Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Paramount ruler of Siembiri Kingdom in Delta State, HRM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, has appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw the heavy military presence in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, attacking the region with military might at this moment when the militants have announced ceasefire will be counter- productive.
The Pere of Siembiri kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State likened the action of the Federal Government to “shooting oneself in the foot or throwing away the baby with the bath water.”
He said, “Sequel to the acceptance of ceasefire, courtesy of monarchs and the leaders of the Niger Delta ten days ago by the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups, one would have expected President Buhari to announce his dialogue team as he did in early June, 2016, when he declared two weeks’ ceasefire preceding his medical trip to the UK.”
The Ijaw monarch wondered why President Buhari, instead of announcing his dialogue team, ordered the mobilisation of troops to the Niger Delta region under the pretext of military exercise, code-named ”Operation Crocodile Smile.”
He stressed that by this action, he is thus sending negative signals to all Nigerians, the international community and the whole world that the stage is now set to crush the militants at a time they have accepted ceasefire.
“We have been making frantic and passionate appeals in conjunction with the United States Consul General, Mr. John Braye, calling on both the Federal Government and the militants to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue in order to proffer lasting solutions to the Niger Delta quagmire,” he said.