Government delay in dialogue may be strategy for attack against militants, says INC
The tardiness in the commencement of dialogue with militants is fueling the notion that the Federal government is perfecting strategies for a military option.
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) which made this view has urged the Federal Government to of necessity show unambiguous sincerity of purpose and refrain from actions and inactions that may put its credibility to question.
INC President, Charles Harry, told journalists in Port Harcourt yesterday that the war of attrition in the Niger Delta portends no victory to the Federal Government and people of the Niger Delta. He stressed that dialogue and politically negotiated settlement without precondition or threat of force and dire consequences will altogether prove more sustainable.
“The militarisation of the zone (Niger Delta) as perceived in the procurement of sophisticated hardware and the deployment of fighter jets and helicopter gunboats represent presence and imminent danger of attacks. The saber-rattling words of the President and unguarded threats of dire reprisals by the military high command effectively disavow peaceful resolution,” he said.
Harry noted that if the Federal Government was truly desirous of finding a lasting and sustainable solution to the anomy in the Niger Delta , then, it must discountenance ad hoc measures and deal directly with the people through their recognised registered constitutional organs, traditional institutions and elected representatives.
He added: “The Federal Government will do well to look before it enters into negotiations with any of these ad hoc contraptions hurriedly put together for maybe less than altruistic reasons and certainly not in the general interest of the region. Ad hoc arrangements that have no permanence or successor mechanisms, may only achieve temporary reliefs, this has been the bane of previous attempts at resolving the Niger Delta crises and conflict. New agitators will only spring up later if we continue to follow this path that has not proven efficacious in the past. The President Yar’Adua amnesty programme is good food for thought.”
INC expressed grave concerns about the proliferation of militant groups in the Niger Delta. It said more worrisome is the current unhealthy scrambling for relevance by elders and leaders as credible body of choice for negotiations with the Federal Government.