By Omeiza Ajayi
Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, has sued for sustainable peace in Niger Delta, saying the quest to have multinational oil companies relocate their operational headquarters to the region cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of rancour and violence.
Sylva gave the charge, weekend, in Abuja when Niger Delta Nonviolence Agitators Forum, NDNAF, invested him as its patron and peace ambassador.
People of Niger Delta had for some years been clamouring for multinationals to relocate their headquarters to the region to boost economic activities in the region and douse ethnic tensions.
At the event, Sylva said: “What I must say here is that the essence or core of your organisation is nonviolence and that is the essence of what we want in Nigeria.
“We must bring peace to Niger Delta. Sometimes, we are worried that investment opportunities are not coming to Niger Delta, but we must realise that it is our activities that will determine whether these opportunities will come or not.
“Right now, we are saying that oil companies must move their headquarters to Niger Delta. But we must ensure that the place is peaceful enough for the oil companies to move to the region. Because if the place is insecure, you will believe that no oil company will agree to go to the region.
“That is why this organisation is very important in Niger Delta. That is why we must begin to encourage those of you who are committed to making peace and trying to assuage those who are making trouble.
“So, I am really happy to be associated with this organisation. I will like to recommend that other organisations also emulate what you are doing and propagate the message of peace because what we need in Niger Delta more than anything else right now is peace and I believe that if there is peace, there will be prosperity.
“No investor would want to operate from far if there is peace because it costs him more operating from a distance. So, for us, I believe that if we can bring peace to the Niger Delta, these investors will not talk much, the number will speak for themselves.
National President of the forum, Wisdom Ikuli, in his remark said through Sylva’s unquantifiable sacrifices, over 30,000 ex-combatants were disarmed and inducted into the Disarmament, Demobilization, Deradicalization and Reintegration, DDR, initiative of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP.
He said: “Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, has changed the fortunes of many Niger Deltans and this to a large extent has led to a drastic reduction of crime and criminality in the region.”