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Amnesty: Would FG Abdicate Throne Of ‘Their’ Oil?

By Odimegwu Onwumere

It appears that if we had used science in the developments in wars and its numerous problems wars bring, then, this useful subject have been used in the wrong manner. The weapons that we thought by developing would lead to deterrence of war had not accomplished this aim. Instead, today, there is nuclear proliferation in the whole world; and for those that had not come out to show that they had access; it is a matter of time. For the nature of science, which deals with formulas and concepts is such that any serious nation on earth that applies its own language and manages successfully to translate the formulas would be able to develop this deadly weapon with a little effort, quoted a Desmond Ayim-Aboagye.

Following the amnesty brouhaha granted the alleged militants in the Niger Delta region with expiring date on October 4th, 2009, there is no kind of statement we have not heard. The alleged militants who have dropped their arms reportedly are accusing each other of betrayal over the N50bn the Federal Government (FG) has promised the militants for rehabilitation and effective development of the region. While some statements from the militants were that the FG, after asking them to drop arms, dropped them (the militants) at the proverbial middle of the ocean. Not satisfied with certain measures mounting on the hills of the amnesty issue, one is bent to ask, would the FG on its part drop or leave the oil for the people of that region to control since they have obliged to the amnesty? Some people are validating the acts of the alleged militants, in bringing to the international community's consciousness the plights and travails of the Niger Delta region, so the world would validate the FG should it leave the oil for the people.

It is heartening to some people or groups that the alleged militants are hearkening their ears to the call by prominent Nigerians to drop their arms for the sake of peace towards development of the region, but it is disheartening to those who love justice and humanity that the FG had played a mighty ostrich game by leaving the region underdeveloped for decades before the militants engaged in arms-struggle. That was when the FG's began its crocodile tears on 'we need peace in the Niger Delta.'

For example, Prince Tonye Princewill, the Rivers State AC leader is among the prominent Nigerians calling on the militants to submit to the amnesty, in whole. But one doesn't think that as it is good for the goose so also it is good for the gender? The whole thing should not be blamed on the alleged militants because, did they initiate for the amnesty? So, have people from the Niger Delta not begged the FG a lot to submit the oil which has been the centre problem of all the crushing problems in the region? Yet, the FG was recalcitrant. People do forgive but will not forget.

In its address, Rivers AC was quoted by the state party Publicity Secretary, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze as saying that the Rivers AC has lent its voice to that of many, who in the wake of the Amnesty declaration by government, are concerned by the reluctance of certain parties to lay down arms. The AC has noted that failure to down arms will ultimately result in a “Fragile Peace in the Region”, resulting in the continued threat of a military crackdown hanging over the region still smarting from the effects of the Gbaramatu. It has therefore become imperative that AC alert everyone to the danger their actions portend for the peace of the region.

On the contrary, this writer is happy that Chief also said that “Our plea notwithstanding, we have never endorsed the half baked amnesty declaration as the strategy for resolving this Niger Delta Crisis, especially in the context of the Federal Government's failure to address the core issues behind the agitation and its gross neglect of the recommendations of the Presidential Technical Committee. Our leader's recent parley with Dokubo Asari on the need for the rest of the NDPVF to accept amnesty which was a follow up to the peace brokered between himself and Amaechi revealed that many are dissatisfied with the absence of a post amnesty plan and the insincerity of government”.

While the party continued to call on the unruly remaining alleged militants to surrender arms, it is also important that statesmen should call on the FG to look into the pleas of the people of the region to drop their oil for a total peace to reign in the region. On this issue, Issac Adaka Boro was killed; today, the alleged militants are accepting amnesty; tomorrow, it might be a group of Niger Deltan youths who would want to die for this oil without lending ears to any redeemable atom of plea by either the FG or the international community. All that they would want is their oil, or else they die!

Has the Rivers AC not said it advise the government to discourage the stealth witch-hunting of people under the banner of “rooting out militants” in spite of an ongoing amnesty? Is it not confused signals like the FG's approach that has left some of the people shattered with rains of human and environmental destruction for years? Dokubo Asari who was deliberately nonchalant about the amnesty for personal reasons, as he made them available in many media, has he not fortunately with the persuasion of Tonye Princewill and Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State ordered his remaining people to feel free, take it up and participate in full? So, when would the FG in whole accept this single plea by the people to leave their oil for them?

While these pleas stem from the love and concern for the Niger Delta future, it is quite sad to note that the FG can not be probed for its atrocious act with the use of the men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the region? For example the carnage carried out in the Odi and Gbaramatu, respectively.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), and also a Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]