*** Says to Equate Niger Delta Amnesty with the Northern Bandits is Unconscious
***Says Northern Governors are confused, contradictory propagandist statements without facing the realities.
***Urges them to Spend More time with their People
*** Congratulates Okonjo- Iweala on her confirmation and ratification as DG, WTO
***Urges Nigerians to sink their differences, salvage the country, we do not have any other country to go, we need for us to settle our political and religious differences.
*** Says he will be 94 years in May, When he dies, he wants to be buried by all well-meaning Nigerians in a peaceful atmosphere.
By Henry Umoru
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark has pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, restore peace and trust to the country.
According to Clark, President Buhari should give us a Nigeria where all are treated equally as citizens irrespective of tribe, region and religion in the areas of appointments and allocation of Federal positions, just as he said that he will be 94 years in May this year and when he dies, he would want to be buried by all well-meaning Nigerians in a peaceful atmosphere.
Addressing a Virtual Press Conference yesterday in Abuja, the Elderstateman said that the call for the President to bring about peace and trust to the country has become very imperative against the backdrop that he was voted for, by Nigerians.
Clark said, “I sincerely and honestly wish to appeal to our dear President Mohammadu Buhari to restore peace and trust to the country, because he was voted for, by Nigerians. I wish to add that President Jonathan conceding defeat in 2015 was not a mark of cowardice or inferiority, but because he believes in the unity of this country called Nigeria, where all Nigerians should have equal right to occupy any position, where all Nigerians are equal as citizens.It is rather unfortunate to see the Northern Governors being in confused state, making contradictory propagandist statements without facing the realities.
“All I am appealing to these Northern Governors is to spend more time with their people in their States, encourage the children to go back to school. No one else can do it for them. They should follow the footsteps of the six Military Governors who devoted their time in improving the lot of the children and building infrastructure in their States. They never flaunt themselves on the people. They were very humble and respectful.”
“All Nigerians believe in Nigeria, and they are ready at any time to co-operate with Mr. President to attend any meeting to discuss the affairs of the country, and the way forward. And on personal note, I will be 94 years in May this year. When I die, I want to be buried by all well-meaning Nigerians in a peaceful atmosphere. To my fellow Nigerians, let us sink our differences, salvage our country because we do not have any other country to go to. Let us settle our political and religious differences.”
He urged Nigerians to sink their differences, salvage the country, because we do not have any other country to go to and there is the urgent need for us to settle our political and religious differences.
The Elderstateman has lampooned the Kaduna-based, Islamic Cleric, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, asking him to desist from equating the Niger Delta agitation for resource control and environmental justice with the activities of the armed bandits operating in the North West region of the country.
Clark who noted that the two scenarios were entirely different and accused Gumi and his co-travellers, advocating for amnesty for the armed bandits of envy, ignorance and mischief, however, commended the peace efforts of Gumi and the other northern elite, saying that going into the forests to persuade the bandits to drop their arms and desist from further attacks on communities, killing and maiming fellow citizens was a step in the right direction.
He recalled how him and other leaders in the Niger Delta embarked on similar missions during the heat of the militancy in the region. He
The South-South Leader who noted that to Equate Niger Delta Amnesty with the Northern Bandits as not only criminal but unconscionable, said, ” The attempt to equate the Niger Delta Amnesty with the northern bandits is not only criminal but unconscionable. The whole idea of comparing the Niger Delta militants who are exposed to all kinds of diseases, illnesses and deprivations, as a result of oil exploration, with people whom we are told are not Nigerians, who enter into the country illegally, thus violating the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol, is very inhuman.
“Some Nigerians who live outside the Niger Delta, who are not affected by the pollution going on in the Niger Delta, but whose lifestyle is supported and sustained by the resources of the Niger Delta behave like the imperialists, who live by the proceeds of the colonized.
“Some Nigerians who live outside the Niger Delta, who are not affected by the pollution going on in the Niger Delta, but whose lifestyle is supported and sustained by the resources of the Niger Delta behave like the imperialists, who live by the proceeds of the colonized. Unfortunately, such wealthy Nigerians, particularly from the North, rather than using these proceeds for the good of all by developing their region, they use it for and on themselves, for their selfish purposes. Hence the emergence of Amajiris, Boko Haram and AK47 herdsmen.”
Clark who argued that there was no basis for comparison between what happened in the Niger Delta that led to the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the activities of the bandits in the North West geopolitical zone, said, “Sheikh Abubakar Gumi and his cohorts, who are quite many among the Fulanis, seem to be ignorant and envious of the Amnesty granted by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, in August, 2009, and which was opened for embracing until 4th October 2009, by the then Niger Delta agitators.
“The case of the Niger Delta agitators, is quite different from the case of these murderous, bloodthirsty villains, who have taken up arms against the state, using different names, whether as Boko Haram, bandits, killer herdsmen, kidnappers, etc. What is it they are demanding? Initially, we were told that as Boko Haram, they were against western education, they started killing, maiming, and destroying properties. Then they changed and we were told that some of them have changed to answer bandits and all sorts of names. We are even told by the Government, including Mr. President himself, that they are not Nigerians.
“On the other hand, it was the dehumanization, environmental pollution, destruction of natural source of income generation, which include fishing, farming, timber work etc., exclusion from job which under natural circumstances they are
qualified for, but the same Oil Companies will rather go hinterland to recruit people that are not qualified, to do jobs such as diving, underwater welding, and boat driving. Instead of employing the community people who are naturally savvy
in these fields/areas.
“Therefore, the grievances of these Niger Delta youths was and still is, against the government, as against the exploiting Oil Companies which have remained adamant by refusing to develop their areas of operation but have continued to
fly their people from Lagos to perform their job at the rigs in the creek, and flown back to Lagos at the end of each working day.
“These companies have not deemed it fit to put up buildings and offices to accommodate and quarter their workers. In rare cases when it is necessitated, these oil companies will rather use houseboat which they hire at very high cost, and which they will dismantle at the end of the operation, and then move to another location at the end of their exploration.
“Worst still, if they decide to erect any form of camps in the community, there is apparent discrimination between these camps which will be well lit with uninterrupted 24 hours electricity supply, with all amenities, such as hospitals,
portable water, good schools for the children and wards of the workers, good roads, well stocked shopping complexes, all only available to the oil company workers, whilst the rest of the host community people can best be described asliving in a stone age, with deplorable and impassable roads, no electricity, the roads around the camp will be tarred to their Airstrip.
“The villages and communities are left in abject poverty and neglect. The people of the host communities do not even take part in execution of contracts in these oil companies. The young men of the communities are jobless in their own homes, meanwhile, jobs are flying over their heads. No oil blocs are given to sons and
daughters of the region.”
The Ijaw leader has however taken a swipe at the Northern Governors, saying that it is rather unfortunate to see them in confused state, where they make contradictory propagandist statements without facing the realities, just as he asked the Northern Governors to spend more time with their People to enable them have a total grasp of what the people are going through.
Clark who congratulated the former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala on her confirmation and ratification as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, WTO, said that he is confident that she will perform her duties creditably.
He said, “Firstly, let me congratulate His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, all Nigerians, and particularly my people of the South-South geo-political zone on the recent feat of the emergence of one of our own, Dr. Ngozi Okonko-Iweala, as the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This appointment has, again, raised the image of Nigeria in the world.
“My hearty congratulations to her. I am confident that she will perform her duties creditably, having regard to her past performances. This appointment and indeed that of several other Nigerians at the international level, points to the fact that Nigerians are great people, and can do great things when given opportunities. I am indeed proud of all our illustrious sons and daughters, who are doing well, home and abroad.”