Don’t Treat Niger Delta Militants Like Boko Haram, Ijaw Group Cautions FG

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  •  Affirms support for one indivisible Nigeria

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The umbrella socio-cultural organisation of the Ijaw ethnic nationality, Ijaw National Congress (INC), has asked President Muhammadu Buhari not to heed the calls by some groups and individuals for the Federal Government to treat Niger Delta militants like the Boko Haram.

This came as the congress restated its commitment to one indivisible Nigeria.

Addressing journalists in Port Harcourt on Friday, the President of the INC, Boma Obuoforibo, said the demand for equity, fairness and justice by Niger Delta youths could not be equated with terrorism.

His words: “The Niger Delta youths’ demand for equity, fairness and justice is not terrorism. And it cannot be likened to the activities of Boko Haram that has killed and maimed thousands of Nigerians, kidnapped and raped several innocent women and girls, brought about untold hardship on thousands of Nigerians making them refugees in their own country.

“Besides, the world knows the sympathetic issues at stake in the Niger Delta and would always support the demanded equity, fair play and justice to a people facing annihilation. What is Boko Haram fighting for? Why is Boko Haram seizing territories? That they do not want western education? And what has the likes of Professor Ango Abdullahi done all these years to assuage the Boko Haram combatants to end their activities?”

He said the crisis in the Niger Delta had lingered because of insincerity on the part of successive governments and operators of the oil sector, adding that various intervention agencies set up by government had not lived up to expectation.

Obuoforibo also berated those who claim that a lot of resources had been invested in the Niger Delta region.

“Some uninformed neophytes in the corridor of power have sensationally publicised that over 40 billion dollars have gone to the Niger Delta region without visible impact. Disappointingly, the evaluation did not indicate how much money was produced and derived from the region all these years to develop the federal capital territory, the cities of Lagos, Kano, Kaduna and indeed the sustenance of the rest of the nation.”