By James Ezema
LAGOS — There have been mixed reactions to renewed attacks and threat to resume bombing of oil installations in the Niger Delta region by militants.
While some believe it was a reflection of a failure of the amnesty project in the region, others said the post-amnesty programme is succeeding, just as others urged the Federal Government to be decisive in dealing with insecurity in the region, blaming it on the antics of politicians to create a sense of insecurity to score cheap political point.
MEND had claimed responsibility for attack on American oil giant, ExxonMobil facility in Akwa Ibom State, Sunday and threatened to resume full attack on oil installations in the Niger Delta, with Joint Military Task Force, JTF, beginning military operation in suspected militants hideout in creeks in the region.
Speaking on telephone with Vanguard yesterday, former NADECO chieftain and Coordinator of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms,CODER, Chief Ayo Opadokun said: “The fact that the Nigerian state has criminally neglected the Niger Delta area over the years, is a sufficient reason for inhabitants of that environment whose lifestyle had been eternally damaged beyond repairs to agitate for the correction of the anomalies in the place.
“One of the dividends of the amnesty is that those who were militants surrendered their weapons to government, so to say. Information has it that not up to 40 per cent of the war arsenals in their possession was eventually surrendered. So, the incidents you’re getting today are to confirm that they have not totally disarmed,” Opadokun said.
He maintained that “a major reason why the Niger Delta will remain as it is today is that these militants have been busy engaging in bunkering and bunkering provides them with hard currencies.
There is no amount that the Federal Government can give to them on monthly basis that will satisfy them. So, each time they are broke, they will like to do something to create a situation of confusion so that they will explore the situation for their own economic gains”.
On his part, former presidential candidate of African Renaissance Party, ARP, Alhaji Yahaya Ndu, insisted that the solution to the problems was a return to true federalism where governance emanates from a Nigerian people’s constitution.
He said: “At best, the amnesty programme can be palliative. Every right thinking patriot in Nigeria knows that the real solution to these thing will be the real Nigerian people’s government, emanating from a Nigerian people’s constitution, emanating from a Nigerian people’s conference. ”
Anything short of that will never give us a lasting solution.
On what must be done at the moment, Alhaji Ndu said: “Military operations can only make matters worse. Nobody will go to invest in a war zone; military operations will simply turn Niger Delta into a war zone which will be stupid for Nigeria to embark on now.
The solution is to plead with the people in the Niger delta and assure them that Nigeria will be turned into a true federation and beginning the process for it now. Anything apart from that is negative, unpatriotic and should be sanctioned”, he fumed.
However, the national chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN), the body training repentant militants under the federal government post-amnesty programme in skills acquisition and counseling at Obubra, Cross River State, Mr Allen Onyema, blamed the renewed attack on oil installations in the region on politicians who were trying to score cheep political point by creating a sense of insecurity in the area.
He insisted that the post-amnesty programme was not only on course but has also become a model for the whole world following the success recorded through the federal government’s amnesty programme.