Be patient with us, The Federal Government of Niger has begged Avengers to be patient ……Says all grievances being addressed
Federal Government pleaded with the militant groups in the Niger delta region, especially the Niger delta Avengers, NDA, to be patient with government as efforts were being made to address all their grievances.
The Minister of Niger delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, who made the appeal shortly after having a closed-door meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said already some of the requests of the people had been attended to.
The appeal came as the rivalry between militants in the zone got messier as one of the groups offered to take security agents to ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo’s hideout with Tompolo saying he has nothing to do with pipeline destruction.
Meantime, leaders of the Pan Niger delta Forum, PANDEF, and Pan Niger delta Peoples’ Congress, PNDPC, were locked in verbal warfare, as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of delta state also begged the aggrieved youths not resume hostilities in the region.
It’s a matter of patience —Federal Government According to Pastor Usani, the issue calls for patience, “knowing that some of these things have a procedure, and everything has a phase of planning and a phase of execution.
” The minister, who said he was at the Villa to brief President Buhari on the activities in his ministry while he was away, said though the issue of threat by NDA was not part of the discussions, government had started implementing the agreement it entered into with the people of the region.
“For a while, he (President) has not been around and there are things he needed to know from me and so I had to brief him on issues pertaining to the ministry, the projects that are going on and other anthropogenic issues that have to do with general matters concerning the Niger delta region especially, the concerns bordering on who is right or not right to speak for the zone and the issues of the Niger delta Development Commission, NDDC.
All these occupied our discussions with the President today,” he said. On whether the fresh threats by the Avengers was part of the discussions, he said: “We haven’t discussed the Avengers per se but it is of essence as the President has always shown indication that whatever we need to and can do to sustain peace in the region, we would continue to do it…
You are aware that the Vice President (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) has been chairing the committee that handles the issues they are raising.
“And so, while that goes on operationally, headed by the Vice President, the President just needs to be briefed on our efforts though we know that the Vice President briefs him from time to time but as per the Avengers issue, it was not discussed. On a general note, it is understood that we have to be engaged to be able to sustain the peace that prevailed for a while.”
On his message to the Avengers, he said: “My message is not just verbal but it has been demonstrated by the fact at all times.
The federal government of which I am part, my role as minister in charge of the region, we have been appealing to them to just be patient with us, because, most of the time, the issues that are brought up are those that tend to portray the quest for development of the region.
“And that is all we have been doing, to say, be patient with us, these issues raised genuinely for the benefit of people of the region are being attended to.
For instance, the university at Okerekoko, you are aware that the Vice President has directed that that university must take off. And he also directed that a minimum of N5 billion be budgeted for the take off of the university.’’
On the situation in the region now, he said: “We are glad, so far, that all parties have listened to one another. Federal Government, Avengers, Elders and so on.
We would wish that this continues. So, we would advise all of us to remain calm and see the things that we agitated for coming little by little.”
He disagreed with claims of the Avengers that the government has failed in its promises to them, saying the university at Okerenkoko and the communities being part of surveillance of the petroleum infrastructure in the region were promises being kept. “And of course you know that by the modular refineries which they had also talked about as sub-set of how they can be engaged instead of what is called illegal refineries, are also on, because the process of building a refinery or even getting the necessary procedures to establish such is not just a one day business.
Advertisements have been made, people have indicated interest and of course, to get it sustainable, the federal government is having the state governments involved but privately driven so that all concerned will be on a common page to ensure that whenever it takes off, there is no frustration or sabotage,’’ he added.
Be patient with us, The Federal Government of Niger has begged Avengers to be patient ……Says all grievances being addressed Federal Government pleaded with the militant groups in the Niger delta region