By Ovasa Ogaga,
The Executive Chairman, Egbema and Gbaramatu Communities Foundation, Comrade Jude Ebitimi Ukori has pleaded with members of the the dreaded militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA to sheath their swords and allow dialogue take centre stage in their agitation for the development of the Niger Delta.
Ukori made the plea following the threat by to the group to renew hostility in the Niger Delta region over the failure by the Federal Government to implement the 16 points development agenda which it agreed with the region’s leader under Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
He also pleaded with the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency implement the 16 points agenda presented by PANDEF which includes the presidential amnesty programme, law and justice, the effect of increased military presence in the Niger Delta, plights of internally displaced persons, the Ogoni clean-up and environmental remediation, the Maritime University issue, and key regional critical infrastructure.
Others were, security surveillance and protection of oil and gas infrastructure, relocation of Administrative and Operational Headquarters of IOCs, power supply, economic development and empowerment, inclusive participation in oil industry and ownership of oil blocs, restructuring and funding of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), strengthening of the Niger Delta Ministry, Bakassi question and fiscal federalism.
Comrade Jude Ebitimi Ukori in a chat with Advocate appealed to members of the Niger Delta Avengers to jettison their threat and embrace dialogue, saying any attempt on destruction of oil facilities will affect both the people of the Niger Delta and the Federal Government.
Ukori frowned at the attitude of the federal government in failing to address and implement the 16 points agenda presented to them by PANDEF which led to the cease fire few months ago.
He stated, “the most annoying part of it is that instead of the federal government to think of how they can address the issues of underdevelopment of the Niger Delta that lays the golden egg, all they could do was to launched operation crocodile smile, octopus gift and others to further militarize the Niger Delta instead of demilitarization”.
He lamented that instead of demilitarization of the Niger Delta, it was further militarization of the area, while he directed the World Bank to develop the North East. “There are reasons to be angry but there is also need to follow the process of dialogue to drive our points home”, he added.
Ukori admonished the federal government against using divide and rule by sponsoring fake groups against PANDEF which was legitimate group commissioned to speak on behalf of the Niger Delta