Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fresh Dialogue With MEND?

The Moment
15 February 2012

INDICATIONS are that the amnesty programme initiated by the late President Umaru Yar'Adua in 2009 when some repentant Niger Delta militants laid down their weapons may not have produced all the desired results.

The issue of restiveness in Niger Delta should not be handled as if it is the only problem facing the nation.

The Niger Delta region has had a fair deal so far as sharing the national cake is concerned.

Come to think of it, if the federal government has launched comprehensive package for the militants in order to arrest the situation there, one wonders what the state governments concerned are up to in their own way to make the lives of youths better.

After all, these states take a greater chunk of the federation account as oil-bearing areas.

The time has come for every part of the country to focus more on what it can do to maximally harness its local resources rather than scrambling for what would accrue to it from the national till.

There is a growing need to boost agriculture in the country.

States in the Niger Delta should think of ways of raising their revenue profile through agriculture as well as see to the needs of the people.

There is, however, a possibility that the fresh violence is from MEND.

The group merely handed in some of their weapons but did not disband completely.

What is going on now perhaps, is that every criminal element in the region hides under the umbrella of the Niger Delta militants to operate.

The question therefore, is how does the government differentiate between a militant and a criminal?

The government should stick to its word that the hand-outs to ex-militants have stopped.

Holding fresh dialogue with any group of militants is an indication that the programme is still on.

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