By Dapo Akinrefon
A Niger Delta group, United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), has called on the Federal Government to dialogue with agitators from the South East just as it reiterated its solidarity with the goals of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Besides, the group warned agitators of Biafra not to see the Niger Delta as it’s conquered territory.
According to UNDEDSS, “the federal government should, without further delay, open channels of communication with the dissenters in the South-East of the nation who, so far, are merely peacefully exercising their Freedoms to Associate, to speak and to aspire towards non-violent self-determination, such as we’ve seen happening, even this year, in Britain and Canada, without causing any untoward reactions.”
Following an emergency meeting of UNDEDSS, its National Working Committee called on government to put behind it the rancor of political campaigns and “immediately start being perceived as being truly more open, more inclusive and more nationalistic in outlook, and less exclusive, sectional or partisan.”
In a statement by UNDEDSS secretary, Mr Tony Uranta urged the federal government to “urgently devise ways for it to begin to establish itself as more accessible, less militaristic, and more ready to deploy rule-of-law mechanisms to impartially interface with all persons or groups it perceives as being putative dissenters or opposed to it.”
The statements reads: “The Executive should show contrition for all its past recent acts of non-respect for the Powers and Independence of the Legislative and Judicial Arms of the FGN, and, immediately cease the frighteningly increasing Culture of Impunity such as evidenced in its constant refusal to comply with orders on it by the Judiciary, and the Legislative and Judicial Arms should reciprocate, all for The General Good of the Nigerian citizenry.
“The fighting forces of Nigeria must be expeditiously and comprehensively equipped with the best affordable matériel and training, regardless of source, must be shown its limitations in a democracy, and must cease to see itself as an instrument of internal coercion against Nigerian citizens, instead of being rightly identified and revered, by law-abiding citizens of this Democracy, as last-bastion defenders of the nation’s integrity and space against armed incursions, insurrection, terrorism and the like.
“The legitimate duties and responsibilities of the Civil Security Agents (including the Police, the Department of State Securit [DSS] et al) must not be hijacked by any other Agencies of the FGN (including the Armed Forces!) in controlling civil security flashpoints, including the monitoring, interfacing with, or control of non-armed persons or groups exercising their democratic rights and freedom.
Calling on the government to check the excesses of Fulani herdsmen, the group said “The federal government must come out to reassure Nigerians and the world that it does not intend to condone the atrocities of cattle herdsmen or rustlers anywhere in Nigeria, that it will uphold the Right to Life of every Nigerian, that it will cease to subject citizens perceived as not being in its good books to unfair trial-by-media before arraigning and prosecuting said citizens if they have cases to answer, and that it will be less determined to have its way, even if that way is not congruent with the electorate leanings.”
“The federal government should ensure that nobody, henceforth, puts it in bad light by using haughty, foul or intemperate language when communicating, on the FGN’s behalf, with the Nigerian citizenry or the world at large.
“The federal government should, henceforth, exhibit a more sensitive and equity-driven awareness of the fact that Nigeria is not any one man’s (or group of men’s) fiefdom, and that this nation is an Agglomeration of Diversities (including Gender, Faith, Credo, Ethnic etc.) and nobody should behave in any way to suggest that any one Diversity is superior to the other; and, finally, and, most importantly,
“The FGN is hereby reminded of the Niger Delta region’s reaffirmation that it believes only in a United Federal Republic of Nigeria premised on Justice, Equity, Rule-of-Law and Truth; and the FGN should, as a matter of Urgent Priority, begin addressing the Resolutions arrived at consensually by all Delegates to the 2014 Nigerian National Conference, because Nigeria is in dire need of Restructuring and so many of the current cleavages Nigeria is experiencing would be permanently resolved deploying the National Conference’s Consensually-Adopted Resolutions, without partisan, ethnic, religious or other negative biases weighing in.”