UNDEDSS accuses govt of toying with Nigeria’s unity
Agboti, Lori-Ogbebor sue for dialogue
The United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) has accused the Federal Government of toying with the unity of the country over the way it was currently handling the issues pertaining to the Niger Delta crisis.
Besides, a former Senator, Chief Emmanuel Azu Agboti, who represented Ebonyi South Senatorial zone, Ebonyi State said dialogue remained the only reasonable means to address the crisis.
UNDEDSS has however resolved to resist any further attempts by the government to continue to maliciously deploy the military in the region or deploy sinister divide and rule tactics against the region’s key actors.
Rising from an emergency meeting held on Tuesday night, UNDEDSS Secretary General, Mr. Tony Uranta appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to personally and visibly head a holistic solution-seeking strategy that: “will prove his commitment to a robustly sustainable peace in the region, for there to be true unity, stability and progress in the country.”
Uranta said the ongoing ‘farce’ by too many of President Buhari’s political friends and cabinet members, who were wasting time establishing so-called Contact Committees would not resolve the pertinent Niger Delta issues sustainably.
Uranta however, harped on the need for Mr. President to return to the very successful late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s template of 2009, even as he admitted that immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan failed to consolidate on Yar’Adua’s gains in the region.
According to him, “The Federal Government has been made aware of how to resolve this avoidable crisis. President Buhari should personally broadcast to the nation an indefinite ceasefire to be matched by armed actors in the region.”
He added that the government should also show commitment to the National Maritime University, Okerenkoko; and, the appointment of a savvy Special Adviser (Niger Delta Affairs) to the President among other things “if Buhari follows Yar’Adua’s lead, there will be sustainable cessation of hostilities in the region, and the nation will not be subjected to further losses in national revenues or the crippling power shortfalls due to unavailability of crude and gas.”
Speaking on the Niger Delta crisis, Senator Agboti said the only option to resolve the issue was through dialogue and not military action or insurgency.
According to him, “The Nigerian property, which is the oil in the Niger Delta belongs to all of us including the youths in the region. We all owe this nation the duty and responsibilities to protect and guard it jealously.
“There must be a better way to call the attention of the government to the issue and it is also the responsibility of government to engage the people in dialogue, without that I don’t think there is any better option.”
A Human Rights Activist and Itsekiri High Chief, Mrs. Rita Lori-Ogbebor, appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to stop further destruction of oil installations and put down their weapons and embrace dialogue with the Federal Government.
She said the Niger Delta youths must consider the environmental implications of the various bombings in the region, saying: “It is time we embrace dialogue because after all it is the people of the region that will bear the brunt of the environmental implications of the various bombings and destructions.”
She also appealed to the Federal Government to take cogent steps in engaging the angry youths in dialogue as the best means to address the crisis.
According to her, “The immediate problem in the Niger Delta and the country in general is employment but we can solve the problem. Let us have the peace of mind and focus to tackle this problem. There is hunger in our lands, our rural areas are desolate and violence will not help us now.”