Ex-militants, under the auspices of the 21st Century Youths of the Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience, on Saturday, vowed to renew hostilities in the region if the Federal Government continued to renege on agreement with their leaders.
The former agitators particularly frowned on the delay of the Federal Government in reaching agreement with the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) for a critical and holistic look towards a peaceful resolution of the alleged myriad problems facing the region.
In a statement by ‘General’ Izon Ebi, on behalf of the group, the ex-militants urged the Federal Government to revisit the 16-point agenda presented by the elders of the region or risk another major crisis that might cripple the Nigeria’s ‘fragile’ economy.
They also said they were in total in support of the call by the Gbaramatu Kingdom, the country home of Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, for the Federal Government to obey the letters and spirits of their agreement.
The ex-militants noted: “It is rather unfortunate that the goose which lays the golden eggs for all the nation to enjoy is left to wallow in abject poverty and neglect.
“It can be said without fear of contradiction that all billionaires with their paraphernalia of wealth in this country could trace the source of their wealth to Niger Delta communities, but all they have to show for it is environmental degradation, and stark poverty that constantly stares the inhabitants in the face.”
The ex-agitators also lamented the abysmal role of state and federal legislators, governors and those elected in positions of authorities from the region, whom they claimed were scared and totally not in tune with the needs and expectations of the people.
They added: “The role of politicians in the state and federal level has been abysmal. It is like they are scared and totally not in tune with the needs, expectations, and agreement reached between the Federal Government and the communities, thus setting the communities on an edge that can snowball into another conflagration sooner than later.
“Even more worrisome is the vilification of Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who has contributed immensely towards the realisation of peace in the Niger Delta through his embrace of the amnesty programme.
“His positive contributions played great roles in the establishment of the Maritime University in Delta State. Various other youths’ empowerment programmes and community development projects can be traced to Tompolo.
“It thus confounds all logical reasoning why the one that is in tune with the plight of his people is vilified, hounded and his properties seized on fabricated allegations that hold no merit.
“The 21st CYNDAC categorically states that all agreements entered into by the government with the host communities should be honoured.
“We also stand in support of the full restoration of the rights to his properties and agreements entered with the Federal Government and Tompolo.
“We also urge the Federal Government to revisit the 16-point agenda presented by PANDEF to the government for a critical and holistic look towards a peaceful resolution of the myriad of problems facing the Niger Delta.
“It speaks negatively of the government that when the oil taps and gas flares are on, every agreement is suspended until the taps are off again for another round of negotiation and agreements.
“We and the people of the Niger Delta are tired of this cycle of motion without progression while outsiders are the main beneficiaries of the wealth of our region.
“Though the 10-days ultimatum given by the Gbaramatu Kingdom has come rather late, we support their genuine agitations.”
The ex-militants said they would not accept the alleged serial rape on resources and negligence of the owners and custodians of the same resources.
They further said the alleged maltreatment of Tompolo would no longer be accepted and tolerated.
They added: “For one, whose singular intervention has made it possible for criminality to cease in the Warri/Escravous waterways, and who has provided accommodation and facilities for communities and is creating sustainable impactful programmes for youths, should be commended.
“It should further be noted that the present seeming success of the Amnesty programme and peace in the creeks can be attributed majorly to the intervention of Tompolo.
Therefore, the further ill-treatment and vilification of Tompolo will no longer be accepted by youths of the Niger Delta.
“We use this platform to urge the government at both the federal and state levels, to build bridges of mutual trust and understanding with Tompolo as it will further cement the peace in the oil rich region.”
Credits| The Nation