By Emma Amaize
WARRI—TRADITIONAL rulers, chiefs and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta, weekend, warned that further delay in the kick-off of the long awaited dialogue would not profit the country and the international community, including the United States and the European Union, which contributed to the prevailing peace in the region.
The monarchs, through the paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, Delta State, HRM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, however, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for hearkening to their cry to release the 10 youths arrested by soldiers in Oporoza community, four months ago.
He said: “A delegation including myself, the paramount ruler of Ogulagha Kingdom, HRM Elder Joseph Timiyan, Amayanabo of Opobo, HRM Dandison Douglas, Ebenanaowei of Bomo Kingdom, HRM King Igbugburu and HRM Obi of Ejeme-Unor, Chief Wellington Okrika, T. K. Ogoriba, Famous Daunemugha, Chief Dan Ekpebide and Hendrick Opukemem, visited the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at Abuja, last month, to make this and other demands and we are happy with the swift response.
“We wish to reiterate our gratitude, support and loyalty to the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, led by President Buhari, to do the needful by setting up his dialogue team, which was earlier announced in June 2016 to kick-start the long awaited dialogue now, as further delay will not be in the best interest of the country and the international community, including the United States and the European Union.
“It will be recalled that sequel to the ceasefire declared by the Niger Delta Avengers, and other groups, a delegation of traditional rulers, chiefs and other stakeholders, including youth leaders, paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, on August 25, 2016.
“During discussions, the delegation appealed for confidence building through the Minister that Mr. President should release the 10 students arrested during the military incursion into Gbaramatu Kingdom on May 8, 2016. We also called for the release of the sacred golden sword and the three speed boats removed by the military during the operations.
“Barely two weeks after our visit to the Minister of State of Petroleum Resources, we are excited and happy to hear of the release of the 10 boys and prayerfully request Mr. President to release the three boats and the sacred golden sword in line with the continuous confidence building to create a level playing field for the ensuing dialogue.”