, as a result, income to your state and local governments and consequently their ability to provide services to your own people is reduced?

He then said FG will continue to dialogue to end the militancy.

This mixed message however, has brought confusion in the Niger Delta.

Former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army who hails from Edo State, Brigadier-General Idada Ikponmwen (retd.), said: "The idea of Mr. President threatening to use force or wanting to use force in this matter is an anathema, particularly when the boys have demonstrated their preparedness for dialogue and given their fathers the power to dialogue and negotiate on their behalf.

Presiding Bishop of Christian Chapel International, Calabar, Bishop Emmah Isong, said: “Talk about attacking militants by the President is just a self-serving effort, which will lead us nowhere. Right now, we do not even know the number of militant groups that exist. We have lost count of them.

“Is he saying he is going to bomb every creek in the Niger Delta because of militants? Right now, the Avengers are about four splinter groups, so which group is the President going to attack?

Cross River State political activist, Cletus Obun, said: “Militancy in the Niger Delta is an orchestration of the political intolerance by some disgruntled political elements.

“These people are just three per cent of the population of the Niger Delta, who now hold the entire population to ransom by destroying oil installations and in such circumstance, what do you want the President to do other than return fire for fire?

Timi Tonye, who represents Patani Constituency in Delta State House of Assembly, condemned Buhari, saying presidents, anywhere in the world, were assumed to be statesmen, who would not threaten their own people under any guise.

President, Niger Delta Security Watch Organization of Nigeria, Dickson Bekederemo, posited: “The President by his comments, has demonstrated clearly his insincerity in his quest for dialogue as a means of resolving the age long issues of oil governance.

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