Ex-Militant leaders from the Nine States of the Niger Delta region have attributed the frequent agitations and protest by angry youths from the region to the policies of exclusion being adopted by some state governors of the region.
According to the Ex-militant leaders under the aegis of the Leadership,Peace and Cultural Development Initiative(LPCDI), the youths feel they are being sidelined by their state governors, ‘The youths feel they are being sidelined by their state governors. He said the Governors need to look at the pains of the youths especially of Oil rich communities. Most Oil companies are refusing to employ the youths’
The Ex-Militant leaders, under the aegis of Leadership,Peace and Cultural Development Initiative(LPCDI), in a communique issued after a meeting in Uyo,the Akwa Ibom capital and signed by its National President, Chief Reuben Wilson known as General Pastor, noted that the bulk of the problems in the Niger Delta lies with the involvements of the State Governors.
Pastor Reuben also pleaded with the Governors to call on Oil companies operating in these Oil rich communities to order. The governors should intervene for these companies to employs youth who have been trained and are qualified to work in these industries’.
He advised that the State Governors should engage more youths in their states with appointment so they can also reach out to their people.
He also identified reasons why some angry youths are fiercely embarking on campaign of calnumy against Federal Government appointees from the region, saying the conduct of the angry youths are provoked by being sidelined and excluded on issues of benefits and programmes for the region.
General Pastor,stated that the grievance of most of the angry youths is because they feel sidelined as the programmes initiated are benefitting outsiders rather that the actual beneficiaries.
The meeting of the Ex-militant leaders, which was attended by over ninety per cent of the first phase leaders, said despite the identified anger of the youths, the youths from the region have unanimously agreed that the entire Leaders will throw their weight behind the political appointees from the region particularly the Leadership of Prof. Charles Dokubo and the Presidential Amnesty Office.
According to the ex-militant leaders, there is a noticeable change in the workings of the Amnesty office under Professor Charles Dokubo, ‘ we can attest to the good work he is currently doing at the Amnesty Office. We assure the public that the support for Prof. Charles was not of lip service but for confirmation of the good work he is currently doing with the Amnesty Programme with on-going projects like Various Empowerments, Skill acquisition trainings, and even Education for the Niger Delta Youths’.The group also urged all other stake holders to support Prof. Dokubo stating that he needs time to effect some of the plans he has because it is only then he can be judged by the work he has put in, ‘ we have been happy with the conduct of the Amnesty Coordinator recently as he is now interacting with the leaders and their boys, and has promised to pay more attention to their needs’
‘We also took time to plead with all aggrieved person to channel their complaints properly instead of creating scenes that will bring about disunity. They reminded that such critics has led to untimely dismissal of Niger Delta leaders from office in the past.’ The Ex-Militant leaders also called on Prof. Charles Dokubo to pay a listening ear to stake holders such King Ateke Tom, High Chieg Government Kpokpolo known as Tompolo and Dr. Ebikabowei Victor-Ben known as Boyloaf, stating that the grievance of most people is because they feel sideline as the programme is benefitting outsiders rather that the actual beneficiaries’.
On the deplorable state of the East-West road, Reuben called on President Muhammad Buhari to look into the matter in a bid to intervene and fast track the work to completion, ‘we also urged President Buhari to touch on the Ogoni Clean Up, and urged the Government and contractors handling the project to do so with increased commitment for the betterment of the Ogoni people and the Niger Delta region’.In his final comment, he pleaded with Mr. President to extend an olive branch to some youths still carrying arms in the creek, and also pleaded with their brothers in the creeks to come out and embrace peace.
The Spokesperson of the group, Hon. Joshua Opia, who spoke on the Politics in the Niger Delta Region, urged the Governors to stop with the blame games and get down to work. He asked the Governors to use the resources of the state wisely and create jobs for the jobless in the states and also bring developments to their various states. He said this will ensure our children will enjoy the dividends of democracy.
On Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) matters, the Imo State Coordinator, Hon. Emeka Igwe appealed to the acting Managing Director of the commission to look into the problems of the Niger Delta people,encouraging her to do the right things. We know that Mr. President appointed her to develop the region and pleaded with her to go into action and rejuvenate all abandoned projects and develop the Niger Delta region as it is the mantra of the commission’.On matters outside the Niger Delta region, the group pleaded with Boko Haram to stop the killings and fighting,urging them to lay down their arms as the Niger Delta ex-agitators did.
‘The group however wonders what the fight is all about but also pleads with them to lay down arms and settle what ever matter it is amicably. This they said will bring about unity in the country as we all are one people.In closing, the group thanked Mr. President and prayed for the needed wisdom to carry on with the developmental strides to better the country. They prayed for peace and unity in the North, South, East and west of the country’.