Following threats by ex-Niger Delta militant leaders to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has urged them to retract their statement in the interest of peace, national cohesion and stability.
The North’s apex socio-political group described the threat of declaring Atiku a ‘persona non grata’ from the Niger Delta region as misguided, lacking in reason and in conflict with democracy.
The ex-militants under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative, rising from a meeting in Yenogoa, Bayelsa state on Saturday, accused the former vice president of using their resources (oil money) to fight one of their own (President Goodluck Jonathan).
The group’s president, Reuben Wilson said, “We are aware of his vast business interest in the Niger Delta and we are warning him in his own interest to stay off the region. He cannot be enjoying our oil money and at the same time use the same money to fight the owners of the oil.”
But the ACF, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani on Snday, said the threat by the militants is a deviation from peaceful resolution of differences in the political process common in democracy.
He described the action as counter-productive which will do nobody any good.
“Threats such as the one from the Niger Delta ex-militants are a negation of dialogue and the political process playing itself out on account of the breakup of the PDP into factions,” the forum said.
It further added that the “Ex-militants are by their misguided action crossing the fiducial mark that is alien to democratic tenets.
“This is because, democracy is not a matter of threats and intimidation, but contest of ideas and reason,” he said.
Meanwhile a youth leader in the region, Timi Frank, on Sunday, dismissed the threat against Atiku as “empty and falling flat of common sense.”
“It is on record that the Niger Delta region and it’s youths have benefited immensely from the vast business interests of the former Vice President even as till date it remains to be challenged that Atiku remains the single highest employer of labour in the Niger Delta region and has empowered both investors and politicians from the region like no other Nigerian has, making him the bridge builder between the North and the South South region,” Mr. Frank said.