The Advocacy Committee established by the Delta State governor, Mr. Ifeanyi Okowa to engage the new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, traditional rulers, chiefs and other stakeholders in the communities around the Delta creeks on the need to embrace peace and bring to an end the incessant attacks on oil installations in the region has not come up with any tangible achievement three weeks into their advocacy tour.
The Advocacy Committee which is headed by the state Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, has the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Mofe Pirah, the Special Adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, Kelly Penaowu and Special Adviser on Petroleum Matters, Bosin Ebikeme, stormed the creeks over the renewed attacks on pipelines by the Niger Delta Avengers with a charge on them not to return until the problem was resolved.
About a month into their commissioning, the Deputy Governor has surfaced in major events in the state, undermining the mandate given to the committee members including himself not to come to Warri or Asaba, until the problem was solved while it has not come out with any information for Deltans whether its advocacy was making any head way as the militants has continued to cause wanton destruction on oil installations in the region.
Despite this woeful failure on the part of the Otuaro-led Advocacy Committee, Okowa, during his one year press briefing told journalists that it was too early to let the cat out of the bag when asked if there had been any contact with the Avengers who were learnt were ready to down tool and also ready to liaise with the state government.
Hear him, “It is too early for me to speak with you on that. I am glad that you did accompanied the Deputy Governor, they have been out there since Monday last week and I spoke with him last night and they are continuing today and tomorrow, I do not want to speculate”.
He continued: “I will be officially briefed on Tuesday night and I believe that byWednesday I should be in a position to speak to you, we don’t like to guess. I want to be properly briefed on what is going on”.
Okowa who however speculated that the committee’s tour was paying off said, “But I think that the advocacy is paying off, a lot of outreach to the various communities and I believe that both the young and ex-militants in the various communities are committed to ensuring peace and a very peaceful working environment for our oil companies and it is our hope that we will be able to build on this in the weeks and months ahead”.
It would be recall that on Friday 13 May 2016, Okowa set up an Advocacy Committee to meet with the Olu of Warri Ogiame Ikenwoli I and other royal fathers to brief them on its mandate and seek their support even as the committee also met with the traditional ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro-Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadaba and other leaders to find a lasting solution to the crisis.