On Thursday, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) described President Muhammadu Buhari’s comments on the preparedness of his administration to deal with oil and gas pipeline vandals like Boko Haram insurgents as “retrogressive” and “anti-Niger Delta.”

Muhammadu Buhari

Last week, during an interactive session with members of the Nigerian community in Beijing, Mr. Buhari threatened that his administration would descend heavily on oil and gas pipeline vandals as well as other saboteurs the same way the nation’s armed forces were dealing with members of Boko Haram.

The IYC president, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, described the position of President Buhari as retrogressive and condemnable, considering the investment purpose of the presidential visit to China.

“We condemn the statement by President Buhari. President Buhari went to China for discussions on possible investments and began to say that he will deal with pipeline vandals like Boko Haram. It is wrong.

“It shows that President Buhari does not have the true picture of the Niger Delta. For him to make such statement, it shows he is not current with investment trends of the world. The statement shows that he will be sending bombs and troops to the Niger Delta like he does against the Boko Haram sect. The investors will become scared because they know that the deployment of bombs and troops will destroy their possible investment in the region,” Mr. Eradiri stated.

“President Buhari naturally shot himself in the foot. How can he go to China to discuss business and investment with proposed payments with resources from the Niger Delta and while threatening the custodians of such means of payment? He also discussed investments without considering citing where in the Niger Delta the wealth would be sourced. It is laughable and wrong. 95 per cent of the wealth needed to service the China-Nigeria agreement is located in the Niger Delta.”

Mr. Eradiri noted that the present administration’s focus on the battle against pipeline vandalism is misplaced and called on the president to investigate the sponsors of the attacks rather than the vandals themselves.

“Buhari’s proposed attack is against those below the ladder. Why don’t they focus on investigating and arresting sponsors located in Abuja and other corridors of power? Those behind the pipeline vandals are in the military and the National Assembly.”

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