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12 militant groups, FG sign peace pact

Posted by From FEMI FOLARANMI, Yenagoa on 2007/12/07 | Views: 383 |

12 militant groups, FG sign peace pact


Twelve militant groups operating in the creeks of the Bayelsa State on Thursday signed an agreement with the state government to end all acts of hostage-taking, pipeline vandalization and invasion of oil platforms so as to allow the President Umar Yar’Adua administration to implement its developmental agenda for the region.

Twelve militant groups operating in the creeks of the Bayelsa State on Thursday signed an agreement with the state government to end all acts of hostage-taking, pipeline vandalization and invasion of oil platforms so as to allow the President Umar Yar’Adua administration to implement its developmental agenda for the region.

Though the names of the militant groups were kept under wraps, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has distanced itself from the peace agreement.

The peace agreement witnessed by Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, Governor Timipre Sylva, National Chairman of the Niger Delta Peace and Conflict Resolution Committee, Senator David Brigidi, brings to an end series of consultation, dialogue and negotiations between the committee and the various militants groups.

Jonathan explained that though the process for the resolution of issues affecting the stability of the region still continues, the problem of militancy can only be adequately tackled with the massive provision of employment for the youths.

According to him, the Federal Government and the state government have realized that the carrying of arms by the youths was to draw attention to the age-long neglect of the region, stressing that if government was given the chance it would resolve the problem.

Painting a gloomy picture of the people of the region, Amaechi, speaking in his capacity as governor of Rivers State, said he would not hesitate to let go the money of Rivers State to improve the living standard of the people.

His words: “We have discovered that the region lacked infrastructure. The day I was going to visit Chief E.K Clark at Ikiagbodo, I wept when I saw the living conditions of the people. If they asked the South-South governors to forego their funds for development of social infrastructure I would gladly let go of Rivers money.”

Gov. Sylva, commended the militants for embracing peace, noting that their resolve was in appreciation of the Yar’Adua administration’s efforts to develop the region.

According to him, the signing of the peace agreement was an indication that the youths are prepared to transform the state from the place of hostage-taking to home of peace.

Sylva frowned at the handling of militant activities by past administrations, lamenting that the situation was allowed to degenerate to the level where militants invaded the seat of government.
Part of the peace agreement, investigations revealed, include shutting down of all militant camps in the state and surrender of all arms, while government is expected to rehabilitate the youths, train and employ them.

MEND in a statement, however, dissociated itself from the peace deal and support for the Brigidi peace committee, stressing that “ our focus remains the control of our resources and the emancipation of the Niger Delta people through the development of the area and compensation for environmental damage of the past.”

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