A group under the aegis of Congress of United People of Niger Delta has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to consider withdrawal of warships and jet fighters from the creeks of the Niger Delta, as a proactive approach towards the restoration of peace in the region.
In a statement issued on Sunday June 5, 2016 by the group’s national organising secretary, Fred Latimore in Asaba, Delta State, the congress said the call has become necessary because of the innocent people and children that may be killed in the process of exchanging gun fire between the militants, the Igbesu boys’ confraternity and the federal troops.
The group said it will pay the country better to negotiate with the militants than for the nation to lose N10.5 billion daily as a result of the wanton destruction and vandalization of oil installations in the region.
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“We are appealing to the Avengers and other vexed groups to dialogue with the federal government and embrace peace.
“We do not think that full blown military incursion will restore lasting peace and active economic activities in the region. We are not in support of renewed violence but government must employ result oriented strategies to quell the uprising and move the nation forward.
“Full military action may end up as futile exercise and costly, if the federal government choose not to negotiate with the Avengers. We believe that involvement of the governors of the Niger Delta region and political leaders will yield better and greater results than full military action.
“We strongly advise the federal government not to move the Maritime University from its present location because that in itself may provoke further internal or ethnic war capable of wrecking complicated economic havoc which could escalate into wanton destruction of oil installations, choice properties and loss of lives.
“The federal government may continue with the investigation of fraud in connection with the land acquired for the university and in the same token continue with the project and open the university with full assurances from the host communities that students of the institution will enjoy peace and stable academic activities.
“We should learn from other nations that nursed internal war for three decades, the losses, the economic sabotage and the rest. The tension in Nigeria today is obvious, ranging from hike in fuel price to super inflation and no money in circulation as a result of bad governance.
“The political class are angry because of the highly restricted political appointments which have further slowed down enthusiasm of party faithful and supporters. There is acute hunger in the land while banks and other organizations are retrenching workers in their thousands. The price of crude oil is falling. The pain is much.
“So, this is certainly not the right time to use full military action as it may provoke massive declaration and increased militancy that may lead to partial or full blown civil war. We urge President Buhari to read the evil script of the enemies and use wisdom to handle this matter.
“We strongly believe that it is cheaper and wiser to negotiate and end this crisis within the shortest possible time. The Niger Delta is not a foreign country at war with Nigeria, therefore the federal government will not take pride to wipe out the people of the region.
“We strongly believe that the Niger Delta is still grossly underdeveloped compared to the rapid development going on in Abuja and other major cities whereas the region produces wealth for the thirty six (36) states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),” the statement added.