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Niger Deltans need development, not militancy

By Efemena Agadama

The recent bombing of a crude oil pipeline belonging to Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNPECo, in Bayelsa State should be condemned by the people of Niger Delta and Nigeria.

The bombing, which has destroyed the pipeline that supplies crude to Egbomoturu Flow Station in Southern Ijaw local government area of the state, is one of the retrogressive elements that have been plaguing the Niger Delta region for years.

The youths, elites, elders and everyone in the Niger Delta region should rise up in one accord now and plant a lasting peace in the region. Peace is a fertile plant.It grows and bears edible fruits once planted and nurtured.

What are the militants fighting for that will make them to threaten, attack and kill? Who are they fighting for that has justified their reckless lawlessness? The resources that the federal government has been pouring into the Niger Delta are enough for every state in the region to have a considerable development.

The people of Niger Delta are honestly tired of threats being hauled like children throwing stones in the playground for fun. They are tired of speed boats cruising the Niger Delta river ways looking for Europeans and Americans to abduct. They are tired of the unjustifiable bombings and destruction of pipelines.

Such acts will scare foreigners from visiting the region. Last year, we extended an invitation to a British ambulance personnel who has good years of experience to come to the Niger Delta and join team of doctors to give free medical aid to children but she politely asked for the invitation to be postponed till further notice because of insecurity.  I understood her fears.

How do you invite foreigners to visit your region when those living there are not even safe because of the militants who call themselves lords-of-the-rivers and prince of violence? Are these militants fighting for the rights of the people of Niger Delta?  When has piracy become legal?  When has abducting foreigners become a legitimate tool for negotiation?

To abduct a British, American, or even fellow Nigerians is never an acceptable act.  It is criminal and creates a bad historical badge on the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians in general. For emphasis, the militants are not fighting for the people of Niger Delta. They are fighting for their pockets.

How many of them have shared their monetary rewards from the amnesty programme with their brothers or communities?  What have they given back to their communities?  They have become like the politicians of the region keeping the 13% to themselves and nuclear family members.

There should be no more violence.  No more bombings.  No more threats.  No more kidnappings.  No more militancy.  Let peace thrive for development.

Efemena Agadama, a poet, playwright and activist  wrote in from UK.


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