Niger Delta

Ex-Militant Leader Raises Hope For Nigeria’s Oil Region

By Akanimo Sampson

A third-phase repentant Niger Delta militant, General Para Ekiye, says there is hope for the peoples of the environmentally despoiled oil and gas region, particularly the youth, with retired Col. Milland Dixion Dikio, on the saddle as Co-ordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. 

Ekiye was reacting to some complaints in some quarters which suggest that the newly appointed coordinator was yet to make any public statement since his return to the country after his appointment. 

The ex-militant who is currently the traditional Egbesu High Priest of Esuku Kingdom in Delta State, reiterates that though patience may seem to be bitter, ‘’its fruit is sweet”, pointing out that Dikio will tap into his rich experience in his military career as a seasoned administrator and peace-builder in delivering better results for the oil region.

The enthusiastic Ekiye is therefore, calling on his colleagues in the armed struggle of the Niger Delta to be patient with the new amnesty coordinator, insisting that patience is the ability to wait with a good attitude, while still waiting for possible outcomes.

The traditional high priest says he is confident that the process of repositioning the amnesty programme will bring better dividends, reiterating that government agencies follow due process in executing their mandates, adding that the Presidential Amnesty Programme will not be an exception. 

Continuing, he said the appointment of another illustrious Ijaw son as the programme coordinator could be God’s perfect plan for the people of the region, as according to him, ‘’the Niger Delta was in need of human capacity development through empowerment of the youth, particularly the ex-agitators who sacrificed their lives in the days of the militancy. God has perfect timing for everything.’’

He has accordingly enjoined ex-militant leaders in the region to be cautious of their public utterances, not to be misconstrued by miscreants to ignite crisis, pointing out that as positive agents of change, the youths should rather deploy their God-given energies to foster sustainable peace in their communities. 

“I want to advise our youths in the Niger Delta to utilise their tremendous potentials to create and maintain peaceful environment, through peace negotiations and effective participation in community decision-making processes in favour of conflict prevention, management and resolution of posible conflicts.

“I am pleading with all beneficiaries to stop the in-fighting over personal interests and rally round the new coordinator to sustain the prevailing peace in the region, as insecurity will only create more challenges to the development of the region”, Ekiye says.