A Christian cleric, Pastor Power Aginighan issued a press statement on the Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria. Below is the text of the press release.
If President Muhammadu Buhari must be on the right side of history, with regards to the Niger Delta crisis, he must act as a statesman. He must reject the counsel of sycophants and jesters around him who are proposing genocide on defenseless Niger Delta citizens who live near vandalised oil and gas installations.
Buhari should instead convoke an emergency stakeholders summit which would produce a roadmap to peace in the Niger Delta region.
Mr. President must find out why the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is fast becoming a failing agency with unpaid certificates for jobs executed by contractors amounting to over N450 billion and outstanding commitments of over N2.5 trillion for contracts awarded?
What have the Niger Delta State governments done with the several billions they have received from the federation account through the 13% derivation fund since 1999? How have these funds been used to addressing the development needs of the host communities that have borne the brunt of a devastated ecosystem?
Mr. President must ask himself if it is right for the honourable minister of transportation, an appointee of his to halt the take-off the Nigeria Maritime University that was approved by the previous federal executive council without submitting a justification memo to the present federal executive council presided over by the president? Is that not a trigger an escalation of the Niger Delta crisis?
I appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers to cease any further attacks on oil and gas facilities in the oil-rich region and give President Buhari the chance to prove his avowed commitment to develop the Niger Delta.
I also appeal to Mr. President to ensure that soldiers deployed in the region do not subject innocent citizens of the Niger Delta who cannot press a trigger to any horrific and degrading treatment in the search for members of Niger Delta Avengers simply because they are host communities to oil and gas companies.
Military action will never bring peace to the Niger Delta. It is development action that is needed to end the Niger Delta crisis.
As long as those who bear the debilitating burden of shouldering the national budget are excluded from the benefits of modern civilisation, there cannot be an end to the breeding of more Isaac Boros, more Asari Dokubos, more Tompolos, more Boyloafs and more Ateke Toms in the Niger Delta.
I wish to reiterate that neither the blood of Nigerian soldiers nor that of Niger Delta youth is required to develop the Niger Delta.
Pastor Power Ziakede Aginighan delivered a press statement titled ‘Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta: Dialogue Not Violence, Development Action Not Military Action’ to the press on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.