Ex-militants beg firms to return to Niger Delta, condemn illegal refineries
Ex-militants have begged companies that left the Niger Delta region as a result of militancy to return to the region, promising uninterrupted peace.
The former warlords also called on interventionist agencies to work together to sustain the peace and ensure development of the region.
They spoke at the weekend in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a regional peace summit to sensitise people to the need to sustain the peace currently enjoyed in the region.
The ex-agitators also condemned proliferation of illegal refineries and lamented its adverse effects on development.
One of the participants at the summit and ex-freedom fighter, Pastor Nature Dumale Kieghe, said ex-agitators, who keyed into the vision of the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), had resolved to work for a new and better Niger Delta.
He said: “It is important to sensitise our people towards a peaceful Niger Delta and create a friendly environment that will attract development, multinational companies and other foreign investors to the region.
“We, who once carried guns, are now here to preach the message of peace to our people in the region. Peace is the only way we can have the developed environment that we dream of. Peace is the only way to attract the multinationals, investors and also be gainfully employed.”
Kieghe maintained that peace remained a vital tool to attract investors to the region, which would in turn create business and job opportunities for the people.
He said: “Companies that have left the Niger Delta because of insecurity need to return, this is the purpose of the sensitisation. We are blessed with an environment that is supposed to prosper us, we can only enjoy our natural resources if there is a peaceful environment.”
A major setback to the development of the Niger Delta, he added, was the absence of proper coordination among key stakeholders.
He said with the right synergy, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Presidential Amnesty office, could hasten the needed development of the region.
He said beyond hampering the development of the region, illegal refining of petroleum products was life threatening and dangerous to the ecosystem.