‘Consolidate Gains Of Osinbajo N’ Delta Tour’

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Former Chairman, Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council and Amanyanabo of Kalabari, KingT.J.T Princewill Amachree X (middle), Chairman of the occasion, Senator Thompson Sekibo, represented by Commissioner, Public Complaints Commission, Rivers State, Dr Alpheaus Paul-Worika (right) and Prof Clifford Teme of Rivers State University at the National Museum, Port Harcourt.

A Niger Delta peace advocacy group, the Grassroots Initiative for Peace and Social Orientation (GIPSO), has urged the Federal Government to build on the successes of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s recent tour to achieve lasting peace in the region.
GIPSO noted that only widespread consultation with all segments of Niger Delta region would facilitate the realisation of the peace package put together by Osinbajo for the region.
According to the group, there is need for robust engagements on ways to actualise the take-off of the development plans unveiled by the Federal Government during the peace building tour of Niger Delta region.
The group, in a statement issued by its National Coordinator, Mr Richard Akinaka, noted that a report from the interactive sessions with key stakeholders showed a need for continued grassroots consultation and engagement.
Akinaka explained that the ongoing engagement was giving more attention to people who blackmailed government by destroying pipelines in the Niger Delta region, instead of those who sincerely worked for peace and development of the region.
GIPSO said: “While everything seems to be going well as those whose interests are being served, a precedent is being wrongly set for others who may lose support and again resort to further agitation.
“It is going to be counter-productive and undermine the peace process by rewarding those who took up arms against the government; they should talk to wider sections of the Niger Delta people, and not skew the dialogue with violence-prone people; they should consult widely.
“They should not sideline critical stakeholders and knowledgeable people who have interest and background in the peace building process in the region.
“Rewarding those who took up arms for no reasons whatsoever and treating them with kid gloves should not be all that the peace process is about, there is more to it than that.
“As much as we are interested in the initiative and process the Vice President has started, the Vice President should be very careful about the people who are coordinating the process.
“It is wrong to leave out communities where there were no pipeline damages.
“With what is going on now, anyone of the ex-militants can decide to start blowing up pipelines to draw the government’s attention to their side.
“Our advice to the government is, let them not set a bad precedent that will be disastrous tomorrow in the name of rewarding those who destroyed the national assets in the name of Avengers because others are watching. There are complaints here and there,” he argued.
On the recent agitation by some oil-bearing states for inclusion in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Akinaka described the call as pathetic and uncalled for as agitators from those states in various camps were already enjoying amnesty.
“It is strange to some of us, who from the beginning, we were involved in this process, some agitators, few of them from those states who were part of the Niger Delta struggle, submitted arms in their operating states because there were no militant camps in their states,” Akinaka said.