The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, Ijaw Youth Council, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to back his appeals with action in making the Niger Delta militants halt hostilities by personally kick-starting the dialogue process with stakeholders in the region.
A statement signed by the spokesman for the group, Eric Omare, on Sunday, stressed that only a genuine and serious engagement with Niger Delta people would address the recurring agitation from the people.
The group, which was reacting to recent appeal by the President, urged the rampaging militants to embrace and halt further attacks on oil facilities in the region. It said multiplicity of new militant groups was not a barrier to achieving peace, if the government was sincere.
It maintained that for a lasting peace to be achieved in the region, Buhari must be seen to be leading such a discussion.
“The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide has just read the appeal by President Buhari to militants in the Niger Delta region to stop attacks on oil installations.
“While the IYC welcomes the personal appeal by President Buhari, we state that what is required is not just an appeal but for him lead the dialogue in person with the Niger Delta people towards finding a lasting solution to the recurring militancy in the region”, the statement read.
It added, “The IYC is also of the view that the perceived multiplicity of militant groups in the region, as stated by President Buhari, is not an obstacle to the engagement with stakeholders.
“The sort of engagement the IYC expects from the Federal Government is a holistic dialogue with stakeholders in the region with a view to finding a lasting solution to the root causes of militancy and other agitations, rather than engagement with a view to giving palliatives to present agitators without addressing the issues responsible for the recurring agitations, as was done in the past.
“The IYC would only support a dialogue that is geared towards addressing the fundamental issues responsible for militancy in the Niger Delta region.”
The group explained further that President Buhari should put his appeal into action, by starting the process of genuine and serious engagement with the Niger Delta people with a view to addressing the agitations for resource control once and for all.