August 18, 2020

Niger Delta insecurity: Write solutions, not inflammatory reports, stakeholders caution media

…As study again bemoans worsening insecurity in region

By Egufe Yafugborhi

NIGER Delta Dialogue, an advocacy forum to forge a better Niger Delta has cautioned the media to focus on solutions and not inflammatory comments and actions on lingering Niger Delta question.

Convener of the dialogue, Chief Judith Asuni, gave the caution on Monday in Port Harcourt where the forum bemoaned increasing insecurity in the region in a new study conducted across Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo and Rivers states.

The European Union-funded study by experts from civil society groups, the academia and the media highlighted that cultism, encouraged by a political class desperate for power was in the heart of rape, oil theft, armed robbery, kidnapping, killings and sundry criminality in the Niger Delta.

Asuni, the convener and Executive Director, Academic Associates PeaceWorks, said, “When you tune in your radio, television or open the papers in the morning, what do you hear people talk about? It’s on insecurity everywhere in Nigeria.

“And where are people talking about the insecurity? It’s the North East and other parts of the country. Very little is said of the Niger Delta. But we live better understand that we have a problem down here. That’s why commissioned this study.

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“We’ve looked Amnesty, insures of development, environment, youths and election violence. Now, we realise insecurity is a major issue in the region. There is travel advisory by foreign nations telling people to avoid the Niger Delta, everywhere except Port Harcourt.

“So the feedback we get from the study is interesting about the region’s security. What does this say for people coming to invest in the Niger Delta? What does it say for us living here? I’ve lived here for about 49 years. These studies show me how much insecurity than I knew in the region.

“So we really want the media to be involved in the public campaign at ensuring that the study recommendations are implemented. And we want the messages delivered in a way that seeks solutions. So the media should be careful about how they report these studies, not just inflammatory concerns, but to seek solutions.”

The report was presented by Ighoyota Akeregha, Head, Northern Region, of The Guardian, accommodated imputes from Ken Henshaw of We The People financial decency advocacy group and Dr. Kialee Nyiayaana of the University of Port Harcourt among other resource persons.