By Jimitota Onoyume
PORT HARCOURTâ€” FOREMOST Ijaw female activist, Ann Kio Briggs, has called on the Federal Government to demonstrate the necessary political will needed for the amnesty project for militants in the Niger Delta region to succeed.
Briggs who spoke to Vanguard said there were already signs that the amnesty was heading for the rocks. She urged the government to come up with immediate steps to rescue the post amnesty programme from total collapse.Â Continuing, the female activist warned that should the federal government failed to heed advice the situation in the region could become worst than what it was before the amnesty came up.
â€œFirst I disagree with those that say there is peace in the region. There was never any war in the region. People rather were aggrieved and felt the only way they could express their anger was to take up arms. Nothing is okay in the region.
The people of the region like to give a second chance, want to believe the government. I was part of the process on the side of my people that interacted with Tompolo, Ateke, Shoot at Sight, etc, to say let us give this thing a chance. That was how this disarmament process came about. Bringing out guns was not because of any threat from the amnesty committee.
They did not listen to the amnesty committee rather it was their own people they listened to. Words like massive infrastructural development were used by President Yarâ€™ Adua and confirmed by General Abbe, Chairman,Â Amnesty Committee.
Today what we have is massive discouragement, massive frustration in the region, and massive anger on the streets of the region. Nothing promised the region has been delivered.
â€œThe Ministry of Niger Delta was created and it was handed over the East West road to build. It is fraud. The road belongs to the Federal government. It only runs through the region. All the things promised the region have not been delivered.â€
â€œPeople like Tompolo have people under them. What is happening to these people?
Where is the reorientation and reintegration?Â Imagine saying you will give the people training on shoe making. Who will repair shoes? Whose shoes are they going to make or repair? It is really frustrating. It is only a question of time before we find ourselves way back where we found ourselves in terms of reactions, frustrationsâ€.
â€œBeing some one who knows the feeling of my people, I know the amnesty would run into difficult situation because of the way it was started. Government should demonstrate the needed political will to make it work. Imagine pushing people out of the creeks without any proper programme for them.â€
Continuing, she further called for the implementation of the ten percent equity granted oil bearing communities in the region by Yar Adua before he went to Saudi last year for medicare. Nevertheless, she said that was not all the region wanted as it remained a common demand of the region that they should be allowed hundred percent control of their resources. .
â€œThough the ten percent to the region is a good thing but that is not the issue. What we want is full control of our resources. Imagine three months now, we donâ€™t know who is justified to access the ten percent. We never asked for ten percent. It only came up from the federal government to appease the regionâ€.
Adding, she said the nation should carry out a sovereign national conference to find solutions to all its challenges.
â€œWhat will resolve issues in the country and Niger Delta is a sovereign national conference (SNC) where we dialogue on whether we should remain one as a country and under clearly defined conditions..â€