Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani, has denied speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari is contemplating a military action in the troubled Niger Delta over acts of militancy.
The minister said that contrary to belief in some quarters, the Buhari administration has immense humane disposition towards the Niger Delta area and the people.
He further stated that government’s tolerance of the chain of reactions in the region is “a demonstration of the fact that government is willing to bring peace at all reasonable cost”.
Mr. Usani, however, expressed displeasure with the attitude of most militants in the region to the peace process.
According to him, the militants are not showing the required commitment to ensure peace in the region contrary to what many of them want the rest of the world to believe.
Usani said contradictory signals from the militants tend to suggest that they do not often mean what they say.
“The same person saying let’s negotiate and sends Mr. B to negotiate or to discuss can be the same person that will say I don’t want and sending Mr. C to say we don’t agree”, the minister said in an interview published today.
“So the correlation in different shades is what complicates the situation but government is not relenting, we still want to talk with our people”, he added.
He also said that reports about the region are often exaggerated.
Citing a recent warning by the United States Government to its citizens to be wary of doing business in the region, Usani said: “in spite of that type of warning, businesses are going on there and investments are still coming in.
“Sometimes, the information that is given out about the region is actually beyond the proportion of the reality and so that should not discourage people from coming in.
“We know there are volatile areas in the Niger Delta region but there are still places of absolute peace and safety.
“When we went to the area where the bulk of oil production is carried out in Awka Ibom State, the report we had was that that place has never experienced any form of militancy, yet it is just by the maritime shell. Militancy has not taken place.
“The pocket of areas of violence should not abrogate the peaceful environment that really demands and commands investments and potentials.”
The minister who also spoke on the economic challenge in the country said: “it is not everyone that is willingly submitting to what we call due process and it is not everyone that is actually committed to due process.
“Adjusting to the wind of change tends to convey an impression that this government is not interested in the welfare of people. This is not correct.
“Instead, we are far more interested in the welfare of the people. Basically, the challenge is to get people to understand that, without the foundation, there can be no structure established and that is the foundation that we are trying to set up which is also a serious challenge because change in every circumstance is always resisted”.