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Why FG is not applying force in Niger Delta - Obasanjo

Posted by By LUCKY NWANKWERE, Abuja on 2007/02/09 | Views: 696 |

Why FG is not applying force in Niger Delta - Obasanjo


President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday explained why he had not unleashed the country’s military might on the Niger Delta where militants have continued to hold sway, attributing it to his resolve not to waste the life of any citizen unnecessarily.

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday explained why he had not unleashed the country’s military might on the Niger Delta where militants have continued to hold sway, attributing it to his resolve not to waste the life of any citizen unnecessarily.

The president, who said he has utmost belief in the sanctity of life, pointed out that he still believes that peace could be achieved and the issues at stake in the Niger Delta crisis resolved without government applying force.

The presidential spokesperson, Mrs. Remi Oyo, made this disclosure in Abuja when he briefed the State House correspondents on the outcome of President Obasanjo’s meeting with stakeholders in the oil and gas sector in the Presidential Villa, Abuja .

“The president is just as concerned about the situation in the Niger Delta as everyone. If the president is not rolling out all the tanks, it is because he believes in the sanctity of lives. He believes that it is possible that within the Niger Delta region, we can have people come to the table.

“But what we have currently also are non-governmental individuals, artisans and carpet-baggers who are more interested in the government not finding a solution to the crisis or for the people in the Niger Delta themselves not being aware of the problems that this level of militancy is bringing to bare on their lives and the lives of all of us as Nigerians.

“The very fact that the carrot and stick mechanism is being adopted shows the level of responsibility that the president has brought to bare on these matters to ensure that lives are not lost, especially those that are in so far away land. He has asked that the hostage-taking situation be stopped,” she stated.
She quoted the president as expressing disappointment that those he described as artisans, opportunists and people outside government have continued to fan the fire in the Niger Delta area to their advantage and urged all Nigerians not to celebrate criminality.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and National Union of Petroleum and Gas Workers (NUPENG) jointly made a presentation to the president at the meeting in which they accused security agencies of conniving with oil pipeline vandals.
In the presentation entitled Issues of Concern to Nigeria Oil Workers’ Unions, the unions noted that “experience has shown that security agencies have abdicated their responsibility of providing security for the pipelines. We believe that there can hardly be a successful vandalisation without security connivance”.

They recommended that the “Federal Government and the NNPC should deploy high-tech strategies including helicopters and close-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance to monitor the entire pipelines network nationwide” while “community leaders and youth organizations engaged in pipelines surveillance should be properly paid and well equipped”.

The president of PENGASSAN, Mr. Peter Esele, told newsmen that the meeting went well with the president assuring them that government would leave no stone unturned to ensure peace in the Niger Delta.
Asked if the unions were satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, he said “the highest authority in the land has spoken to us. So, we are going to adopt a wait and see attitude. Now, we are going to meet this (yesterday) evening to discuss further”.

Some of the other demands by the unions were that the Federal Government should declare development emergency in the Niger Delta region, secure truce with the aggrieved and agitated elements, accelerate the establishment and implementation of a comprehensive master-plan for the development of the Niger Delta region and find a way to secure the release of hostages and stem the tide of hostage-taking.

Government, they also said, should put in place an effective strategy for persuasion, sensitization and awareness campaign to address the issues of insecurity, and persuade companies to give skilled and competent indigenes of the region adequate consideration in employment opportunities, among others.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.