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Niger Delta leaders doubt Presidency’s sincerity on dialogue



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…It is clear Buhari doesn’t want peace in the Niger Delta — UNDEDSS

THE hope of dialogue between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta leaders to end the activities of the militants, particularly, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), appears to be deem, raising suspicions about the sincerity of the Presidency on the peace deal.

Several stakeholders in the region have articulated the view that the Federal Government is merely using the dialogue proposal to slow down the “Boys” from their militant activities apparently opening up the space for the military to penetrate the hinterlands to unleash mayhem. They argued that the cease fire declared by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has not been fully exploited by the Federal Government to put machinery for dialogue in motion rather the military has been intensifying its operations, essentially, “Operation Crocodile Smile” (OPS) in the region.

One of the advocacy groups in the Niger Delta under the aegis of the coalition of ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta, the United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), has decried what they consider as “President Muhammadu Buhari’s seeming disdain for peaceful resolution of the Niger Delta crisis;” stating that the “Federal Government is insincere about desiring to end the Niger Delta imbroglio peacefully and expeditiously.”

The UNDEDSS in a statement after the body’s Emergency National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Akure, Ondo State, on Friday, September 9, 2016, declared that, “the increasingly excessive and anti-people attempts by the Federal Government of Nigeria to seemingly intimidate and coerce the peoples of the Niger Delta, via military harassment, into submitting to what is perceived as an attempt to openly steal its resources and rights, worries all right-thinking people of the world; especially since all this is at a time that the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Group has succeeded in getting the armed agitators to cease fire unilaterally and express their collective readiness to embrace dialogue.”

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UNDEDSS Secretary General, Tony Uranta, remarked that “the world should note that the armed agitators have kept faith with their cease fire, and the creeks of the Niger Delta are relatively at peace, save for the Nigerian military ‘manoeuvrings’!”

Uranta complained: “We do not understand how any peace-intent Government would waste weeks before accepting any olive branch that would help free all Nigerians from the present nationwide economic hardship being suffered, when we can trace dwindling Government revenues, power instabilities and mass impoverishment directly to the ongoing imbroglio in our region.”

“Would we blame the men in the creeks if they lose confidence in the Federal Government’s insincerity,” Uranta protested.

UNDEDSS Secretary General lamented that “the delay in the Federal Government responding to these positive peace moves from the region as a whole, is making many lose faith in the sincerity of this administration to see Nigeria as its constituency; and has again resurrected the bogey of a virtual 97 to 5% dichotomy which Mr. President appears not to have progressively renewed his mind on.”

“Whilst we want the world to know that there appears to be a myopic hawkish agenda at play within Federal Government leadership circles, we unconditionally reiterate our 100 per cent confidence in the Chief Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Group; we strongly reiterate our position that only a sincere embracing of the 2009 Yar’Adua Niger Delta/National Peace Template can comprehensively and sustainably bring this impasse to an end, once and for all,” UNDEDSS declared.

ALSO SEE: President Buhari: Are you negotiating with Niger Delta or Ijaws?


It was noted that the continued military actions of Operation Crocodile Smile without indications of obvious preparations for dialogue by the Federal Government deepens the suspicion of insincerity or ulterior motive to destroy Niger Delta communities through force and continue the exploitation of the resources. This, the UNDEDSS vehemently contested.

“We unequivocally condemn all continuing violent harassment of innocent citizens and communities under the guise of a thinly-disguised military offensive, a.k.a. Operation Crocodile Smile; we urgently call on all international observers to keep keen watch on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Niger Delta; we advise Mr. President to show that he really is President of ALL Nigerians, and begin demonstrating true positive CHANGE that begins with him doing the right things at all times,” UNDEDSS affirmed.

The group, accordingly, called on President Buhari to “urgently issue a Presidential Position embracing the peace overtures from the Niger Delta armed agitators, and summoning all to a negotiation table, so as to more help speedily ameliorate the hardship currently bedevilling most Nigerians nationwide.”