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‘Military operation won’t stop militancy in Niger Delta’

AS the Federal Government intensifies efforts to end renewed militancy in the Niger Delta, chairman of the Niger Delta Bishops Forum, Archbishop God-Dowell Avwomakpa has urged the military to review its operational onslaught on young adults, arguing that the operation won’t end militancy.

Avwomakpa who fought the Niger-ian Civil War as a young soldier before he got called to the vineyard, noted that negotiation, engagement of respected community/religious leaders, diplomacy and strategic planning is key in any warfare.

While calling on well meaning citizens to mediate in the renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta by the Niger Delta Avengers, Avwomakpa called on the Federal Government to persuade the Niger Delta fighters to embrace peace in order for gov-ernment to attain the height it plans to attain under this administration.

He called on the Muhammadu Buhari-led government not to do away with the amnesty programme which late President Umaru Yar’Adua put in place, noting “to do away with the programme is like removing old landmark, which is an invitation to trouble.”

He stressed that the amnesty programme made it possible for some young adults to acquire formal education in different tertiary institutions in Nigeria and abroad and beneficiaries of such training, most of whom are now reformed and gainfully employed, can never forget the investment on them by their fatherland.

According to him, this government should as part of the change mantra do something that the young adults can remember the Buhari admini-stration for. He thus urged the Federal Government to invite all aggrieved groups across the country, including the Boko Haram insurgents, the Biafra agitators, the Niger Delta Avengers amongst others to the negotiation table.

Archbishop Avwomakpa further argued that in order to sustain the public trust, President Buhari and members of his cabinet should tackle the issue of mass unemploy-ment and corruption, noting that it is difficult to preach morality to an habitual hungry man.

Avwomakpa also noted that the constant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the South South, Middle Belt and South East should be tackled by arresting and prosecuting the Fulani herdsmen offenders.

He insisted that cattle rearing is a business so the herdsmen should see it as such and stop using their businesses to destroy other people’s businesses, adding that the best solution to the constant clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers does not lie in the grazing bill that is before the National Assembly.



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