Christian groups want Buhari to dialogue with NDA, IPOB

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

A coalition of Christian groups in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to use dialogue in handling the problems of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other militant groups in the country.

Speaking with newsmen yesterday in Abuja, the Chairman, National Christian Elders Forum, Solomon Asemota, observed that the rise of new militant groups is not in the best of a country struggling with security and the economy.

Asemota noted that the Niger Delta Avengers formed since February 3, 2016 has been making its presence known by attacking oil and gas facilities, alleging that the initial decision of President Buhari to treat the NDA militants like Boko Haram insurgents provided the tonic for the renewed wave of hostilities in the Niger Delta region.

He said: “The recent attacks and killings of IPOB members within a church environment while praying, vis-a-vis the ominous silence of the government following series of herdsmen attacks across the country send out negative signals of selective responses to perceived perpetrators of violent attacks on the Nigerian people.

“The history of militancy and insurgency in Nigeria clearly shows that using force other than dialogue is not the best approach in handling such.”

Asemota called on the President to re-consider his position on the 2014 National Conference report and direct relevant agencies to commence implementation of the report.

According to him: “The National Conference was duly constituted and inaugurated by a duly-elected Federal Government. It was funded by the hard earned taxpayers’ money of Nigerians for the five months it was convened and was headed by a well-respected jurist, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi.

“The composition of the National Conference was made up of well-meaning citizens of this country.

“The recent statement of the President to jettison this document to the ‘archives’ is very unfortunate and worrisome. We strongly advocate that a report that made far-reaching decisions on the need to restructure Nigeria and ensure that true federalism is practiced in the nation should be accorded top priority for implementation in the overall quest for the peace, unity and progress of this great country –which we all desire.”

On the plans to map out Grazing Reserve for cattle husbandry across the country, Asemota argued that cattle rearing is a private enterprise, adding that the issue is curiously being promoted and sponsored by the federal and some state governments.

He noted that the plan runs contrary to the provisions section 42 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended) to the effect that a citizen of Nigeria or any ethnic group or community shall not be accorded either expressly or otherwise any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to other citizens, groups or communities.

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