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Editors warn Buhari against using military force in Niger Delta

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government not to employ the use of military force against the renewed activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, saying such will aggregate the militants.

The NGE which also observed the increasing rate of kidnappings and communal clashes, called on security agencies to rise to the occasion.

In a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting of its standing committee in Kastina state at the weekend, signed by its President and Secretary, Funke Egbemode and Victoria Ibanga respectively, also called on the militant group to drop the threat and embrace dialogue in resolving their grievances.

“The Guild urges the Federal Government not to resort to the use of force in resolving the matter, stressing that the use of force has never solved any problem. As stakeholders in the task of nation-building, the Guild is worried by the recent show of military force in the quest to neutralise the threat of the militants. This move has done little to calm the tension, instead it has aggravated it. We urge caution and restraint.

“The Guild urges the government to dialogue with all stakeholders, including the aggrieved militants to resolve the problems in the region, insisting that the only path to peace is dialogue. The Guild notes that renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta will reduce Nigeria’s daily oil output, which will in turn deny the country the benefits of the current marginal increase in the price of crude. Anything that’s capable of returning Nigeria to economic recession should be avoided.

“We seize this opportunity to appeal to traditional rulers in the region to use their offices and goodwill to call the Avengers and any other militant group in the region to order. As royal fathers and leaders of thought, we urge them to play a leading role in the resolution of any breakdown in communication between the Federal Government, oil majors and the militants. We cannot afford another bout of force majeure by oil majors on account of insecurity in the region.”

On the increasing cases of kidnappings and communal clashes in the country, the editors urged the federal government to deploy the relevant security agencies to check the pervasiveness of the crimes.

“The widening spread and growing frequency of kidnappings and allied criminal acts do not only threaten the nation’s socio-political stability, they also rob Nigeria of income as potential investors are scared of coming into the country while in some instances, existing investors are being forced to leave the country. Either way, the nation loses.”

As regard the 2018 budget proposal currently before the National Assembly, the Guild expressed concerned about the size of the recurrent as against the capital expenditures, saying the trend,   “which is inimical to any country’s development, has continued for so long.  We urge prudence and innovative budgeting in order to achieve a reversal in the nearest future.”

About Bode Olagoke, Abuja

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