By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson.
The Federal Government has been offered advise on how to end the ongoing hostilities in the Niger Delta regions by the new militant group the Niger-Deltan Avengers from stakeholders in the region.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the South South geo-political zone has asked the Federal Government t established a Joint Task Force that would include civilians in order to tackle the recent attacks on the oil installations in the Niger Delta region.
The party chieftain, who does not want his name to be mentioned stressed that it was when the federal government involved the civilians in the joint Task Force in the North East that the security operatives were able to make impact in the war against Boko Haram insurgents.
According to him, the issue of Niger Delta Avengers blowing up oil pipelines should be addressed “local to local”.
The ruling party chieftain who spoke in Abuja emphasized that his party should get the chieftains of the party in the zone to assist in arresting the situation. He advised against the use of ordinary military force and negotiation.
He posited that the engagement of the local civilians in the area would be result oriented as they know the militants roots, hideouts and modus operandi.
He further argued that what the federal government would spend in involving the local civilians would be less to the use of military task force and negotiation.
Meanwhile the ex-militant has advised the federal government to reject the idea of negotiating with any militant in the Niger Delta Zone.
Africanus Ukparasia, popularly known as Gen. Africa in a statement issued in Abuja said negotiation would fuel up militancy in the area.
He said,”negotiating with the Avengers is a clear recipe for the emergence of hundreds of armed groups in the creeks of the Niger Delta with the hope of benefiting from criminality”.
Gen. Africa stated that “Government Ekpemopulo (A.K.A Tompolo) is blackmailing the federal government to force them to negotiate with him and his sponsors”.
The ex-militant stated that “all ex-agitators captured in the Amnesty Programme have dissociated themselves from the criminal activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, who themselves are beneficiaries of the federal government Amnesty Programme. The Amnesty office has also dissociated itself from them. We are going to work with the security agencies to fish them out to face the law.”
The ex-militant revealed how he alerted security agencies earlier this year of how Tompolo was training these boys in Ese Ode Local Government Area of Ondo state, and how 19 metal boats mounted with double 200 horse-powered engines each were delivered to prosecute this criminal mission. According to him, it was published on the national dailies, but the Nigerian security forces did nothing about it till it got out of their hands.
He expressed readiness alongside other ex-militant leaders in the region who supported and worked assiduously for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to fight and capture Tompolo and his Lieutenants for the federal government to face the law.
He warned that the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu should stop encouraging negotiations with the Avengers or any such group as many other criminal groups would emerge to hold the federal government to ransom.
Gen. Africa said the move is unacceptable and would be sternly resisted by ex-fighters who worked for the APC.
Also, the ex-militant accused the former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of being behind the Niger Delta Avengers.
According to him, Jonathan having accepted defeat refused to disarm these people who promised to destabilize the government in the event that the APC won. True to that promise, they are destroying the economy of the country by bombing oil and gas pipelines and further polluting the already degraded environment.
He said unequivocally that this fight has nothing to do with the betterment of the living conditions of the people of the Niger Delta region but simply because they have lost the juicy multi-billion naira pipeline protection contracts and billions of naira paid to them by oil block owners, and coupled with the EFCC cases against them is what is causing the crisis.
By; Jacob Onjewu Dickson.