—Crocodile smile can’t be military Training-Omare
A pan-Ijaw organization, the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC Worldwide has sent a strong worded message to the Federal Government, stating that what the Niger Delta region need are smiles of human joy flowing from positive developmental projects and not smiles of the military-induced crocodile.
The IYC, under the leadership of Barr. Eric Omare, made this known today in a chat with GbaramatuVoice.
In his words, “As the Nigerian military set to commence the Operation Crocodile Smile II from Saturday, the 7th of October, 2017 in the Niger Delta region, it is important that we state categorically what the Niger Delta need is a beautiful human smile that would bring joy to the people through policies of development and not military operations.”
The group stressed that the smile of the crocodile is ugly and not a good sight to behold.
Adding details to the context, IYC stated that the Niger Delta region has been surviving the Nigerian State since 1958 when oil was first discovered in commercial quantity at Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, but it has continued to experience too many pains rather than joy.
The group further disagreed with the argument that the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ is a routine military training exercise.
In his words, “The IYC disagrees with the argument of the military that the operation crocodile smile is a routine military training exercise. We hold the strong view that military exercise of whatsoever nature is not required in the region; rather we need practical steps to address the developmental challenges facing the region.”
Comr. Omare further stated that IYC believes that if the developmental challenges facing the region are addressed, there would be no need to train military officers in preparation for military operations of whatsoever nature in the region.
They, therefore, opined that instead of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’, the Federal Government should fulfill its promises to the region which led to the cessation of militant activities in 2016.
Lamenting the unspeakable socioeconomic situation the people of the region had found themselves in, IYC pointed out that the Federal Government has even failed to release funds for the take-off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State despite the claim by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at Akure, Ondo State that N2billion has been released.
While painting the picture of events as it stands in the region, the group explained that it would interest Nigerians to note that the N2billion the Federal Government refused to release for the take-off of the Maritime University had earlier been released by the University’s management during the regime of former President Goodluck Jonathan through the Patrick Akpobolokemi led NIMASA.
The money, the group continued, was only returned to the treasury single account upon the assumption of office of President Buhari.
“However, the Buhari led administration has refused to release funds for the university to take-off despite the fact that the 2017/2018 academic session has started in institutions all over the world,” IYC stated.
According to the youth group, it is germane to note that the immediate take-off of the Maritime University was one of the key promises of the Buhari-led Federal Government to the Niger Delta people.
Omare finally pointed that the above act on the part of the Federal Government clearly bears testimony that they are not interested in instituting an enduring peace in the Niger Delta region but only the free flow of oil.
The above development he described as very sad and condemnable.
IYC, therefore, called on the President Buhari administration to change its military approach to issues of the Niger Delta and adopt the development driven approach.