DON'T MISJUDGE NIGER DELTA PEACE, BRIGGS, OTHERS WARN
Niger Delta activist and president of Agape Birthrights, Annkio Briggs, has described the atmosphere of peace in the Niger Delta as that of 'fools.'
The Federal Government and others who direct the affairs of the Niger Delta people, she warned, should not stand on the prevailing situation to trample upon the people's rights.
Briggs spoke at a one-day seminar tagged: 'Growth Opportunities for Professionals and Business Owners' organised by the Ijaw Professionals Association (IPA) in Lagos yesterday, insisting that nothing is being done at present to lift the Niger Delta people.
According to Briggs, the fight for justice by the Niger Delta people was not limited to producing the president of the country. What the people of the area wanted was to be in charge of their resources, especially their oil wealth.
Her words: 'What I mean by a fool's peace is that it is deceptive. Anybody who thinks that they can continue to do what they are doing in the Niger Delta, that is, not developing the Niger Delta, denying the Niger Delta people their right to their resources, even the oil companies as they continue to believe in these things. That is what I mean by a fool's peace, because new sets of people are getting angrier by the day, and nothing has changed in the Niger Delta as far as we are concerned.
'The president coming from the Niger Delta is not the resolution of our problems. We never demanded for the presidency. We are talking about controlling our resources. We are talking about developing the Niger Delta. We are talking about having a sovereign national conference. We are even talking about a situation where we must decide whether we are part of this Nigeria or not. It has nothing to do with the presidency per se'.
Assessing the place of the Ijaw people in the Nigerian economic arrangement, the activist regretted that her kinsfolk had not been given the support they needed to climb the social ladder.
She, however, urged the Ijaw people to redouble their efforts and work harder than others if they were desirous to 'catch up in developing their careers.'
For his part, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and paramount ruler of Ada Ama community in Bayelsa State, HRH David Serena-Dokubo Spiff, said for over 50 years the peaceful nature of the Ijaw people was interpreted as docility.
Giving a detailed analysis of the involvement of the Ijaw people in the Nigerian economic set-up, the royal father challenged the people to develop their capacity so as not to 'allow them to continue with the perennial excuse of absence of capacity' to deny them their rights.
Earlier, the IPA president, Arc. Denzil Amagbe Kentebe, explained that the group was a collection of professionals seeking to 'groom Ijaw professionals to be the best in any field.' For far too long, he said, Ijaw professionals sat laidback for charlatans to be in control.
'We should reposition Ijaw nation. No nation that sits on its oars has ever achieved anything,' he said.