By Festus Ahon
UGHELLIâ€”THE Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM) has urged all militants in the region to surrender all their weapons to the disarmament sub-committee in the interest of peace.
It also charged the Federal Government to start rolling out bulldozers and caterpillars to develop the oil rich region.
This was contained in a communiquÃ© issued at the end of a crucial meeting of the group inÂ Port-Harcourt, Rivers State last weekend, copy of which was made available to Vanguard yesterday in Ughelli, Delta State.
The group in the communiquÃ© thanked President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua for appointing Chief Timi Alaibe as his Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs and expressed hope that his (Alaibe) wise counsels would promote development in the region.
It read: â€œWe also sincerely thank Mr. President for graciously offering amnesty to our brothers in the Niger Delta who employed the tenets of arms struggle as a way of addressing the Niger Delta problems.
â€œIt is an incontrovertible fact that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants are crucial steps in achieving appreciable success in the actualization of the amnesty granted by Mr. President.
â€œIt is true that disarmament, demobilization and reintegration is essential for lasting peace, as it provides a safe environment, transfers ex-militants back to normal life and enables people to earn livelihoods through peaceful rather than violent means.
â€œWe want to inform the Disarmament Sub-Committee of the Presidential Committee on Amnesty to lay down solid foundation to provide viable alternatives for ex-militants”.
These may be jobs paying reasonable salaries, loans for self-empowerment or business support for returning to school, or entry into the Police or Military.
â€œDemobilization and reintegration should be implemented side by side with disarmament as part of an integrated recovery strategy that includes economic development, security sector reform, justice and reconciliation.
â€œIt is our candid advice to our brothers who are militants that although it is true that the Niger Delta people and region have suffered decades of deprivation and neglect in the hands of the Nigerian state, we have always maintained that no arms combat can earn the Niger Delta struggle our desired socio-economic and political outcome.
â€œIt is, therefore, futile and counter-productive to continue the arms struggle as a strategy to emancipate the Niger Delta people from the present economic strangulation and neglect.
â€œWe urge you all to surrender your weapons to the Disarmament Sub Committee of the presidential amnesty committee on disarmament.
â€œThe rest of Nigeria is waiting for us to make thatÂ move to create the right atmosphere for holistic and co-coordinated development of the Niger Delta so that we can reconstruct our history in our true image of peace loving, industrious and God-fearing people.
â€œWhat the Niger Delta needs now to galvanize its development is peace. Such acts as kidnapping, pipeline vandalization, oil well shut down, illegal bunkering and other negative acts are not in our overall best interest and, therefore, should be stopped.
â€œAs a threshold to the actualization of the creation of a climate of peace throughout the length and breadth of the Niger Delta, the National Executive Council of the Niger Delta Youth Movement has set up a committee to draft a most comprehensive Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM) peace and security blueprint.
â€œAs a precursory measure to lay a solid foundation for the creation and sustenance of durable peace throughout the length and breadth of the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Youth Movement is organizing the Niger Delta 2009 peace sports tournament involving three sporting events â€“ Beach Soccer, Swimming and Football.
â€œWe urge our Niger Delta brothers (militants) to join us in our vowed readiness to support and work for any measure that will reform our electoral system so that the rest of the world can have respect for our elections. The root cause of our problems today, as a nation, is that our electoral system is pitiably faulty.
â€œWe urge all the Niger Delta militants to surrender all their weapons to the Disarmament Sub Committee and come so that we can synergize our efforts to work towards the evolution of a truly civilized and democratized electoral system in which our votes will be counted and only those who will represent us physically and spiritually will emerge as our genuine leaders in 2011.â€