Ex-militants: We must be carried along
Paul Obiajunwo, Port Harcourt
A group, Niger Delta Peace Campaign for Development Network (NDPCDN) has said, for the sake of regional development, it will continue to seek effective collaboration between Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the youths in the region.
It noted that for a meaningful development to take place in the region, everybody including the ex-agitators, youths and community leaders must be considered as a stakeholder.
Addressing ex-militants and youths leaders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, the leader of NDPCDN, Comrade Bussa Fullpower said the current NDDC board led by Obong Esima Ekere is committed and ready to work with the peace minded people in the region.
Fullpower said his group will continue to persuade more militants and ex-agitators to embrace peace and allow federal government and NDDC to focus on the development of the region.
He said: “ As youth leaders of our various communities we ought to be an agent of peace, the reason why we are meeting with Niger Delta youths in the nine communities is to see how we can give peace a chance. Definitely they are going to carry everybody along.”
Some of the ex-militants who spoke at the event agreed to give peace a chance but were worried that both the Federal government and NDDC are yet to consider them as an important stakeholder.
An ex-militant, Mr. Abiodun Peter Edah, who was formally known as General Abiodun said if the federal government and NDDC are serious to develop the region, then they should carry ex-agitators along.
Abiodun said: “The idea of giving peace a chance is a welcome development but I believe if the federal government and NDDC are serious to development the region they must involve us and not to see us as those who are not part of the development agenda in the region.
“Apart from the ex-agitators, the youths and community leaders must be carried along if we are to achieve peace in the region. When the former President, Gooluck Jonathan was there, he partnered with us to watch over waterways and other surveillance contacts.
Another ex- agitator, Mr. Tommy Dore, formally known as General Dore said, “I’m in support of any peace move in Niger Delta, but I cannot be part of any manipulation in the system. If the President is visiting the region all leaders including the community leaders should be invited and not to leave them behind
“The NDDC should allow everybody to benefit from any empowerment pragramme such as the skill acquisition, scholarship and the rest of them. The issue of filling this positions and opportunities with the names of their family members and relatives should stop because there is need to reposition the NDDC. “