By Emma Amaize
An assemblage of militants in Niger Delta under the auspices of 21st Century Youths for Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, on Monday, identified the way forward for leaders assigned with the responsibility of overseeing the combined destiny of the people of Niger Delta in the second tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari
The militants in a position paper signed by the leader, self-styled “General” Izon Ebi, said, “The way forward if they are truly committed to making a difference is to raise the bar to ameliorate the plight of our people in the Niger Delta.”
“We advise that there should be honest and sincere dialogue and commitment to building trust, forgiveness, and purpose of unity by starting with the first step rebuilding confidence among the people. Our leaders must try to do the right thing now to rebuild confidence and purpose of forgiveness and unity.
“We cannot imagine why a Niger Delta agitator, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, not opportune to go-to choice schools, but when amnesty was proclaimed in 2009, decided to stay put in his kingdom Gbaramatu to build a world-class Diving Institute because of his love for his people, should be chased underground for doing good.
“As a way to take back illegal arms from the youths and give them livelihood that can be sustainable to drive the marine, petroleum and transport sectors for the much needed peace and development of the Niger later, he (Tompolo) initiated Nigeria Maritime University, NMU, which government acquired the diving institute facilities for its take-off.
“Instead of the federal government and some of the political leaders applauding him for the efforts, he is not vilified, blackmailed with trumped-up charges of corruption, they descended on him with federal might, brutalizing his father, Pa Ekpemupolo, who died subsequently after he leg was amputated,” they asserted.
The campaigners added: “As agitators with conscience championing the cause of the Niger Delta for equity and peace, we want to bring to the notice of the federal government and our leaders the widespread concerns over the composition of the current Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, board and the tenure of Bayelsa to produce the Managing Director, MD.”
“Our leaders should ensure that justice is done to truly put the region on the right path of development for peaceful coexistence in the region. We want to advise that, henceforth, the leadership of the management board of the NDDC should be appointed from within the commission NDDC.
“We cannot imagine professionals in their chosen fields of practice in the commission, who truly know the core mandate of NDDC and understand the development master plan being subjected to whims and caprices of political appointees whose interests are to award contracts and pursue their political ambitions.
“Our finding also reveals that if an NDDC administrator refuses to do the bidding of the political board, they get a transfer letter from the headquarter of the commission to state office where he/she cannot be an obstacle.
“All these are very important concerns that need urgent attention if our leaders should get it right this time. A house built on a faulty foundation cannot stand.
“At this juncture, we want to advise the federal government to render an unequivocal apology to the family of Government Epkemupolo, unfreeze his account, and drop all corruption charges against him. The government should him on board to contribute to the development, peaceful coexistence of the Niger Delta because there is no present leader that truly loves Niger Delta more than this young man.”
“A new path for the Niger Delta without these measures will be counterproductive to the peace and development of the Niger Delta region. It is time to put political difference and political affiliations aside and focus on the peace, development, and prosperity of the Niger Delta region.
“We truly have confidence in the eminent personalities saddled with the affairs of the Niger Delta, which is why we as partners and stakeholders in the affairs of the Niger Delta region are advising based on our findings to ensure that peace development and a prosperous Niger Delta come to light in this 21st century,” they stated.