PRELATE Emeritus, Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang, has condemned the use of military force by the federal government to restore peace in the Niger-Delta. He identified lack of continuity in ideas and execution of government projects and programmes by successive administrations as part of the problems facing the country. In an interview with journalists at his country home in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, at the weekend, Mbang also advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to completely ignore the resolutions of the National Conference in solving the numerous problems of the nation.
“The truth is that you cannot use both military and dialogue to resolve the crisis in the Niger- Delta. I would have preferred dialogue. Once you are talking about dialogue then you use military you defeat the purpose of dialogue. I must be sincere; the trouble in the Niger-Delta did not start today. It is a trouble that has gone on for very long and I am sure people know the solution to them but they have decided to be dancing around what they know. “There are certain things in the Niger Delta that should be dealt with and for justice let them deal with those things and the whole thing will stop through dialogue.” Mbang maintained that similar military operations have failed in other parts of the world and that of Nigeria would be no exception. “The Niger Delta cannot get everything they want, but if they will get some of the things I am sure they will have peace. But if they think that they can use force, it is not going to work. It doesn’t work anywhere. You see, America wanted to use force in Afghanistan, Iraq and others, it did not solve the problem, in fact, it is creating more problems for them. If they try to use force in the area, it will create more problems for Nigeria. “The Niger Delta people have a case. People from outside have come to look at this case, they should sit down and deal with it the way they want, but force will not solve it. They have told me that oil bloc is one of the main problems, that no Niger- Delta man has one oil bloc in their area. I really want to see
them deal with it. If oil blocs are given to others, why don’t they give to people from the area, so that whenever anybody wants to talk about it, they will say this man has it?” Mbang maintained. He insisted that the grievances of Boko Haram are not the same thing with that of the Niger Delta militants and Biafra, saying while Niger Delta militants and Biafra have reasons for their actions, reasons for Boko Haram is not known to Nigerians. “For Biafra and Niger Delta militants if you ask them they have reasons why they are angry, sit down with them, talk and try to sort out some of these problems. They are Nigerians, they have every right to ask questions when they are uncomfortable”