Chief Edwin Clark has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to explore dialogue as a means of ending the resurgence militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Niger Delta militants have returned to become a major problem in the region.
Clark, who urged Buhari to adopt the same approach which his predecessors used to resolve militancy in the region added that violence is not, and has never been the answer to resolving activities of militants in the region.
According to The Cable, the Ijaw leader at a press conference in Abuja condemned the attack on oil installations and called on ex-militant leaders wade into the issue.
He lamented that the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group responsible for recent bombings, was destroying the economy.
He said military option was not the best, adding that: “How many war theatres can our very limited number of military and security personnel be deployed at the same time? How effective can they be against Boko Haram, IPOB/MASSOB, Fulani herdsmen, kidnappers and, now, Niger Delta Avengers and their likes?” he asked.
“Violence is not, and has never been the answer. Dialogue is! Let’s all embrace dialogue. The Niger Delta is yet to recover from the season of violence which we experienced between 2005 and 2009…”
“Where are Chief Ateke Tom, Asari Dokubo, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias, Tompolo, the Leaders of MEND? Where are Mr. Victor Ben Ebikabowei, alias Boyloaf, Farah Dagogo, Africa, Young Shall Grow, Ogunbor, Ajara Roger Mackiver, Gen. Pastor Reuben, Shoot at Sight, Richard, Bostarise, and all the other ex-militants and Youths who wholeheartedly accepted the Amnesty and voluntarily surrendered arms and ammunition, and pledged to religiously abide by the terms?
Clark called on the Niger Delta Avengers, and all persons and groups, who feel aggrieved in the country, to shun violence and seek dialogue.
He said:“I appeal, today, this time in a more shrill voice! Though the perceptions have not changed on the evolving kaleidoscope of national political administration, I still remain firmly convinced that the destruction of our national economic golden goose is not a viable option.
“I speak as a father of the Izon Ethnic Nationality, Leader in the South-South, as well as one of the principal Conveners of the Southern Nigerian Peoples Assembly, SNPA, even, I dare say, as a statesman across all the regions and political landscapes since the advent of indigenous political administration in our dear country.”
He urged the Buhari administration to treat everyone in the country as equals to avoid situations where some might be forced take up arms to assert their rightful status.
Meanwhile, reports have emanated that militants operating in the Niger Delta have launched a fresh attack in the region, blowing up a gas pipeline operated by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) at Ogbembiri in southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa state.
The latest attack on the pipeline occurred on Sunday, May 15, at about 9pm when the militants stormed the community, traced the pipeline and ruptured it at the same point where it had been repaired after a previous attack.
Some sources in the community said dynamites were used to blow up the pipeline, while others said the gunmen deployed other mechanical devices to rupture the line along the axis.