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Grant amnesty to militants—Pastor Oritsejafor

Posted by Written by Sam Eyoboka on 2008/08/17 | Views: 1329 |

Grant amnesty to militants—Pastor Oritsejafor


JUST as more concerned groups are following the example of the recent South-South Christian Special Prayer Summit for Peace in the Niger Delta, the national president of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PEN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor yesterday called for unconditional amnesty for the militants in the region.

*Wants religious leaders included in N/Delta development process

JUST as more concerned groups are following the example of the recent South-South Christian Special Prayer Summit for Peace in the Niger Delta, the national president of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PEN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor yesterday called for unconditional amnesty for the militants in the region.

Pastor Oritsejafor whose church, the Word of Life Bible Church, Warrri played a significant role in the resolution of the Warri crisis, also urged the Federal Government to demonstrate magnanimity by involving representatives of the militants in the proposed development programme of the Niger Delta region.

In a press statement, the PFN president reiterated the resolve of the South South Christians for the inclusion of reputable religious leaders, representatives of women organisations and the militants in any planned Niger Delta development process. According to him: “Previous discussions about the Niger Delta crisis have been done without any input from reputable religious leaders, women representatives and the militants themselves, and unfortunately, the outcome of those meetings has not yielded any solution, thereby breeding distrust between the politicians and the people in question.”

Oritsejafor argued that tremendous progress would have been made in the Niger Delta region if government had taken deliberate steps by widening the scope of participation in the negotiation by involving religious leaders, women representatives and giving the militants an opportunity to voice their opinions. He, therefore, urged the Federal Government and state governors of the oil-producing region not to allow such an opportunity slip away without achieving the desired results or in fact reverting to square one without any meaningful achievement.

“Most of the boys have been coming to us, telling us their feelings and distrust for the politicians and those leaders who feed fat on the crisis. This is an issue that involves lives, destiny and generations. I think religious leaders are in a better position to bridge the gap of the existing distrust between the militants and the politicians,” he said. While appealing for restraint from the militants and eschewing any act of violence for the matter to be resolved, Oritsejafor maintained that the Niger Delta issue was a delicate one which requires divine wisdom.

Christians from the South South geo-political zone gathered at the Port Harcourt Civic Centre penultimate Friday for a special prayer retreat for peace in the region at the end of which they unanimously called on the Federal Government to involve the Church in further peace negotiations.

Pastor Oritsejafor who preached at the inter-denominational prayer retreat, also noted that the Federal Government had given the state governors in the Niger Delta the mandate to recommend three persons each to form part of the committee to develop the area, arguing that these three groups must be given opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past where political patronage determined who are appointed. “We cannot afford the errors of the past by appointing political lackeys who will only take us right back to square one,” he said, adding, “anything worth doing is worth doing well. If we truly want peace we must involve credible church leaders, representatives of the militants and women from the area.”

According to him, there are over 250 ethnic nationalities in the affected region and over 85 per cent of them attend one church or the other, stressing that the most viable unifying factor in the Niger Delta is the church where all nationalities congregate every Sunday without any form of bitterness.Grant amnesty to militants—Pastor OritsejaforWants religious leaders included in

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.