Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
Niger Delta stakeholders have dismissed the fears raised against the proposed South-South regional security by a coalition of militants, describing the unrepentant creek warlords as alarmists.
The stakeholders, under the auspices of the Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM), said the claims by the militants that such security outfit would be abused by the governors were unfounded.
The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA) in a statement signed by John Duke and Ekpo Ekpo, warned the governors against the security plan saying they would deploy such regional security outfit to settle political scores and deal with perceived enemies in their states.
But NDSDM in a statement signed by its founder and famous Niger Delta activist, Annkio Briggs, described those behind the CNDA as faceless and alien to agitations in the Niger Delta region.
She said her group had been in the forefront of agitation for a responsible and responsive regional security framework in the region following failures of conventional security agencies to tackle insecurity in the country.
She said the unfortunate incidents that had led to loss of lives in the region especially in Delta State where Governor Ifeanyi Okowa complained of armed herdsmen attacks demonstrated the need for a regional security network.
Briggs said the militants’ position was meant to derail the plan and satisfy the selfish interest of their sponsors adding that a regional security outfit must establish internal mechanism to check any possible abuse.
She insisted that on the matter of regional security, all the Niger Delta stakeholders were on the same page and would not tolerate attempts by some faceless persons to sow the seeds of discord among them.
She said: “The fear expressed by the group of misuse of the security outfit by the governors is purely an alarmist posture meant to derail the process and serve the interests of their sponsors who want to cause division and leave the Niger Delta defenseless and weak in the face of ongoing security breach.
The perceived fears are unfounded because the regional security platform will have checks on how it is to be managed properly spelt out.
“Any group genuine in their fears and not meant to serve a selfish purpose, would have explored other means to communicate their reservations to the right source and not rush to the press giving the impression that the people of the Niger Delta are disunited or disorganized.
“Let it be known that in this matter of our security the peoples of the Niger Delta are united with their governors and sponsored agitations engineered by any group or groups will not deter or defer this justice and legal process.”