By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA IJAW youths from the Niger Delta region have kicked against the decision of the Nigerian Military to commence the second phase of the security operation known as Operation Crocodile smile in the region.
They said though indigenes of the region have maintained peace and showed strained disposition to the lacklustre pace to implement development programmes in the region, the people of the region are in need of happiness that comes from massive infrastructural projects and not operation crocodile smile.
The youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide led by Eric Omare, in a statement said what the Niger Delta need is beautiful human smile that would bring joy to the people through policies of development and not military operations.
According to the statement, “the military set to commence the operation crocodile smile 11 from Saturday, the 7th of October, 2017 in the Niger Delta region, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide says that what the Niger Delta region need are smiles of human joy flowing from positive developmental projects and not smiles of military induced crocodile.”
“Indeed the smile of the crocodile is ugly and not a good sight to behold. What the Niger Delta need is beautiful human smile that would bring joy to the people through policies of development and not military operations.
“The Niger Delta region that has been surviving the Nigerian state since 1958 when oil was discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State has experienced too much pains rather than joy. The IYC disagrees with the argument of the military that the operation crocodile smile is a routine military training exercise.
“We hold the strong view that military exercise of whatsoever nature is not required in the region; rather we need practical steps to address the developmental challenges facing the region.
“We believe that if the developmental challenges facing the region are addressed, there would be no need to train military officers in preparation for military operations of whatsoever nature in the region.
“The IYC demand that instead of operation crocodile smiles, the federal government should fulfill its promises to the region which led to the cessation of militant activities in 2016. It is sad to note that the federal government has even failed to release funds for the take-off of the maritime university, Okerenkoko, Delta State despite claim by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at Akure, Ondo State that two billion naira has been released.
“It would interest Nigerians to note that the two billion naira the federal government refused to release for the take-off of the maritime university had earlier been released to the university management during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan through the Patrick Akpobolokaemi led NIMASA.
“The money was only returned to the treasury single account upon the assumption of office of President Buhari. However, the Buhari led administration has refused to release fund for the university to take-off despite the fact that the 2017/2018 academic session has started in institutions all over the world.
“It is germane to note that the immediate take-off of the maritime university was one of the key promises of the Buhari led federal government to the Niger Delta people.
“This singular act clearly shows that the federal government is not interested in enduring peace in the Niger Delta region but only the free flow of oil. This is very sad and condemnable. We call on the Buhari administration to change its military approach to issues of the Niger Delta and adopt development driven approach.”