September 2, 2016

N-DELTA CRISIS: Why FG must shun force— S-East, S-South professionals

N-DELTA CRISIS: Why FG must shun force— S-East, S-South professionals


*Disagree with Ango Abdulahi on use of force

By Clifford Ndujihe

LAGOS—THE South-East and South-South Professionals, have, disagreed with former Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo on Food and Security, Ango Abdullahi, over his call on the Federal Government to fight Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, before taking on the Boko Haram insurgents.

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At a book launch in Abuja, on Tuesday, Abdullahi who said that the unity of Nigeria was negotiable and Nigerians could go their separate ways “if we could not peacefully develop the country,” added: ‘’We are not happy with the kind of standard of security that is applied in the country. If you are not going to fight (Niger-Delta) Avengers, you should stop fighting Boko Haram’’ because the activities of the Avengers constitute the greatest challenge to the security of the nation.

Disagreeing with Ango Abdullahi, SESS professionals said dialogue was the surest way to resolve the Niger-Delta crisis, arguing that force will be counter-productive given the nature of the militancy in the oil-rich region.

Led by Mr Emeka Ugwu-Oju, a four-man team of the SESS professionals, which included Mr Albert Iyorah, Mr Dagogo Karibi-Whyte and Mr Charles Iyore, spoke during a courtesy visit to Vanguard, on Wednesday.

‘’We are interested in quick resolution of the Niger-Delta crisis so that we can focus on our multi-billion dollars agenda for the region. ‘You can’t get peace in Niger-Delta by force. The militancy is not about people carrying guns to fight people. It is about sabotage to reduce oil production to zero. It is going to be self-destruct if we go by force.

“As SESS Professionals, we say you can’t achieve anything by force. If we did, we will be taking ourselves so many years back. We are involved in the dialogue. We were part of the first meeting in Abuja. A template for further dialogue with all relevant stakeholders was created but two months after, there seems to be efforts to ensure that the dialogue does not hold.”

Arguing that they had designed a 20-year economic programme for the South-East and South-South geo-political zones and had set up a committee to generate funds to pursue the agenda independent of the 11 state governments, they said peace was needed to drive the agenda.

‘’At our Port Harcourt meeting, recently, we set up a committee to get funds to do what should be done in both zones. If we are able to raise $1billion, it will be easy to get counter-part funding and if $20 billion is well managed, it will change the face of South-East and South-South but we can’t have development without peace. That is why we want the Niger-Delta crisis resolved. With equity and justice, it is easy to deal with criminals.’’