Abdulsalami urges government to dialogue with Niger Delta militants, others
• Kachikwu assures of strategies to end militancy
Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar yesterday, urged the Federal Government to dialogue with the Niger Delta militants, saying it is the only alternative to achieving peace in the oil reach region.
He also urged government to extend dialogue to various insurgence groups, so that lasting peace can return to the country for the overall development, noting government cannot afford to fight too many wars at a time.
Abubakar spoke at his residence in Minna when he received members of the Niger State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Ahmed Marafa, who felicitated with him on his 74th birthday.
He lamented the current hardship in the country, stressing that Nigerians are suffering unduly because of the activities of various insurgents, including the Boko Haram, the Niger Delta Avengers Avengers and Biafra agitators.
“All we need to do is to sit down and discuss these problems. Even if you fight a war and win, you must sit with the people you conquered,’ saying ‘all the insecurity we are experiencing now is uncalled for.”
He however reminded the militants on the need to understand that they were destroying their land, cautioning that the constant blowing up of oil pipe lines will ultimately affect the 13% derivation to the region due to sharp decline in oil revenue.
He said the activities of the militants will also possibly lead to drop in the funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), in addition to the damage and harm that is being done to land and aquatic lives of the region.
“We do not deserve what we are going through. We need peace and I am begging everybody in the spirit of Ramadan, whatever religion everybody is following, please let us give peace a chance,” he pleaded.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, has reassured the people of the oil-rich region that the on-going efforts aimed at addressing the issue of insecurity were not cosmetic, but intended to achieve enduring peace and stability in the region.
The minister gave the assurance during a courtesy call on Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson.The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Gen. Paul Boroh, accompanied him on the visit.
Kachikwu said government was committed to “a financially driven and economically motivated pattern” of resolving security concerns and development in Bayelsa and the entire region.
He appealed to the agitators to embrace dialogue for the common good of all stakeholders, noting that oil as a God-given resource was endowed in the region to unify the people of the country.
Also speaking, Boroh described the on-going peace initiative as all-encompassing as it is designed to engage all stakeholders, including fishermen in the creeks in terms of information gathering and dissemination towards achieving “a seamless and peaceful Niger Delta.”
Dickson commended the Federal Government for its approach in building consensus towards proffering lasting solutions.
“No military wars to be fought in any community in the Niger Delta with armoured tanks and bullets except that of development, peace and prosperity.”