Wednesday, May 18

Military action won’t end militancy, Clark tells Buhari

Military action won’t end militancy, Clark tells Buhari

Edwin Clark, Ijaw leader and ally of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to consider the dialogue approach which his predecessors used to resolve militancy in the Niger Delta region.

At a press conference in Abuja, Clark, who condemned the attack on oil installations, said military option was not the best.

He also called on ex-militant leaders to break their silence and wade into the issue, lamenting the effect of the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group responsible for recent bombings.

“How many war theatres can our very limited number of military and security personnel be deployed at the same time? How effective can they be against Boko Haram, IPOB/MASSOB, Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers and, now, Niger Delta Avengers and their likes?” he asked.

“Violence is not, and has never been the answer. Dialogue is! Let’s all embrace dialogue. The Niger Delta is yet to recover from the season of violence which we experienced between 2005 and 2009…”

“Where are Chief Ateke Tom, Asari Dokubo, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias, Tompolo, the Leaders of MEND? Where are Mr. Victor Ben Ebikabowei, alias Boyloaf, Farah Dagogo, Africa, Young Shall Grow, Ogunbor, Ajara Roger Mackiver, Gen. Pastor Reuben, Shoot at Sight, Richard, Bostarise, and all the other ex-militants and Youths who wholeheartedly accepted the Amnesty and voluntarily surrendered arms and ammunition, and pledged to religiously abide by the terms?”

Clark appealed to NDA to accept dialogue, saying though their grievances were genuine, different people have presented similar demands to the federal government in the past.

“I call on this group, the Niger Delta Avengers, and all persons and groups, who feel aggrieved in the country, to shun violence and seek dialogue, no matter how petulant the perceived adversaries may be.

“I appeal, today, this time in a more shrill voice! Though the perceptions have not changed on the evolving kaleidoscope of national political administration, I still remain firmly convinced that the destruction of our national economic golden goose is not a viable option.

“I speak as a father of the Izon Ethnic Nationality, Leader in the South-South, as well as one of the principal Conveners of the Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly, SNPA, even, I dare say, as a statesman across all the regions and political landscapes since the advent of indigenous political administration in our dear country.”

He also advised the current administration to treat people fairly irrespective of the part of the country that they belong.

“I repeat here, as always, that this country belongs to everyone. We have no other country than Nigeria. No one should be treated as first or as second-class citizen, causing some to take up arms to assert their rightful status,” he said.

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