Monday, 24 October 2016
How To End Niger Delta Militancy
A holistic approach as opposed to quick fixes will stem the tide of recurring agitation and militancy in the Niger Delta.
It will also save the economy and environment continued damage by resurgent militancy, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Holistic Security Background Checks Limited, Don Okereke, has said.
Okereke, also a security analyst/consultant, told The Nation that solving the crisis in the oil-rich region required an approach that involves carrying the local communities along rather than the current quick fixes that does not go beyond ‘settling’ militants or arm-wielding youths.
“Recall that the YarAdua/Goodluck Jonathan administration only postponed the evil day with an Amnesty Programme, which was tantamount to treating the symptoms of a disease as against fixing its remote and immediate causes. As soon as the lucrative crude oil protection contracts, largesse to the militants came to an end, militancy resumed,” he said.
While expressing concerns over the long-term environmental impacts of vandalism of oil pipelines and the unprecedented proliferation of sophisticated arms following the relapse to militancy in the N’ Delta, Okereke said in the interim, there is need to mop up illegal arms and explosive devices in the Niger Delta and in Nigeria in general, which are the oxygen that sustains militancy.
The security expert also pointed out that a lot of Committees had been set up and recommendations made with regards to the crisis in the N’ Delta.
“If the Federal Government is sincere about resolving the problem, all it needs to do is implement the recommendations of the Committees,” he said.
Okereke also said the high level of youth unemployment in the N’ Delta and in Nigeria generally must be tackled. According to him, if the youths are engaged in profitable businesses or employments they will hardly have time or be willing to take to criminality or militancy. “Massive infrastructural development and citing of industries in that area are very key. This will create employment opportunities,’’ he added.
Okereke, however, observed that the consistent and yet-to-be-resolved issues responsible for agitation in the Niger Delta relates to ‘resource control’ and a supposed lopsided control of crude oil blocks in favour of Northerners.
“Not to be pessimistic, but as long as some of these knotty issues are unresolved, sporadic militancy and agitation will persist,” he argued.
While noting that insinuations and suspicions are rife that the current administration is not amenable to proffering lasting solutions to the Niger Delta problem, he said there’s a lot of distrust for the current administration, especially in the Southsouth and Southeast part of the country.
Culled from: The Nation Newspaper