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N’Delta leader, Pa Clark, knocks northern elites over calls for amnesty for bandits



Police raid Edwin Clark Abuja home for arms

Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark has rubbished calls by some Northern elites for the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to grant amnesty to bandits in the manner late President Umar Yar’adua did for militants in the Niger Delta.

The South-South leader who addressed a press conference at his Asokoro residence in Abuja on Wednesday, said equating Niger Delta situation with northern bandits was criminal to think in the first place.

The elder statesman further lampooned those making the amnesty call, arguing that it was “criminal to compare legitimate agitators of the Niger Delta region to blood sucking bandits in the north.”

“My first reaction to those who compare the murderous blood sucking bandits from the northern part of the country, with the legitimate agitators from the Niger Delta, is that of pity at their ignorance on national affairs and myopicism,” Pa Clark said.

Read also: Buhari will go down in history as Nigeria’s worst leader —Pa Edwin Clark

“Yerima is confusing two contemporary security issues– blatant criminality by the bandits in the north, and agitation over oil resources in Niger Delta’.

“Ahmad Gumi, an Islamic cleric, has repeatedly pleaded for amnesty for the bandits. He constantly defies logic by claiming that the bandits kill because of their ‘maltreatment’ by the Nigerian state. The amnesty advocates ignore the fact that many of the bandits are not even Nigerians.

“They also mistake amnesty for a blanket idea, to be politicised or invoked to reward mass murderers. It is not.

Amnesty worked in the Niger Delta primarily because its militants anchored their fight on the sound economic and federalist principle of resource control.

“With their people alienated from the oil wealth extracted from their land, and the environmental despoliation in the region, the agitators had legitimate demands.

“But the blood-thirsty bandits ravaging the north have no legitimate, political, or economic claim that Nigeria is obliged to countenance.

“Because of the bandits, killer Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram/ISWAP/Ansaru and IPOB, the 2023 Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria as the eighth most terrorised country in the world.

“Together, these terrorist groups slaughtered 63,111 Nigerians between 2015 and May 2023, the National Security Tracker estimated. Therefore, any deal with them translates to rewarding mindless criminality.

“I must commend the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, for their forthrightness in condemning the advice of Ahmed Yerima to President Bola Tinubu in which he said the President should grant amnesty to the murderous bandits.

“I also commend some very prominent and reasoning northern Nigerians who also condemned the advice of Ahmed Yerima to Mr. President.

“So, I think we need to look at that. We also have the issue of the amnesty programme that has been instituted, and which has failed not only in the North, but also in many other states.”

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