Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –By Albert OGRAKA: Delta
Nigeria’s Delta state former governor, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, has advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to ensure that governors in the once oil and gas rich Niger Delta region were part of the engagement process towards resolving militancy and challenges of under development in the now near impoverished region.
Dr. Uduaghan who stated this during the recent opening of the Nigeria Guild of Editors conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, insisted that the Federal Government should explore all instrument of dialogue in calming down insurgency in the region, but noted that force should only be a last option.
“Dealing with the Niger Delta challenge should be a carrot and stick approach, engagement and force where necessary. Engagements should be deepened. The governors should be part of it.”
According to him, the amnesty programme initiated by Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to curtail militancy in the region could not achieve the desired peace in the then region because state governors were not part of the engagement process.
“The amnesty did not achieve what it was to achieve because the governors were not involved. The states should be involved. The biggest threat in the Niger Delta is that our land is seriously polluted especially water. In those days you could see the sand under the water. We used it to wash our teeth. But it is not so anymore.”
Dr. Uduaghan however appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers to cease further hostilities in the region.
“Niger Delta Avengers, are busting our pipelines for whatever reasons, anger. Nigerians are looking at it as something just affecting only the economy. I want to appeal to our brothers in the Niger Delta Avengers that what they are doing is not just damaging the economy but the waters. I appeal to them to stop it. The media should also help appeal to them to stop it,“ he said.
The erstwhile award winning governor also challenged the media to help redirect the mindset of Nigerians towards the gains of agriculture, stressing that Nigerians should be made to treasure it as a major money earner.
He recalled as governor that he introduced what he termed, Delta Beyond oil, a project that stimulated interest of citizens of his state in agriculture. He said it was time the nation moved beyond oil, adding that the major task of the media should be how to reawaken interest in the agricultural sector. “We need this mind change,“ he said.
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Nigeria (Blank NEWS Online) –
E.I.C: Albert Eruorhe Ograka