The National Coordinator of the Center For Peace and Environmental Justice ( CEPEJ), Comrade Sheriff Mulade has appealed to Nigerian security agents to sustain the relative peace in the oil rich Niger Delta region and support the President’s dialogue process aimed at finding a lasting solution to numerous problems in the region.
He also appealed to various militant groups in the region to give peace a chance for the interest of the people suffering from all forms environmental and health hazards as a result of oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities.
Speaking in Abuja at the 2016 Africa Leadership and Security Summit organized by CEPEJ, Comrade Mulade implored the Military to adopt a nonviolence means in resolving the issues of the region.
According to him, besides the loss of revenue to the country, the crisis was fueling unemployment in the region as most oil companies have relocated from the area.
Speaking further at the Africa Leadership and Security Summit that attracted stakeholders, including traditional rulers, diplomats, security agencies, non-governmental organizations and government officials, the CEPEJ boss said that; “I strongly believe that constructive peaceful engagement will bring the needed peace and development to the oil rich region”
Comrade Mulade harped on the need for African countries to work together to solve the leadership and security challenges facing the continent.
He pointed out that “recent uprising due to political issues, menace of insurgency, resource based issues in the Niger Delta and civil unrests in some African states give cause for concern”.
The CEPEJ boss regretted that despite decades of political independence, statistics have shown that about 70 percent of population of the continent lives in abject poverty.
Speaking on a paper titled ‘Niger Delta Crisis: ‘Ripple Effect On Global Economy’, Mr. Nkasi Owode of Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND), said while Nigeria expected low oil price this year, it never envisaged that its production would drop to as low as 1.5 million barrels per day.
Mr Owode who delivered the paper on behalf of Executive Director of PIND, Mr. Sam Diagbo, noted that government policy towards resolving the problem in the oil rich region encourages violence and needed a rethink.
He pointed out that militancy was only a symptom of an endemic problem in the region and solving the militancy challenge would not end agitation in the area.
According to him, the region experienced 1,462 fatalities as a result of cult and political violence in the last 22 months.
He added that this year alone, over 35 attacks on oil facilities by 13 different groups have been recorded in the region.
According to him also, between January and August this year 535 deaths were recorded from activities of cult groups, 136 deaths due to political killings and another 125 deaths due kidnapping in the region.
Violence in the region, he held out, has its roots in cultism and politically motivated violence, noting that the region has its roots in a structure of violence that graduates from cult related activities into politically motivated violence, and then militancy.
He said a holistic approach was needed to find a lasting solution to the region’s challenges.
Also speaking, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki said the upper chamber would continue to support effort to sovle security challenges facing the country in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country with adequate legislations.
Senator Saraki who was represented by Senator Gbenga Ashafa said democracy is threatened by lack of peace.
“Hence it is our duty as members of government to ensure that the prime factor in the social contract between the people and their government, which is the safety of lives and property remains at the front burner of all our endeavours”, he added.