By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
A youth group under the aegis of Oro Progressive Movement, OPM, in Akwa Ibom State, has said it is in peace talks with Ijaw youths in view of the controversy trailing the appointment of Effiong Akwa as the sole administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
National President of OPM, Mr Effiong Bassey who disclosed this to newsmen weekend, said they had sent emissaries to engage the Ijaw youths in diplomatic discussions over the issue.
Bassey expressed the hope that the hostilities by some sections of Ijaw youths would soon be put to rest following the peace overtures extended to them.
He explained that the Oro and Ijaw ethnic groups are brothers, stressing that the recent report from the Obolo Council attested to that fact.
He said, ”We are brothers. We have reached out to them formally and informally. The truth is that the diplomatic gestures is already yielding fruits because some of them are no longer in support of any protest they were planning to have in January and all of that.
”If you see in one of our prayers which we said a call to the brotherhood. By historical facts, the Oro and Ijaws are brothers not just by the geographical location of where we are. That is why you will see that the recent report from the Obolo Council attested to the fact that we are brothers.
“So we have reached to them and are still reaching out to them. And of course, the challenges of the Niger Delta is such that what should unite us is the squalor, the neglect, the marginalization cut across.
“So, sometimes we could become overzealous to try to vent our anger on certain things, but the main challenge of the Niger Delta cuts across all the parts of the Niger Delta”
Bassey, however, called for close monitoring of projects in the Niger Delta region in order to stem the tide of abandoned projects especially those awarded by the NDDC in all states of the region.
”Sometimes some projects were not properly defined in certain areas and communities and there were multiplications of projects. Sometimes even between states and the commission”, he noted