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NIGER DELTA: agitation will never stop without true federalism-Briggs

 

By Charles Adegbite

NIGER Delta environmen­tal and rights activist, Ann- Kio Briggs said yesterday that agitation and violence in the region may not end unless the Federal Government practise true federalism.

Briggs stated this when she spoke on the solution to insecurity in the Niger Delta region on Channels Televi­sion Programme, ‘Sunrise Daily,’ and added that it was injustice that created room for the hostility and violent activities being embarked on by the militants.

This was barely 24 hours after the Federal Govern­ment declared a two-week military ceasefire to create a window for dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), while asking military deploy­ment on the waterways in the Niger Delta to continue to man installations in the oil-rich region.

Briggs, spokesperson for Ijaw Republican Assembly (IRA) and United Niger Del­ta Energy Development Se­curity Strategy (UNDEDSS) said: “We must sit down and find a way round how Niger Delta people will have op­portunity to utilise what is in their region to develop themselves and secure their future.

“The people are complain­ing that all the oil wells in the Niger Delta, apart from the ones that the federal gov­ernment is sharing with oil companies, about 90 percent or more of those oil wells, for the past 20 to 30 years, have been in the custody of Nige­rians who are not from the Niger Delta region.

“They are not contribut­ing to the development of the communities where they are making these billions of dollars.

“If anybody is saying we are not being reasonable by feeling offended by such captivation, we are mov­ing round in circles because people will continue to feel aggrieved,

“It doesn’t matter where the resource is. If it is handled and shared and denied the people the way it is being de­nied the Niger-Delta people, it doesn’t matter where in Nigeria, those people will ac­tually agitate. And, these are the core reasons and we must address the core reasons.”

Briggs also declared sup­port for dialogue with mili­tant groups but pointed out that such talks would only yield good result if govern­ment would consider the militants’ agitation.

“We must remind our­selves in Nigeria that politics is not a war. It is not a situa­tion of winners take all. It is not a situation where a group of people will determine that they have conquered certain group of people in Nigeria. We are equal partners in the Nigeria project,” she said.                The Sun

 

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