Posted by News Express | 5 October 2022 | 218 times
A peace advocate in the Niger Delta, Dr Onyifie Jonjon, has called for a review of the reward system that patronises violence-prone people and neglect of the law-abiding in the peace process.
Jonjon, a former President of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), who spoke in Yenagoa on Sunday, noted that those who brokered the amnesty peace deal were sidelined and left out.
He said that it was regrettable and discouraging that society seems to neglect intellectual prowess and hence discouraging the youths from scholarly endeavours and hard work.
“Where is T.K. Ogoriba, Dr Chris Ekiyor and Dr Felix Tuodolo who contributed so much in making the amnesty programme a reality in the present dispensation?
“I got involved in a fatal accident and underwent several surgeries and till today the scars are still with me and I got nothing from the amnesty programme, not even a slot out of the 30,000. The amnesty officer never bothered about us,” he said.
Jonjon, the Special Adviser to Bayelsa Governor on Ijaw National Affairs, said that the pipeline surveillance contract should serve as an opportunity to reverse the unjust reward system and engage the law-abiding peace advocates.
“Historically, the attention has always been on the merchants of violence while those who are law-abiding who mediate in the peace building process are not factored in, for example, where are those who midwifed the amnesty deal?
“I was drafted in during the hey days of agitation by militants as President of Ijaw Youths Council, alongside other notable Ijaw leaders and when the amnesty was proclaimed, there was no role for those who brainstormed to midwife the idea,” Jonjon said.
He said that Ijaw leaders who mediated and brokered peace ought to be involved in monitoring and evaluation as well as providing intellectual support to the entire struggle.
He said that beyond patronising the ‘merchants of violence’ in the recently awarded pipeline surveillance contracts, the beneficiaries should create opportunities and carry along other segments of the society.
Jonjon observed that amongst the several beneficiaries in the pipeline surveillance, it was only Chief Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a Tompolo) who is consulting and enlisting participation of Niger Delta stakeholders.
According to him, other beneficiaries who got a lion share of the pipeline surveillance contract should emulate Tompolo and carry other stakeholders along and discourage infighting amongst the Niger Delta people.
He noted that it was unfair to ignore law-abiding youths in the Niger Delta region who contribute to peace in the society and worked hard.
He said that as a member of the Committee set up by the Ijaw National Congress to douse the tension that followed the award of the surveillance contract, there was a compelling need to calm frayed nerves to tackle oil theft.
He called for concerted efforts by all beneficiaries of the surveillance contract and stakeholders to involve more people so that the benefits of the contract will be felt across board.
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