WARRIâ€”IJAW Youths Welfare Association (IYWA) has said the reason a good number of militants in the Niger-Delta have not accepted amnesty and surrendered their arms was because the Federal Government, through the Presidential Committee on Amnesty, did not engage the real agitators and stakeholders.
The group in a press statement in Warri, signed by its President and Secretary, Messrs Jerry Otuaro and Alaowei Cleric, said:Â â€œWe wish to alert the Federal Government that no amount of effort it commits to the peace initiative can quell the tide of militancy in the region unless and until the real people are engaged for dialogue and development.
â€œThe government should not construe the silence on the part of the militants or the agitators to champion the Ijaw name in the front banner as abandoning their primary concern for the development of the Ijaw land.
â€œIn fact, the Federal Government is, or has been, using wrong approaches by engaging with the vast majority of wrong persons claiming to be Niger-Delta.â€
The group said the the Willink Commission, under the colonial government, to the most recent report of the Niger-Delta Technical Committee, led by Mr. Ledum Mitee, made it clear that a special Niger-Delta Development Board should be set up with particular reference to its bad terrains, but observed that the government created the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger-Delta to hoodwink the people, as they were not serving the intended purpose of developing the peculiar terrains.
â€œIt is the failure of the federal government, both past and present, to appraise these appreciable recommendations or the constitutional provisions, as well as the misnomer used to address the developmental challenges of the region that is giving the impression of malaise in the government even at the instance of amnesty proclamation.
â€œGoing by the clause â€œpeculiar terrainâ€ in the Willink Commission is an indication that the recommendations were referred to the coastal or the Delta areas, now comprising six states. Similarly, historical/geographical records also account that the area is covered by 70,000 square miles ranging from Cross River to Edo States and partly Ondo State as a result of criminal balkanization.
â€œQuoting from the above, it became manifest that the name used to brand NDDC and the Niger-Delta Ministry, which covers nine states, is a misnomer and it will always be a cankerworm to render the governmentâ€™s efforts in solving the Niger-Delta problems fruitless so long this incongruous nomenclature continues.
â€œ In short, the federal government should appreciate the volume of the fact that the government is only setting- up interventionist agencies for the oil producing areas and not the Niger-Delta or the languorous Ijaw people that have not been developed as recommended by the Willink Commission.
â€œIt should also acknowledge that whatever decision she takes to address the issues of the region will always be a nostrum as long as this avoidable blunder continues,â€ the group added.