Former Niger Delta militants, under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, have appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers to lay down their arms and consider the Federal Government’s call for dialogue.

The LPCDI, which made the appeal in a communique it released on Wednesday, said the move would engender sustainable peace, save the environment and prevent annihilation of the Niger Delta people.

The National Coordinator, LCPDI, Reuben Wilson, aka ‘General’ Pastor, condemned the actions of the NDA, appealing to them to give peace a chance.

Wilson said the LCPDI stood for peace and would always do so because of the greater interest of the entire Niger Delta region.

He stated, “If you take an honest look at the actions of the NDA, you will see that the bombing of pipelines and other vices will have a lasting negative effect on our fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and even children in the communities who will not have a source of livelihood if the whole area is polluted.

“We also don’t want soldiers to invade our communities like they did in Borno State and rendered thousands of persons homeless. Rather, we advise them (NDA) to channel their grievances though the right method instead of destroying their own land and heritage to make their point.

“We wish to appeal to the members of the Niger Delta Avengers and any other groups involved in the recent destruction of oil facilities in the region to reconsider their activities and yield to the call from the Presidency for a dialogue as a mean of finding lasting solution to their grievances.”

The national president noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to commence the Ogoni clean-up exercise was a clear demonstration that Buhari has the region’s interest at heart and would do anything possible to alleviate the suffering of the people.

Wilson said the continuous drop in the federal allocations/derivation to the Niger Delta states since the recent actions in the destruction of oil facilities was of a great concern to the development plans and programmes of the states.

He advised that the attendant effect of the military presence in the local communities as in the case of Oporoza in Delta State should be avoided since the Federal Government had further shown its commitment by withdrawing the military from the communities.

He further said, “We would also want to commend the Federal Government by withdrawing the military from our communities to allow for a meaningful dialogue, a platform should be created to allow stakeholders participation.

“We advise that the government should consider the prompt payment of any benefits due the beneficiaries of the current Federal Government Amnesty programme.

“This is imperative because most of the beneficiaries cannot withstand the hardship being faced in the urban areas as a result of the persistent delay in payment of their monthly stipends up to three or four months.

“The Federal Government should also consider the inadequate budgetary allocation to the amnesty office since the amnesty programme is a security programme, many things need to be done occasionally may not be possible due to the current allocation.”


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