No looking back on the peace process in Niger Delta, youth leader tells FG

Yenagoa, March 14, 2017 (TNE): There is no looking back on the Federal Government peace process which must be pursued to its logical conclusion, even with saboteurs trying to derail it, a Niger Delta activist and youth leader, Mr Richard Akinaka, has advised.
Akinaka told the Nigerian Expression on Tuesday that some mischievous militant groups were making frantic efforts to derail the peace process, but advised government not to succumb to blackmails.
Akinaka, who presented the position of the youth in Rivers during Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’s visit to the state, noted that the peace tour was a significant step towards peaceful resolution of the contending issues of the region.
”The visit must be holistic enough to address the fundamental development challenges of the region ‎and not be geared towards satisfying the yearnings of few individuals.
‎”It is therefore evident that consensus-building, consultation and dialogue prevailed over force deployed in the first instance without the desired results.
“The Vice President has visited, spoken and discussed issues raised; and the visits so far are a signpost towards peace and development in the region.
”Government must also set its priorities right and do the right thing by ensuring that peace prevails, equity prevails, while the region that lays the golden egg is accorded the priorities it deserves.
 “Then I tell you, there will be peace.” he declared, noting that the collective will of the people was not pipeline vandalism.
“The agitation of the people is based on the issue of under-development that has been there over the years, as well as the unfair treatment.
”What is going on recently in the name of pipelines vandalism for me clearly is not regional agitation agenda but a blackmail tool to armtwist government for personal reasons.” he remarked.
He also commended the Minister of State‎ for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu for providing a platform to drive the peace process.
The youth leader lauded the government’s recent directive asking multinationals to relocate their headquarters to the region.
”This will bring contractors, service providers and others closer to the region, thereby enhancing economic development and gainful employment of the youth.
Akinaka also applauded the newly unveiled 20-point agenda to formalise illegal refinery operators and transform them into owners of modular refineries in the region.
According to him legalising local refineries is of huge benefits as it will boost the economy by making products available to the region since the country’s refineries can not meet demand for refined petroleum products. (TNE)
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