By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€”A former militant leader in the Niger Delta, Soboma Jackrece, also known as Egberipapa, has urgedÂ former militant leaders in the region to re-direct the minds of youths in the region from the culture of violence and bloodletting.
Speaking in a chat withÂ Vanguard, he said that what the region needed most at the moment was an atmosphere of peace that would allow development programmes to go on. According to him, when peace is sustained, the region will appreciate better the gains of the amnesty declared for ex-militants in the region. The peaceful atmosphere, he said, would enable the Federal Government come up with steps to address the long years of neglect and deprivation suffered by the people.
He said it was time for youths in the region to embrace dialogue and be strongly opposed to the culture of violence.
He said the Federal Government should be given a chance to unfold its post amnesty programme for the area.
According to him, ex militant leaders in the state and the region should also be part of process to reorientate the minds of youths towards peace.
â€œI am strongly calling on all ex-militant leaders in the Niger Delta region to contribute their quota to maintaining peace and development in our region. A major responsibility of re-orienting our boys lies on our ability to develop certain opportunities for them to partake so as to identify the potentials useful for their growth and the betterment of our society at large.
â€œThis is not a time to shoot guns or train people to shoot guns, rather it is a time to discover and encourage the potentials of those that have fought for our beloved Niger Delta, for instance.
â€œIt is in the best interest of our people to desist from all sorts of activities that are inimical to sustaining peace and development in our region, for now let us give the government the opportunity to execute their promises. We advise all ex-militant to desist from attitudes not be-fitting a freedom fighter, like the immoral acts of rape committed at the University of Port Harcourt a few weeks ago, such an act is highly condemnable.
How can you assault the people you claim to be fighting for? Such acts will not be condoned any longer, while some of us are struggling to genuinely present the case of our deprived people others are bent on sabotaging and giving us bad image.â€
The statement said the federal government had not shown signs of wanting to back out of its promises to address challenges in the region so should be given a chance.