Ijaw youths insists, says force won’t work in Niger Delta

 By Samuel Tombra, Yenagoa                          

 

Ijaw youths have advised the Federal Government to drop the idea of deploying troops, fighter jets and other military hardwares in the Niger Delta region to flush out militants.

 

This forms part of their resolutions after meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State under their umbrella body, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).

 

According to them in a communique issued on Monday, the Ijaw youths said militants had no permanent location in the creeks like the Sambisa Forest that provided safe haven for Boko Haram in the North East.

 

IYC in the communique signed by the its President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri and Spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, they said militants claiming responsibilities for bombings of oil installations were adopting guerrilla tactics to carry out their criminal acts.

 

The group said instead of resorting to military option, the security agencies should adopt intelligence gathering to stop attacks and arrest militants.

 

IYC said: “We strongly advise against this option. It is not and can never be a solution to Niger Delta quest for better deal. Those advising military option are enemies of your government, Niger Deltans and the people of Nigeria.

 

“In the first place, the Niger Delta militants that have claimed responsibility for attacks on oil facilities are not stationed in any particular place like Boko-Haram in Sambisa forest. There is no Sambisa forest in the Niger Delta region where the military can go and confront insurgents.

 

“Those carrying out these attacks have adopted a guerilla strategy; hence the solution is for the relevant security to deepen intelligence gathering working with local communities and not full scale military onslaught on the communities and people.

 

“Any full scale military action in the Niger Delta would only succeed in killing innocent people and destruction of communities that are also victims of the militancy. It is worthy to note that Gbaramatu Kingdom that the military has been consistently harassing is not the headquarters of any of the militant groups.

 

“The Gbaramatu people are peaceful loving Ijaw people and the military must stop the consistent invasion of Gbaramatu communities or any other Ijaw community”.

 

The group further said that for permanent peace to be achieved, Nigeria must be restructured with substantial powers given to federation units to manage and develop their people and communities.

 

He said the country as presently constituted is suffocating and hindering federation units from developing their potential.

 

“We must decentralize to discourage the rent-seeking mentality of the federating units. Our inability to make progress is as a result of the defective structure and the type of leadership it has produced.

 

“It is a sad commentary that so many states can no longer meet their statutory and basic obligation despite the abundance of untapped natural human resources. What is lacking is the enabling structure to explore available resources to the benefit of the federating units and their people.

 

“This country cannot survive  for long with the current practice where states go to the center to collect their monthly allocation; a scenario of complete economic and socio-political meltdown is no longer a probability but a certainty in the horizon with catastrophic consequence for the country”, IYC said.

 

The group further said it was in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to fight criminality in the region within the ambit of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

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