House of Reps seeks inclusion of Isoko in amnesty deal
Fresh tension as military plans new strategies in N’Delta
The House of Representatives yesterday called for the inclusion of Isoko youths of Delta State in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
In a motion by the House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, the lawmakers hinged their call on the “peaceful disposition of the people,” deserving to be recognised by the government in its development programmes.
The Reps said the Isoko youths had been watching over flow stations, oil facilities and long stretch of pipelines in their domains against vandalism and urged the Federal Government to list them among the 30,000 ex-militants of Niger Delta that had been pardoned for militant activities.
To this end, the House Speaker Yakubu has asked the House Committee on Governmental Affairs to liaise with the Presidential Adviser on Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Paul Borah (rtd) with a view to seeing to their inclusion and report back to members within four weeks.
Meanwhile, the re-organisation of the military to improve its internal security operations in the Niger Delta area is generating tension among a section of militants.
Specifically, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has threatened more attacks on oil facilities, alleging that government is attempting to muzzle genuine agitation for a better deal for the people of the region.
Recently, the Nigerian Army was reported to have created six divisions within Rivers State.Pioneer General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Division, Major-General Kasimu Abdulkarim said: “The new arrangement will help curtail banditry, inter-communal clashes, illegal bunkering, kidnapping, robberies, Niger Delta Avengers and pipeline vandalism in the areas.”
Abdulkarim said the activities of these crime perpetrators had impacted negatively on the national economy.The Avengers, in a statement by Major Thiridiri Okparumu, threatened to continue to blow up pipelines since the military had rolled out strategies to shut out rightful agitation.
It said the military strategies were an erosion of the fundamental human rights of agitation. It decried the branding of Avengers as “criminals” among others to be wiped out.
However, Mr. Ambrose Okaku, aide to Delta State Governor on library matters, appealed to the NDA to embrace dialogue with the Federal Government.
In a similar vein, the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) urged the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the Niger Delta restiveness, advising that, ploughing back the resources generated from the area could be the solution.
President of the NSE, Mr. Otis Anyaeji, at its 2016 International Conference/ Annual General Meeting held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, said once normalcy was returned to the region, Nigeria would witness increase in the national oil production, thereby leading to more employment opportunities.