By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has hailed the decision ofÂ the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Ateke Tom, to lay down his arms in deference to the amnesty by the Federal Government, saying that it was an indication that peace could actually return to the Niger Delta in spite of skepticism in some quarters.
A statementÂ signed by President of MOSOP, Mr. Goodluck Diigbo, said â€œAteke Tomâ€™s readiness to give peace a chance at a point when most observers of happenings in the Niger Delta felt that the crisis in the region will escalate, is a pointer to the fact that it could be resolved within us.
â€œWe at MOSOP urge him to begin to gather his weapons and stop every act capable of casting doubt to the notice he served the Federal Government and the public through his lawyer, Mr. Ikenna Morgom Ene kweizu. It is by so doing, that he can dismiss the fear being expressed in some quarters over the sincerity of his notice.
â€œIn broader terms, what the fear and misgivings signify is that the people of the Niger Delta are tired of the crisis. They want peace and development. Indeed, during the years of radical militancy, we have lost on many fronts, especially in the area of unemployment, caused by the gradual withdrawal of their business by investors, whose presence is needed for growth and development.
“This has been the position of MOSOP all along”.
MOSOP also welcomes the reaction of President Yarâ€™Adua to Atekeâ€™s notice, and urge him to back his words with action. Mr. President has promised to come out with terms of the amnesty in a couple of days so as to encourage other militant leaders to emulate Ateke Tom.
Thus, it gives credence to the popular thinking that military action cannot solve the crisis except dialogue.
â€œDialogue is the only way to resolve the Niger Delta crisis and prevent further spilling of blood. The Federal Government must demonstrate commitment to good governance and address the real plights of Niger Delta peopleâ€.