The Apex body of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, the Ijaw National Congress, INC, has expressed sadness that the struggle for self-determination and resource control has claimed many lives in the region, calling on the federal government to be cautious in its efforts to resolve the Niger Delta crisis.
The INC, which warned against the use of military might in the Niger Delta, stressed that “We have martyred enough of our youths. We don’t want one more single blood to be shed in the Niger Delta. Therefore, I appeal to the federal government to give the INC the opportunity to wade into this matter. We will come out with settlements that are implementable.
Speaking with newsmen at the INC secretariat in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the newly sworn-in national president of the body, Chief Charles Harry urged the federal government to declare a 30-day moratorium in the Niger Delta and allow the congress to restore peace in the region.
He was optimistic that the body could resolve the challenges of militancy in the Niger delta region within 30 days if the Federal Government ceases hostilities in the region.
Harry, who stated that the body appreciates the underlying reasons for militancy in the region, called on the federal government to take steps that will redress challenges of underdevelopment in the area.
“We ask for peace to return to the region; shooting and bombings can be resolved in 30 days,” he said, pointing out that the Federal Government also had a role to play for enduring peace to reign in the region.
While advising the federal government against more bloodshed in the region, the INC president warned that the congress would not hesitate to press for war crimes against the government should there be another military invasion of the area.
“The anomie of Odi must not repeat itself because if it does, we will have no choice than to approach the International Criminal Court of Justice at The Hague for war crimes against hapless and helpless people. Please we appeal to the federal government. We are not making ourselves the point of negotiation but we are saying as the titular body of the Ijaw nation of which every single Ijaw son or daughter is a member, the INC has the moral and the consensus right, ability and duty to bring this anomie to an end. Let them have the rapprochement with us and we will do the needful.
“If the Federal Government is willing and sincere, we ask for 30 days. Peace can return to the Niger Delta in 24 hours if the right thing is done; if there is truth, faithfulness. Negotiations take time but armistice can be done in 24 hours.”
Harry stated that Ijaw people and other people of the Niger Delta were suffering in the current dispensation in the country and called for a restructuring of the nation.
“An Ijaw man is suffering from the yoke on his neck. The oil in our area has become a weapon of destruction and it is intolerable. We suffer acid rain and our people still drink from the same water they defecate inside,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nigerian-Navy-LogoNavy authorities at NNS DELTA, Warri, on Saturday said two middle-aged men suspected to be involved in the series of attacks on oil installations belonging to Chevron in Delta had been nabbed.
Commander of the Naval Base in the oil city, Commodore Joseph Dzunve, told newsmen that the suspects were apprehended in Sapele area of the state following a tip-off.
Dzunve said that the attacks on the oil facilities located in Warri North Local Government Area were carried out between May, 2016 and July, 2016.
He added that the suspects were already providing the authorities with useful information that could assist in arresting other members of the group.
”Today, I am pleased to inform you that after persistent efforts, the NNS DELTA, being part of the maritime component of the Operation Delta Safe, has arrested two suspects responsible for the attack on Chevron facilities.
”They were deeply involved in various forms of crimes, including pipeline vandalism and sea robberies along the waterways in Warri North.
”The two apprehended suspects are not the only ones involved in the attacks on the oil facilities in Warri North. Others who are still at large will soon be apprehended,” he said.
Dzunve expressed the navy’s determination to rid the nation’s territorial waterways of all forms of criminal activities “in line with the Chief of Naval Staff’s directive”.