By Jimitola Onoyume
PORT HARCOURT : THE people of Isoko in the Niger Delta have lamented what they termed gross neglect of there area by the federal government. President General of the Isoko nation, Peter Ovie Erebi who spoke in Port Harcourt said it was sad to note that long after oil was discovered in the area in commercial quantity there were still challenges of underdevelopment in several communities in the area.
â€œ If you look at Isoko nation since 1962Â when oil was struck in our land we would not have need to complain, but it is so unfortunate that our people have to continue to complain about the negligence in Isokoland. â€œ While noting the urgent need for government presence to be felt in the area Erebi however spoke against violence as an instrument to attract attention. According to him, the problem of development in Isoko and other areas of the region were numerous but there was need to engage in constructive dialogue to bring development to the area.Â He pleaded for cessation of hostilities on the part of youths and security forces in the region
Adding that militants in the region should not be completely blamed for taking to violence because of the provocation the state of underdevelopment in the region invokes in the mind he however sued for peace in the region so that the federal government could bring its development vision to bear in the region.
â€œNiger Delta problems cannot be solved with guns. And if you look at it very well, it is not an issue to blame these boys hundred percent because when someone is aggrieved he goes out of the law. Because of this you saw so many people, because of the anger in them, almost operating as outlaws. It is always like that everywhere in the world; when you want to express anger, you are not under any mandate to express it by meeting the dictates of the law. So our guys need some recognition, the Niger Delta needs attention. Niger Delta wants to be part of what is going on in our own nation.â€
â€œFederal government infrastructure should be seen in the Niger Delta, in fact is not feeling any government impact. I am not going to say I encourage these guys; there is no where in this world where guns have ever achieved desired results. At the end of the day we will still need to all go to the round table to dialogue, it is only then that we can come up with reasonable solution.â€
â€œI am also appealing to our boys to put their arms down, lay down every instrument they have been fighting with and let us watch what the federal government want to do. I believe the federal government will do something this time around after all; they have given us the Ministry of Niger Delta. They have also seen that of a truth we are lacking many things even in the midst of plenty.â€