Some elders and traditional rulers from the eight local government areas of Bayelsa State on Friday alleged that some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s aides who hail from the Niger Delta were frustrating the proposed dialogue between the Federal Government and the new militant groups led by the Niger Delta Avengers.
According to the elders, though the decision of President Buhari to lead the proposed dialogue was commendable, his aides’ show of deceit, fraud and discordant tunes hadcreated a huge gulf between the militant youths and the present administration.
The Bayelsa elders, who are members of Bayelsa Elders for Progress, Peace and Good Governance (BEPGG), made the assertions in a statement released by their coordinator,Ayibatonye Goodnews, and secretary, Lucky Ebifaghe. They claimed that the recent activities of key presidential aides from the region, including Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and the coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Program, Brigadier General Paul Boroh, were frustrating peace efforts.
In an open letter, BEPGG urged President Buhari to “investigate the genuineness of purported meetings held between the Presidential Amnesty boss, Paul Boroh, and Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.” They added: “How can they claim to have met stakeholders and the militant attacks continue? They met some fake militants and stakeholders and wasted scarce resources of the Federal Government on [a] jamboree.”
The group accused General Boroh, who runs the government’s amnesty program, of falsely claiming to have relocated to the creeks of the region. According to them, the amnesty boss “was only sighted in Tompolo's community [holding] clandestine meetings without [a] solution to the continued bombing of the oil and gas facilities.”
They asked Mr. Buhari to probe how funds were “expended on the jamboree without result. We insist that the Presidential Amnesty Office should be probed following the alleged failed sharing of resources to fake Avengers.”
The elders and traditional rulers further stated, “The lack of knowledge on key issues of the region and wrong signals sent to militants along the creeks are frustrating the needed peace process. Many of the purported stakeholders have made money from the self-created jamboree in the region. Genuine Niger Delta stakeholders should be consulted for sustained peace.”
They commended President Buhari’s decision to lead the proposed dialogue between the Federal Government and stakeholders from the area. According to them, the dialogue should usher in “needed peace and growth in the region.”