Ijaw Youths Council kicks against deployment of more troops to Niger Delta

Posted by News Express | 19 February 2016 | 2,997 times

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The Ijaw Youths Council, (IYC) has faulted the deployment of more troops to secure oil facilities in the Niger Delta region, saying that similar action in the past had yielded little results.

Two major pipeline blasts within the past one month cut down oil exports by 16,000 barrels per day and led to closure of Warri and Port Harcourt refineries as well as cut gas supply to some power stations.

Mr Eric Omare, Spokesman of the IYC, said in a statement issued in Yenagoa on Thursday that the Federal Government should pursue a policy of closer engagement with Niger Delta people to achieve lasting peace to ensure optimal crude oil and gas production.

He explained that sending more troops to the oil communities often led to avoidable conflicts and made the people feel as if they were in conflict.

Omare stated: “The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide faults the decision of the federal government to send more troops to the Niger Delta region to protect oil installations.

“From our experience of attack on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region, sending more troops to the region is not the solution to problem.

“It is a matter of common knowledge that incidents of oil theft, kidnapping and attacks on oil pipelines have been on the increase despite the presence of military men around oil installations and communities in the Niger Delta region.

“The IYC has always maintained that in some cases, security agents, contractors and even oil company workers are complicit in these illegalities going on in the Niger Delta region.

“Instead of sending more troops who would come and commit more inconveniences to the people of the region such as intimidation, harassment of innocent villagers and unnecessary arrests, we call for quality intelligence gathering on the role of oil companies’ workers, contractors and security agents on the attacks on oil facilities.

“Ultimately, the solution to the problem of attacks on oil facilities lies in constructively engaging the people and communities of the Niger Delta where oil facilities are located.”

The IYC spokesman noted that sending more soldiers to region would only complicate the already complex situation.

Omare called for an incentive based legal framework to make the communities where oil facilities are located stakeholders in the oil produced in their communities.

According to him, the incentives would give them a sense of belonging to protect the oil facilities in their communities whilst saving the federal government the colossal financial resources involved in massive troop deployment. 

•Photo shows Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin. 

Source: News Express

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