Former Niger Delta militants, who took up arms against Federal Government in the past and are enjoying amnesty, Saturday, rose from an emergency meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital to condemn activities of the new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
The former warlords urged NDA to stop the unnecessary destruction of pipeline and national assets in the Niger Delta region as this does not augur well for the region.
The ex fighters, who met under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), said they were not happy with the actions of the new group, saying, its activities would only compound the suffering in the region.
In a statement released after the meeting and signed by the National President of LPCDI, Reuben Wilson, also known as ‘General Pastor’, said that the use of violence to agitate for the betterment of the region was no more necessary and had been overtaken by events.
Wilson, asked the NDA to channel their grievances to President Muhammadu Buhari through the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.) to achieve better results.
He warned the avengers that their violent campaign was not in the best and collective interest of the Niger Delta.
He said their continued destruction of oil and gas installations in the region would further impoverish the people of the region, attract unnecessary hardship and worsen their plight.
Wilson urged the Niger Delta people to give President Buhari the opportunity to fulfill his promise to the region by maintaining peace.
He insisted that there would not be any meaningful development in an environment ravaged by violence.
He said: “The Niger Delta struggle has advanced beyond the use of violence. We had in the past used violence to attract the entire world to the plight of the region.
“We, therefore, need to utilise other peaceful and civil means to build on the sympathy of the world towards the Niger Delta for more effective results rather than resorting to violence.
“That the current resurgence of militancy is an unnecessary distraction to the current administration.
“That all groups and individuals actively involved in the Niger Delta struggle should channel their grievances to Buhari through Paul Boroh for more effective coordination and positive resolution of their grievances.
“That every Ijaw group or persons involved in region’s struggle that for any reason is unable to utilise the office of the SA to President on Niger Delta Affairs to resolve issues bordering on the betterment of the region or Ijaw ethnic nationality should utilise the platform of Ijaw Youth Council or reach out to Victor Ebikabowei, aka General Boyloaf, to mediate in the resolution of such issues.”
He cautioned the military not to arrest innocent people and to desist from destroying innocent communities as obtained in the past.
Wilson said: “The security agencies should instead improve and be more effective in their intelligence gathering system in order to apprehend the real culprits.
“The mass destruction of communities, properties and arrest of innocent people should be discouraged as such will only aggravate the already tensed situation in the Niger Delta.
“They should rather collaborate with known and credible leaders and activists from the region to facilitate the arrest of criminals and enthronement of peace in the region.”