As the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, yesterday deployed additional aircraft to support the ongoing military onslaught against renewed militancy in the Niger Delta due to the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, and other fresh groups springing up in the region, the governments of Great Britain and Switzerland have in separate fora, warned the Federal Government, FG, against the resort to military option.
Speaking in Abeokouta, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, cautioned the Federal Government over military option as a measure to tackle the resurgence of militancy and other forms of criminality in the Oil-rich Niger Delta region.
Political counsellor, Ben Llewellyn-Jones and former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Dr. Emeka Anyioku accompanied Arkwright, who was on a visit to the palace of the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo.
He advocated for dialogue as part of a comprehensive approach that should be adopted by the Nigerian government to address the situation, adding that force alone may not bring about a lasting solution to the Niger Delta issue.
While speaking with newsmen, Arkwright said though, there is the need to protect the investments, not just the British companies and international companies operating there, but also Nigerian companies from acts of criminality going – on in the region, the military should tread softly.
He noted that Britain is already talking to the Nigerian government and its authorities on the need to take a “comprehensive approach” and not to rely solely on military option as solution to the militancy in the Niger Delta.
According to him, it is important that the Nigerian government explores ways to engage the communities in the, understand the grievances of the people, and also ensure that the environmental damage is cleaned up.
He also suggested that same option should be applied to conclude the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East of the country as being canvassed ever since by Britain.
“We need to protect the investment there, not just British companies, international companies but Nigerian companies as well.
“We are talking to Nigerian authorities about that, we need to have what we called a comprehensive approach to this, in other words we need to have dialogue and we need to engage the communities down there.
“We need to understand the grievances of the people down there; we need to ensure the environmental damage is cleaned up.
“When there is criminal activity, (it) is right that the government should take proactive action against that criminal activity, we strongly support them but we don’t think military solution alone is the final solution to handle issues in Niger Delta.”
In like manner, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Eric Mayoraz and Director, Africa Programme, International Crisis Group, ICG, Dr. Comfort Ero, advised the federal government to adopt other approaches other than force.
The advise was given at the launch of a report titled: “Exploiting Disorder: al-Qaeda and the Islamic State,” put together by ICG.
“We are convinced of the necessity to engage in peace promotion and human security activities in most inclusive way possible. Solutions to conflicts must be rooted in inclusive political processes, based on the rule of law and respect for universal human rights,” Mayoraz said.
He said his country was currently working in about 40 conflicts zones globally, including Nigeria, where it is supporting peace building efforts and promoting constructive engagement through dialogue, mediation and other systematic preventive measures aimed at directly addressing grievances and root cause of violent extremism.
It would be recalled that the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta region has come at great cost, threatening to completely shut down oil production.
The militants have in recent weeks sustained the destruction of critical oil infrastructure in the region.

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