Don’t engage militants in peace parley, group warns FG


A Niger Delta-based non-governmental organization, Center for Peace and – Environmental Justice, has warned the Federal Government not to engage the militants in the region in its planned peace parley.
The CEPEJ, which commended the government for going ahead with its plan for a peace parley, said the FG should rather identify and engage the key stakeholders in the initiative. It, however, cautioned against engaging the militants in such an initiative, saying that doing so would create more room for other pseudo-militant groups to emerge in the region.
Speaking with our correspondent in Warri, CEPEJ National Coordinator, Sheriff Mulade, said that the centre would prefer a situation where the government would hold town hall meetings with the communities and address their social problems.
Mulade added that the government should also talk to the oil firms and find out their relationships with their host communities, stressing that it had become imperative to make it more comprehensive beyond the militants.
He said, “If the government wants to truly resolve the issues, it should involve critical leaders and not political stakeholders; otherwise it will be another jamboree and failed attempts. The fundamental issues are clear: the people of the Niger Delta need development and remediation of their environment, which has been devastated by years of oil and gas exploration and exploitative activities.
“The politicians are the beneficiaries of the system. When they are fraternizing with the militants on one hand, they want to end militancy on the other. That is why we said the government should not make it a political talk, rather Niger Delta stakeholders at the grassroots should be involved.”
The NGO condemned the continued bombing of oil and gas installations by the rampaging Niger Delta Avengers.
The center stated that the continued bombing of oil and gas facilities were not doing the region any good.
He said, rather, the destruction of the pipelines were adversely affecting the environment and slowing down the economy.
The NGO reiterated its appeal to militants in the Niger Delta to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign, adding that no development could take place in an environment wrecked by conflicts and environmental degradation.