The Grassroots Initiative for Peace and Social Orientation (GIPSO), has urged the Federal Government to build on the success of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s recent tour for lasting peace in the Niger Delta Region.
GIPSO, a Niger Delta Peace Advocacy group in a statement on Wednesday said that only widespread consultation with all segments of Niger Delta region would make the peace package put together by Osinbajo for the region to succeed.
According to the group, there is need for robust engagements on the ways to the actualise take off of the development plans unveiled by the Federal Government during the peace building tour of the region.
The Group’s National Coordinator, Richard Akinaka, noted that a report from the interactive sessions with key stakeholders showed a need for continued grassroots consultation and engagement.
According to Akinaka, the ongoing engagement is giving more attention to people who blackmailed government by destroying pipelines in the Niger Delta region than those who sincerely worked for peace and development of the region.
“While everything seems to be going well for those whose interests are being served, a precedent is being wrongly set for others who may fall out and again resort to further agitations.
“It is going to be counterproductive and undermine the peace process by rewarding those who took arms against the government; they should talk to wider sections of the Niger Delta people and not skew the dialogue with violence prone people.
“They should not sideline critical stakeholders and knowledgeable people who have interest and background in the peace building process in the region.
“Rewarding those who took arms for no reasons whatsoever and treating them with kids’ gloves should not be all that the peace process is all about, there is more to it than that.
“As much we are interested in the vice president’s initiative and process he has started, he should be very careful about the people who are coordinating the process.
“Who and who are those engaged in the ongoing talks? Is it the Aaron team or Ex militant leaders? We need to know.
“It is wrong to leave out communities where there are no pipelines damage.
“With what is going on now, anyone of the ex militants can decide to start blowing up pipelines to draw government’s attention to their sides.
“My advice to the government is, let them not set a bad precedent that will be disastrous tomorrow in the name of rewarding those who destroyed the national assets in the name of Niger Delta Avengers because others are watching,’’ GIPSO stated.
On the recent agitation by some oil bearing states for inclusion in the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Akinaka described the call as pathetic and uncalled for as agitators from those states in various camps were already enjoying amnesty.
“It is strange to some of us who from the beginning were involved in this process, some agitators, few of them from those states that were part of the Niger Delta struggle submitted arms in their operating states because there was no militant camp in their states,” Akinaka said.