By Egufe Yafugborhi
WARRI—ITSEKIRI Leaders of Thought, ILOT, has condemned calls by Chief Edwin Clark and allies for withdrawal of military from the Niger Delta, saying the continued menace of militants destroying oil assets makes military’s stay indispensable.
ILOT, in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, also described as a “disgraceful outing,” the recent Abuja meeting where Chief Clark’s Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, presented a 16-point demand to the president.
ILOT’s letter, signed by Pa J.O.S. Ayomike, its Chairman, Edward Ekpoko, Secretary and others, said: “Apart from the damage to our economy, our environment today is in ruins due to the senseless and criminal activities of some misguided youths, aided and abetted by some elders and politicians.
“The presence of security force is to enforce law and order. To, therefore, ask for its withdrawal is an invitation to anarchy. Acts of criminality must be separated from genuine efforts to develop the region. We maintain that unless the full force of the law is brought on the criminals vandalizing oil and gas installations, there will be no end to it.”
On a result oriented approach to development of the Niger Delta, ILOT said: “The problem with interventionist agencies is not necessarily insufficient funds but management of same. Funds meant for development of the region have been mismanaged over the years with the agencies producing billionaires while the communities are impoverished and going into extinction. The Federal Government should look into the management of these agencies and ensure that they are transparently run. There are still politicians and their cronies from the region hiding billions and trillions of naira meant for the development of the region in their gigantic houses.”
The body impressed on President Buhari that some of the solutions to the region’s problems included revival of idle sea ports in Delta State, provision of shore protection at Ugborodo and Koko communities, and realization of the stalemated Export Processing Zone project also known as the Gas City Development in Warri South-West council of Delta State.”