For those hoping that Tuesday’s meeting between President Buhari and the Niger Delta stakeholders will lead to a peaceful resolution of the crisis in the region, militants have described the meeting as an exercise that will not put an end to the attacks on oil facilities. The militants described the stakeholders who attended the meeting as impostors who are not conversant with the plight of the plight of the Niger Delta people.
In two seperate statements, the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front and the Concerned Militant Leaders, pointed out that no former militant leader was present at the meeting with government. Generals Ben and Playboy, the two leaders of the group, therefore, maintained that such a meeting without any recognised former Niger Delta militant would not protect the interest of the people of the region. In addition, they doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity on the $10bn development fund to be earmarked for the Niger Delta.
According to their statements, “Pipeline bombing cannot stop because the people going for the meeting do not know why they are going there. It is not the first, second, or third time and would not be the last. So, we cannot be deceived or bamboozled by whatever tag is given to the meeting.
“We insist on implementation of the report of the National Conference and other reports on the development of Niger Delta region. Anything short of this is insincere and will not be accepted. For a genuine peace, past reports of several commissions on Niger Delta must be visited,” they said.
General Playboy particularly stated, “Our elders and leaders are not helping matters at all. They do not really know the plight of Niger Delta people because they are wealthy, quite rich and do not take issues about the region seriously.
“They do not know the common people in the region because they are not based in Niger Delta and cannot show holistic commitment to our struggle. Our elders represent themselves, and not the people in the rural areas.
“We don’t need people who will play politics with the genuine struggle of Niger Delta people. We don’t want people, who are not agitators. The real agitators are people like Alhaji Asari Dokubo, High Chief Government Tompolo, Egberipapa, General Africa, General Joshua and many others.
“These are the kind of people that can negotiate for our people. They know the plights of the Niger Delta people because they live in the same environment with them. They are not based abroad. They come down to the communities to know the feelings of the people. Such people should represent us.”