Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Former Special Adviser to former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Legislative Matters, Senator Flornce Ita-Giwa, has urged the federal government to dialogue with credible Nigerians in order to end the incessant bombings of oil and gas installations by a militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Ita-Giwa stated this while reacting to claims in the media that she has agreed to serve as a member of the negotiation team with the federal government recently announced by another militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).
Last week, the MEND mentioned Ita-Giwa, Bismark Rewane, Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, Ibanga Isine, Ledum Mitee and Lawson Omokhodion as members of its ‘Aaron Team 2’ that would negotiate with the federal government.
Reacting through a statement made available journalists in Calabar yesterday, the former presidential aide said she was prepared to participate in any dialogue to end the ongoing attacks on oil and gas installations in the country.
“I will consider serving if the federal government is willing to engage in discussions with credible Nigerians who have genuine interest and sympathy for the people of the region.
“Again, I will serve in order to put in place a lasting solution to the hostility, thereby bringing succour to the people of the region.
“I shall also be willing to be part of the dialogue for the benefit of the people of the region and by extension, the numerous displaced Bakassi indigenes who have been neglected over the years,” she said.
Ita-Giwa who is fondly referred to as ‘Mama Bakassi’, said: “As a major stakeholder and mother in the region and indeed Nigeria, I am willing to be party to any dialogue that will bring peace to the sufferings of the people of Niger Delta.
“As we speak, over 3,000 refugees have not been properly resettled after ceding Bakassi to Cameroon, out of no fault of theirs.”
The former lawmaker said she was surprise “why the internally displaced people in other regions are being given lots of attention, including massive supply of relief materials and shelter while the Bakassi displaced people have been completely neglected and ignored for nearly 10 years.”
She said the Bakassi people have remained peaceful because they do not believe in war as a mean of archiving their goals.
“We have not been tempted to take up arms against our country because we believe in the peace and the sovereign nation of Nigeria.
“I will not hesitate to appeal to my people of the region to embrace dialogue,” she added.