Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A coalition of youths in the Niger Delta yesterday faulted the federal government’s handling of groups from the northern part of the country that threatened the nation over the suspension of the RUGA programme.
The coalition under the aegis of Niger Delta Youth Movement (NDYM) expressed the concern in a communiqué issued at the end of its national executive council meeting held in Port Harcourt
The communiqué said the youths from the regions were disappointed that security agencies allow people who threatened the nation to walk freely without being questioned.
“On national television, a coalition of northern groups issued an ultimatum threatening the Federal Government and unity of this country because the RUGA Settlement suspension did not go down well with them.
“As a group, we expected that the security agencies would have arrested or invited them to explain such inflammatory ultimatum. We are disappointed that they are walking freely without interrogation.”
The communiqué, which was jointly signed by the National President, Comrade Joe Jackso and the National Secretary, Comrade Amakuro Isaac, decried the demonisation of any ethnic group in the country.
It said criminals were exploiting the situation “to commit crimes. NDYM is against the demonisation of any ethnic group in Nigeria.
“We ask the federal government to come down hard on criminals disguising as Fulani herdsmen to perpetrate violence in every parts of the country. There is already a misperception about the Fulani ethnic group. And criminals are exploiting such misperception to their sinister advantage.
“The federal government has to be responsive to the security challenges threatening the peace and unity of this country. Nigerians re-elected this government for this singular reason and President Muhammadu Buhari swore to protect lives and properties. Failure of which could set up this country in flames.”
The communiqué, however, commended the federal government for succumbing to the will of the people by suspending the controversial RUGA settlement plan.
“The program is at best suspicious given the antecedents of land annexation by the Fulani ethnic group right from the days of Jihadist Uthman Dan Fodio who conquered most people and lands in Northern Nigeria.
“For the unity and peace of Nigeria, the Federal Government must issue an outright abolishment to the sectional program. Otherwise, if they are sincere about supporting livestock business in Nigeria, they should allow state governments in Northern Nigeria to undertake the program with their own funds so that they can generate revenue for their states.”
But the youths warned that if this program “is not abolished, NDYM will mobilise youths to resist its implementation in any part of the Niger Delta.”
It, also, expressed disappointment at the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari “to appoint his ministers. We view such action, irrespective of whatever reason adduced for such delay as anti-people and retrogressive.
“It confirms the fear of Nigerians that this nation is on autopilot. We urge the President to hearken to voices of reason and inaugurate his cabinet without further delay,” they said.
“Given the congestion at Lagos ports and the growing calls by well-meaning Nigerians to the Federal Government to explore workable options at decongesting the ports, NDYM is calling on the Federal Government to open up abandoned ports in the Niger Delta to ease the man-made problem as a result of greed threatening the maritime economy of our dear nation.
“It beats our imagination that a nation with humongous maritime potential as Nigeria rely on just one state to navigate port activities.”