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Bayelsa elders warn Buhari over comments on Niger Delta


• Leaders say remark capable of starting another war

Following recent comments by President Muhammadu Buhari, to deal with oil thieves like the Boko Haram terrorists, concerned leaders of Bayelsa State have warned against such inflammatory statements, saying they could start another crisis in the region.

One of the founding fathers of the state, Thomson Okorotie, urged the President to tread softly, stressing that it was wrong to compare oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the region to the war currently going on in the Northeast.

He said though, there was nothing bad in fighting criminality in the region, he cautioned Buhari to go after perpetrators of crime, instead of making sweeping statements capable of sending the wrong signals.

He said, “I do not condole criminality, because what we have should be reserved and not destroyed. But we have to identify the real people behind the oil theft and not allow the innocent persons to suffer in the process of trying to fish out the perpetrators.”

Okorotie reiterated that “Boko Haram has a mission that we do not understand; they are just destroying lives and properties and abducting people for no cause. So there is no need to start another war in the Niger Delta, I think we should simply go for the perpetrators.”

The elder statesman said he “believes that the intensity of both crimes are not the same, though when pipelines are vandalized it affects oil production, but the degree of that statement is harsh.”

According to him, the president statement may not mean to bomb the Niger Delta, however, what we need from the Buhari-led government is to govern the country with the rule of law.

Also reacting, one of the ex-militant leaders, Ebi John, who said though the President was free to deal with oil vandals, he should not use dealing with oil vandals to kill innocent people, who doing their legitimate businesses.

He pledged the ex-militants readiness to assist the president in the fight against oil theft and other oil related crimes in the region.

The ex-militant however, urged the president to ensure that the anomalies in the amnesty program are corrected.

The spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare, said the “Niger Delta people are not vandals, as vandalism of pipelines happen all over the country, however, I know that had them in mind when he made that statement.

The Ijaw leader declared that it fears that President Buhari has an agenda to carry out massive attack on the Niger Delta region, warning that IYC had alerted the world before now.

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  • Paul Graham

    Why are the leaders so concerned and confused? Are they the oil thieves? Well oil thieves are just as bad as boko haram. They deserve the boko haram treatment. Those singing the war song will get war if they so desire!

  • Ogbu Nwaeya

    Who is a terrorist and what constitues an act of terrorism?Where our sympathy lies determines how we define terrorism.
    Vandalisation of government properties which provides services to the public is a war crime under international law.So pipe line vandals are same as terrorist.

  • Olufemi Ayeni

    I don’t think Mr President has said anything out of place. I’m sure he will not order the security agents to open fire on innocent citizens going about their normal duties on the streets of Bayelsa state. The statement of Mr President is very clear and simple to understand. He is coming after pipeline vandals. I believe it is only those involved in perpetrating this crime that should be afraid.

  • Cross Roboh

    How does oil theft relates to killing innocent people? Boko Haram kills all n sundries with out mercy. oil vandals only makes the nation loses some cash wish can be recovered over time. can d lives boko haram killed be recovered? PMB wuniwanyo!!!!! mind wat u say o. no b our fault say niger delta no vote 4u o!!!!!!! dis is not our real face oooooo

  • deltavoice

    All the leaders and elder statemen in the whole of Nigerdelta know the pipelines vandals,militants, sea pirates and terrorists.
    No need to pretend. Everyone knows the bad guys in their neighbourhoods. Everyone knows people in their hamlets/clans/villages that don’t have jobs and yet make money in nefarious ways.
    The elders in our creeks one day will be held responsible for shielding terrorists. People in Gbaramatu know the people that bombed the Escravos gas trunkline that’s causing pains to millions of people today.
    Why would one or group of people decide to sabotage government properties enjoyed by millions for his/their personal gains? Is that not terrorism?
    Our Ijaw brothers should be called to order, from Bakassi to Ondo state it’s one act of terrorism or the other.
    Check yourselves out, you are the most volatile, troublesome and violent lot in the whole of the NigerDelta.
    Let’s have a change of heart my brothers.