Southsouth elders to militants: emulate Avengers

The militant groups still bombing pipelines and other facilities/installations of oil companies have been urged to emulate the members of Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on cessation of hostilities in the crude oil and gas-rich region.

Southsouth leaders, under the aegis of the South-South Peoples Conference (SSOPEC), at a news conference yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, through their Chairman, Prof. Sotonye Amakiri, lauded the NDA for embracing dialogue with the Federal Government.

SSOPEC stated that the latest move by the NDA would bring about peace and revive the economic activities in the Niger Delta.

The leaders noted that NDA’s cessation of hostilities would also enable the Federal Government, armed youths and the aggrieved groups to seek lasting solutions to the challenges confronting the Niger Delta.

The group said: “SSOPEC commends NDA for listening to the call of elders and leaders of the Southsouth geo-political zone, by its declaration of cessation of hostilities with the Federal Government.

“SSOPEC urges other armed and aggrieved groups in the Southsouth to follow the good example of NDA to cease fire and dialogue with the Federal Government for improved security and peace of the region.

“SSOPEC is also pleased with the Federal Government for its willingness to open dialogue with armed and aggrieved groups in the Niger Delta.

“We wish to advise that the anticipated dialogue must be comprehensive, sincere and all-embracing, to secure enduring security and peace in the Southsouth geopolitical zone and other parts of the Niger Delta.”

The Southsouth leaders also stated that violence was not an alternative to bring to government attention, the issues of under-development and environmental degradation confronting the Niger Delta region.

The group reminded the other Niger Delta militants that while they were busy attacking oil and gas installations and causing panic, other parts of Nigeria would take advantage of the situation in the region to fast-track development of their areas.

The leaders expressed optimism that successful dialogue between the Federal Government, armed and aggrieved groups would end the current pollution of the Niger Delta environment, partly caused by pipeline burst, due to old age.

SSOPEC said: “President Muhammadu Buhari should consider the current calls for restructuring of Nigeria, which will reposition the country to achieve greatness.”

“There is no doubt that majority of the people of the Southsouth geopolitical zone strongly believe in one united, indivisible and indissoluble Nigeria, where no section is oppressed.

“To achieve this, Nigeria by content and practice, must be changed, as pretence over the years has failed to help matters.”

The group, described as the mouthpiece of the people of Niger Delta, also admonished foreign and local investors to make significant investments in the Niger Delta, to stimulate the economy and create employment and wealth in the region.

Judges and magistrates were equally urged to conduct themselves in the best interest of the nation, since their actions and inactions would significantly affect the lives of the people.

SSOPEC assured that it would continue to promote democratic ideals and rule of law, to ensure peaceful co-existence and development in the Niger Delta and other parts of Nigeria.

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