Bayelsa Elders Council, BEC, has urged the Federal Government to tread cautiously over the issue of renewed bombing of oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta region, adding that it condemned the recent bombings of pipelines in the region.
Speaking after an emergency meeting in Yenegoa yesterday, the elders said that deploying the army into creeks and villages in the guise of combing out pipelines vandals, would not only unsettled innocent citizens, but would further worsen the delicate relationship between the people and the military in the state.
The elders said it makes no sense for a nation that is already grappling with severe security and challenges to further unduly create tension in a region where the major wealth of the nation is extracted.
According to them, rather than deploy the military to the affected region the FG should explore other avenues of addressing the problem and thus halted further crises in the areas hosting the delicate oil and gas facilities.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, signed by Chiefs Francis Doukpola and Thompson Okorotie, the BEC appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to direct security agencies to go after the perpetrators and the innocent citizens.
The body advised the government to resort to intelligence gathering to fish out and bring to book the real vandals instead relying on unnecessary use of brute force against indigenes of the areas where the pipelines were vandalised.
The BEC further advised the government to adopt a carrot and stick approach in its negotiation with host communities to bring about sustainable solutions to the problem.
On the anti-corruption war, it threw its weight behind the Buhari administration, adding, however, that it was concerned about the way some Nigerians, including Ijaws, are being handled in the process.
“The council is deeply pained at the re-activation of oil and gas pipeline bombings and vandalism. We strongly appeal to the perpetrators to desist from the dastardly act forthwith in order to avoid the inevitable damage this would cause the economy of our states and the Nigerian state, especially at this time when the country is grappling with ridiculous
oil price regime.”
The council appealed to the president to direct security agencies to go after the perpetrators only with a view to bringing them to justice under the rule of law. In so doing, security operatives would not destroy innocent communities in the process of fishing out the perpetrators.
“The Federal Government should observe restraint while making pronouncement on the matter and should consult widely with relevant stakeholders when major decisions concerning the amnesty programme are to be taken.”
The meeting was attended by the council’s chairman, Chief Francis Doukpola, Royal fathers Joshua Igbagara, Jonathan Kubor, Richard Seiba and Chief Thompson Okorotie, Sir Chief Benedict I. Guembe, Prof Ayabaemi Spiff, Prof Francis Sikoki as well as Mr Charles Dorgu.

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