N/Delta crisis: "Nigeria's territorial integrity at stake"

Lack of a comprehensive strategy for addressing poverty and difficult living conditions caused by environmental pollution in the Niger Delta "may put Nigeria's territorial integrity at stake".

The alarm, was raised by the Director of Peace and Security Centre of Competence Sub-Saharan Africa, an office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Mr. Grimm, at a workshop in Abuja with the theme "instability in Nigeria’s Niger Delta: The Post Amnesty Programme and Sustainable Peace Building."

Grimm observed that despite repeated attempts by the federal government to reel the conflict in the Niger Delta region "violence continues to persist."

Mr. Ebiede Tarila Marclint of the Centre for Research, KU Leuven, wants the government to address conflicts within the local communities in the region "because the source of new violence is rooted in violence in the local communities".

He said rather than address environmental degradation and distribution problems, the amnesty programme triggered new conflicts and provided incentives for violence as "some ex-militants returned to crisis; while others, see as privilege, are opposed by their communities."

A Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Benin, Augustine Ikelegber, suggested a proper management of vested interests benefiting from the economy of violence in the region; elimination of stress, threat, tension and anxiety as well as "a comprehensive peace building involving the people and the critical segments of the society."

The Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Government on Niger Delta Youth Matters, Kenneth West, advocated among other things, civil/military relationships; ex-militants’ recruitment into the armed forces; regular and robust stakeholders’ engagement as well as continuous and consistent payment of stipends to the ex-agitators.

Brigadier-General Saleh Bala, head, strategy group of the Ministry of Interior said the federal government should not wait for violence to erupt before addressing people’s grievances. The chairman of the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Committee, Brigardier-General Paul Boroh, represented by Tom Monogue, urged legislation against illegal arms’ possession, saying "we’ve never carried out any serious legislation against illegal possession of arms."

Source: Daily Trust, 15.10.2017

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