Niger Delta Militants: FG considers Yar’Adua’s option

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    militants-300x200The Federal Govern­ment is considering adopting late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s op­tion in tackling the de­teriorating situation in the oil-rich region.

    On June 29, 2009, Yar’Adua granted am­nesty to Niger Delta militants and that start­ed a long process of res­toration of peace to the region hitherto crippled by militancy.

    An elder statesman from the Niger Delta who is currently occu­pying a very sensitive position in the coun­try told Daily Sun, on condition of anonym­ity, that government has realised that only the strategy adopted by Yar’Adua could stop the renewed militancy in the oil-rich region.

    Niger Delta Aveng­ers (NDA) have been bombing critivcal pipe­lines in the region late­ly.

    Regardless, the elder statesman said Presi­dent Muhammadu Bu­hari “has been prevailed upon to reconsider his tough stance strategy of using the military option in tackling the menace as that would rather exacerbate the situation.”

    “Soon, you may see a new approach by the Federal Government in the way and manner it would handle the Ni­ger Delta Avengers. Just like late Yar’Adua did, it would be a carrot and stick approach. The fed­eral government has re­alised that trying to use the military to crush the militants may not be easy.

    “When Yar’Adua came, he did not threat­en anybody, neither did he shoot any gun. He simply adopted the dialogue approach and gave the militants a sense of belonging. Many did not believe it but it worked like mag­ic,” he said.

    The source told Dai­ly Sun that Yar’Adua worked with many stakeholders who the militants trusted in achieving his aim.

    He revealed for in­stance that one of the core people, who helped to douse ten­sion in the Niger Delta under Yar’Adua, was the former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mike Okiro who is also from the region.

    But the source said even though Okiro was the nation’s police boss then, he did not use of­ficialdom to tackle the situation but engaged the militants, who saw him as a ‘son of the soil’, in series of discussions.

    “Many may not know that Yar’Adua used the police authorities so well in achieving his aim in the Niger Delta.

    “I can tell you that it was Okiro who sold the idea of the amnesty programme to Yar’Adua and the presidency supported the move through and through.

    “Okiro was the inter­mediary between the militants and Yar’Adua. The former IGP had series of meetings with the president and the militants before the programme took off.

    Meanwhile, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and publicity, Garba Shehu, dimissed dialogue as a foregone conclusion.

    “The question you are asking me is stale and has been published in the media.

    “President Buhari re­cently said the Gazette on the amnesty pro­gramme should be dust­ed and, if there are com­mitments the fedral government made that have not been fulfilled, government would look at them…” -The Sun