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Ex-militant accuses Akpabio, others of politicising Niger Delta development

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A former militant leader, Ebikabowei Victor-Ben, popularly called ‘General’ Boyloaf has accused Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and other federal appointees from the Niger Delta of playing politics with the region’s development.

He lamented that Akpabio was turning the ministry and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) into Akwa Ibom State Government House extension.

He stated this on Village Square Africa, a television programme, stressing that Akpabio and others were fighting one another over their 2023 political aspirations.

He, however, absolved the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dikio (rtd.) from complicity in the challenges facing the PAP.

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He stressed that Dikio was genuinely concerned about peace in the Niger Delta following his engagements with stakeholders in the region, adding that he was working hard to achieve the PAP’s objectives.

Boyloaf explained that unlike recent managers of the PAP, Dikio was running an all-inclusive system, describing his appointment as one of the best things that has happened to the PAP and the Niger Delta region.

He said with the reforms Dikio had embarked upon, the PAP would become more result-oriented, adding: “The NDDC and the ministry are doing nothing about bringing development to the region. They focus on different things and fighting one another over their personal ambitions.

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“The ministry was created because of the agitations of the Ijaw, but ethnic sentiment took over the ministry. Currently Dikio is on track and for now Akpabio and others are doing nothing. The PAP office is like Akwa Ibom Government House extension and that is what is happening in the NDDC. So, nothing is going on and we are not happy with them.

“Initially we wanted to work with them and help them, but they are just playing politics. They are politicking for 2023, but we are watching them.”He frowned on Federal Government’s attempt to negotiate and possibly grant amnesty for insurgents and bandits in the country.

“I disagree with Federal Government’s handling of bandits and it is unfortunate that some people are comparing bandits with the Niger Delta struggle. Our struggle is different from theirs. The Niger Delta people did not kill innocent people.

“We fought for a just cause and the cause we were fighting for was mentioned. We fought for true federalism, marginalisation and infrastructure development. But the bandits have not specified what they are fighting for. Kidnapping of school children and women cannot be a just cause.

“So, there is no basis for comparing the Niger Delta struggle with insurgency. The United Nations (UN) charter supported our agitation,” he stated.

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