A former Chairman of Delta Waterways Security, Chief Ayiri Emami, has lashed out at militants attacking oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta, calling them terrorists.
Emami also faulted calls for the immediate take-off of Nigerian Maritime University, NMU in Warri-South West Local Government Area, Delta State as condition for dialogue with the Federal Government by the Niger Delta Avengers and its allies over their attacks on critical oil and gas lines.
According to him, the call had only exposed the terrorist tendencies and confirmed the fear that the land whose acquisition is a subject of criminal investigation is not suitable to host such an institution.
He said: “How do you expect parents and guardians to send their wards to school in an environment that has over the years been associated with violent attacks, illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, traits that are associated with people who are terrorists.
“Let me make it very clear, I am not against the Nigerian Maritime University coming on stream, but I can’t imagine innocent Nigeria citizens across the country and beyond, becoming endangered species, surrounded by people who easily take up arms without provocation. I am tempted to ask, the day these militants do not get access to vandalize pipelines won’t they resort to kidnapping of staff and students of the NMU? After-all, the kidnap of 14 media practitioners and six Ugborodo indigenes by these militants several months ago is still fresh in our minds.”
Continuing, Emami warned that the Federal Government and the Nigerian Military must not fall for the antics of the militants, adding: “I believe that no matter the names they come up with everyday, the bombing of pipelines is the handiwork of one man who is running away from justice in connection with the fraudulent acquisition of land for the NMU projects, as well as contracts controversially awarded by NIMASA running into billions of naira.
“No one should be fooled by making it look like a witch-hunt. The first person so far convicted under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration by a competent Court of law is Barr. Temisan Omatseye, an Itsekiri man from the prominent Olu Akengbuwa descendants. He was an APC Senatorial aspirant in the 2015 polls and stalwart of the party, yet no Itsekiri group has taken laws into its hands in the guise of violent agitation.
“The Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT trial of Nigeria’s Senate President and scion of the Saraki dynasty in Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki is another major test case of our current democratic resolve, yet Kwara people have not taken to lawlessness or violence. Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori is in a London Prison as a result of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s pursuit with the backing of Ijaw National Leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yet the Urhobo Nation did not embark on any form of violent activities against the Nigerian State.
“I am also not forgetting the on-going Dasuki legal battle, which people of Northern Nigeria have given a chance to take its rightful course, it therefore beats my imagination why the efforts by a single man to evade justice and orchestrate economic sabotage against the country at this precarious state of our economy, is being viewed with ethnic coloration capable of snowballing into another round of ethnic strife in the Niger Delta if not immediately nipped in the bud”.
Chief Emami added, “I am deeply concerned because the manner of attacks which has resulted in unwarranted heavy military and now civilian casualties is dangerous to our peaceful co-existence and destroys the Niger Delta ecosystem. People should commend President Muhammadu Buhari administration for kick-starting the Ogoni land clean-up which successive administrations, including that of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan could not achieve”.
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