Ex-militants Beg Companies to Return to Niger Delta


Olusegun Samuel

Ex-militants have begged companies that left the Niger Delta region to return to the region, promising them uninterrupted peace as the days of violence were over in the region.

The former warlords also called on interventionist agencies to work together to sustain the peace and ensure the development of the region.

They spoke at the weekend in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, during a regional peace summit to sensitise people on the need to advance the peace currently enjoyed in the region.

The ex-agitiators also condemned the proliferation of illegal refineries and lamented its adverse effects on development.

One of the participants at the summit and ex-freedom fighter, Pastor Nature Dumale Kieghe, said as ex-agitators, who keyed into the vision of the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd), they had resolved to work for a new and better Niger Delta.

Kieghe said: “It is important to sensitise our people towards a peaceful Niger Delta and create a friendly environment that will attract development, multinational companies and other foreign investors to the region.

“We, who once carried guns, are now here to preach the message of peace to our people in the region. Peace is the only way we can have developed environment that we dream of. Peace is the only way to attract the multinationals, investors and also be gainfully employed.”

He maintained that peace remained a vital tool to attract investors to the region, which would in turn create business and job opportunities for the people.

He said: “Companies that have left the Niger Delta because of insecurity need to return. This is the purpose for this sensitisation. We are blessed with an environment that is supposed to prosper us. We can only enjoy our natural resources if there is a peaceful environment.”

Kieghe said that a major setback to the development of the Niger Delta was the absence of proper coordination among key stakeholders.

He said with the right synergy, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Presidential Amnesty Office could hasten the needed development of the region.

He also said that illegal refining of petroleum is a threat and dangerous to the ecosystem.

The sensitisation programme commenced in Bayelsa State with 150 Niger Delta’s youths in attendance and would be held across the nine states of the region to create adequate awareness.