—Sustainable peace is already in process
—Crocodile Smile is ill-advised
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has urged the military authorities to immediately reconsider the planned launching of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile II’ in the region.
PANDEF made this call through its Coordinating-Secretary Dr. Alfred Mulade while speaking to GbaramatuVoice.
According to him, it is on record that the Federal Government has made some indications of its readiness in ensuring the fast-tracking of development efforts in the region.
Part of this move, he told our correspondent is the adoption of the 16-Point Agenda as a working tool for this purpose as well as the positive pronouncements on some of the 16 -Point items for immediate implementation.
As a result of the above, there has been relative peace in the Niger Delta Region following the understanding reached with aggrieved agitators
So introducing ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ as a military solution is uncalled for and at the same time counterproductive. He, therefore, urged the Federal Government not to indulge in any action that will undermine as well as truncate the nascent peace in the region.
Speaking further, PANDEF told our correspondent, that it is not within their power to challenge the operational deployments of Nigerian soldiers in any part of the country or question the constitutional role of the military in a democratic setting.
“We however observed that, this contemplated deployment of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile 11’ is certainly misadvised, especially at this time when the region is gradually coming to terms with the urgent need for sustaining the relative peace in the region.
Also, Dr. Alfred pointed out that history is littered with proofs that the previous launch of the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in the Niger Delta last year left in its trail bitter tales of woes, including harassment, destruction of helpless communities and killings of innocent persons.
Buttressing their fears further, he told GbaramatuVoice that this orchestrated ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ will not be any better, as it is fraught with the tendencies for heating up the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.
Pressed further by our reporter, the Coordinating Secretary pointed to the fact that this fear is expressed by a cross-section of the people of the helpless communities and stakeholders in the region, including the Delta Ijaw Women Initiatives (DIWI).
He then revealed that what the people in the region needs very urgently is to consolidate on the existing peace to fast-track peace and development in the Niger Delta region and not military drilling.
He finally advised that launching ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ is viewed as policy somersault, as all stakeholders in Niger Delta project unanimously agreed that there is the urgent need to sustain the prevailing peace and fast-track development in the region
The above agreement according to PANDEF was reached at the just concluded 2nd National Council on the Niger Delta which was held at Akure, Ondo State, from 7th to 14th September 2017 and was declared open by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.