Niger Delta: Militants Ask FG to Include Former Agitators in Negotiations
“Pipeline bombing cannot stop because the people going for the meeting do not know why they are going there. It is not the first, second, or third time and would not be the last. So, we cannot be deceived or bamboozled by whatever tag is given to the meeting”
Following the meeting between the Federal government and select elders from the Niger Delta region, peace may not be far from the region as militants have stated conditions that could lead to peace if honoured by the federal government.
While describing the meeting with the Federal Government by some stakeholders in the region as an exercise that will not put an end to the attacks on oil facilities, the agitators stated that none of the stakeholders chosen to be part of the meeting with the Federal Government was aware of the plight of the Niger Delta people.
Speaking through separate statements, the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front and the Concerned Militant Leaders, expressed dissatisfaction that no former militant leader was among those chosen to be part of representatives of the region in the meeting with government.
Leaders of the two groups, General Ben and General Playboy maintained that such a meeting without any recognized former Niger Delta militant would not protect the interest of the people of the region.
They also doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity on the $10bn development fund to be earmarked for the Niger Delta.
“Pipeline bombing cannot stop because the people going for the meeting do not know why they are going there. It is not the first, second, or third time and would not be the last. So, we cannot be deceived or bamboozled by whatever tag is given to the meeting.
“We insist on implementation of the report of the National Conference and other reports on the development of Niger Delta region. Anything short of this is insincere and will not be accepted. For a genuine peace, past reports of several commissions on Niger Delta must be visited,” they said.
General Playboy specifically said, “Our elders and leaders are not helping matters at all. They do not really know the plight of Niger Delta people because they are wealthy, quite rich and do not take issues about the region seriously.
“They do not know the common people in the region because they are not based in Niger Delta and cannot show holistic commitment to our struggle. Our elders represent themselves, and not the people in the rural areas.
“We don’t need people who will play politics with the genuine struggle of Niger Delta people. We don’t want people, who are not agitators. The real agitators are people like Alhaji Asari Dokubo, High Chief Government Tompolo, Egberipapa, General Africa, General Joshua and many others.
“These are the kind of people that can negotiate for our people. They know the plights of the Niger Delta people because they live in the same environment with them. They are not based abroad. They come down to the communities to know the feelings of the people. Such people should represent us.”
General Playboy however, noted that their position did not mean that they were disrespectful to the elders in the region, insisting that they (elders) were not needed at the meeting with the Federal Government.