Concerned Ijaw Youths from the over 1,200 clans of the Nine states of the Niger Delta region on Wednesday urged President Muhammad Buhari to review the ordered deployment of troops to the region to fight renewed militancy and consider the option of tackling socio-economic and infrastructural development issues of the region.
According to the concerned Ijaw Youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide and led by its President, Engr. Udengs Eradiri said though the region is in a chaotic situation with raging issues of kidnapping, rape and killings, President Muhammadu Buhari should consider the activation of projects in the region including the Brass fertilizer and the Brass LNG projects in the region.
The IYC President, Engr. Udengs Eradiri, while speaking with newsmen yesterday in Yenagoa, said though when the police can no longer secure live and properties in the region, the deployment of the military is welcomed,” We are in a chaotic situation. I am not even talking about the issue of Avengers because before the agitation for the development of the Niger Delta started, our people have not been sleeping with their eyes closed. The issue of kidnapping, killing of Ijaw people had been rampant in the Niger Delta area; our women are raped, our people are killed on daily basis, by our own people. And since the law does not allow civilians like us to carry arms, we welcome the military”.
“So as I have always said the operation crocodile smile is not a bad idea but it is the sinister motive that we suspect, and that is why the agitation and apprehension in the area. But if truly their presence is to read the Niger Delta region off criminal elements, then they are welcome. However my worry is that government does not have an economic plan for the region because they approached the problem by bringing the stick without the carrot. And that is why people are complaining about the operation crocodile smile. Where is the carrot? The money that the government spends on mobilizing the military to the Niger Delta can be channeled excavators and bulldozers to begin construction of roads to the Niger Delta. If you build a road to brass, you will open up the economy of Bayelsa at large.’
“If such things are done all these criminal activities would stop because people would be engaged. The question is how much would it cost us to build a road to brass than spending billions of naira to make a crocodile smile? So the point is that without an economic plan that would engage the people of the region there is no way the crocodile would smile. Where is the economic plan of this administration? There is no point making the crocodile smile while the people are frowning. Just look at what it is costing this government to make the crocodile smile.”
“By the time you spend so much money making a crocodile smile, without an economic plan that would engage the people, after the crocodile smiling the whole problem would start again. That is why we in the IYC have been shouting about the brass fertilizer factory. The brass fertilizer project is two times bigger than the Brass LNG project we have lost. Buhari should as a matter of urgency, ensure that CBN do what is necessary for the Brass fertilizer factory project commence as soon as possible.”
“Clearly, that is the indication. We don’t have a Sambisa forest here, they are going after Avengers or MEND, and so they are expected to do all within their power to adapt to succeed in our environment. But the issues of preparedness, we all know that the Nigerian military is over stretched. They have a battle going on in Sambisa, and another here in the Niger Delta, but those are issues for government to handle. So whether they are prepared or not, there would still be casualties.”
“Sometimes, these things happen but it shouldn’t be a yard stick to determine whether they were ready or not. If they are not ready they wouldn’t have up with operation crocodile smile, because it is not an easy task to make a crocodile smile. If you talk of anything deal, it means they want to eat money again. Buhari should sit in that big hall in the presidential villa and invite ethnic nationalities across the Niger Delta, comprising governors, representatives, traditional rulers, youth leaders and some selected stakeholders to discuss the issue”.
“It is only Buhari can sit on the table to say that the Maritime Academy in the Niger Delta can work. But till now nobody has heard anything from the president and meanwhile it was a presidential directive that established the university. That is why I don’t want to join issues with anybody because I don’t know why they are shying away. Even though the Niger Delta people didn’t elect him into office, let assume now that the Niger Delta is five per cent of Nigeria. The action Buhari has taken has made the 95 per cent of Nigerians unable to coexist with the five per cent in peace.”
“So I want to urge him to do something about these issues so we can all live in peace. Today there is no light for the 95 per cent because of the action he has taken against the five per cent. I am calling on the Buhari to take the action that would guarantee a peaceful environment for the 95 per cent by settling the issues of the five per cent.”