By Ola Ajayi
IBADANâ€”Former Petroleum Minister, Professor Tam David-West, yesterday faulted the protest registered by the Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) that the attack on Atlas Cove jetty in Lagos could trigger full-blown tribal war. He said in as much as he would not support the destruction of the jetty, he said the YCE erred by tribalising the issue.
Contrary to the claims of the YCE, he argued that the jetty did not belong to the Yoruba but the property of the Federal Government. He warned the elders not to take the attack as confrontation with the Yoruba as that would be tantamount to triviliasing the issue.
The professor of virology said, â€œI donâ€™t support the attack on Atlas Cove because of its economic consequences in the country. But the installation does not belong to the Yoruba. It belongs to the Federal Government.â€ â€œViewing it as a Yoruba property amounts to tribalising the attack as well as trivializing the Niger Delta crisis, he stated .â€
He urged the government to make public alleged sponsors of the militants who were said to have been found in one of the camps bombed by the Joint Task Force recently.
With the serious nature of the Niger Delta crisis, he advised the government to engage the militants in dialogue to actually know where the shoes are pinching them so that there would be amicable resolution of the crisis.
He described governmentâ€™s action of releasing the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Henry Okah, as mere propaganda which is a far cry to the issue at hand.
According to him, â€œUntil the matter is tackled with the seriousness it requires, the problem will linger. Releasing Okah was only used for propaganda. That is not the issue. Government needs to address the fundamental issues. That is why Okah said he could not guarantee that his release would stop militancy.â€