Panel to stop violence in Niger Delta

The Nigerian federal government has set up a committee, the Niger Delta Riverine Protection Programme, to come up with solutions to the bombing of pipelines and proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Niger Delta region.

The Coordinator of the panel, Tikari Danjuma, told journalists in Abuja that the committee, which is being supervised by the Office of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, in conjunction with the office of the National Security Adviser, is tasked with the responsibility of working with critical stakeholders to recover illegal weapons, curtail the spate of bombings and the operation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region.

He pointed out that the programme was part of government’s efforts to address several years of neglect of the Niger Delta region as well as check the spate of violence in the region.

“(It is) aimed at driving further the peace process initiated by the federal government. Part of the mandate of this programme is to recover illegal arms and ammunition in the region; ensure adequate protection of federal government assets in the region and curtail the incidence of illegal refineries in the region.”

He noted that the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta region could not be achieved in an atmosphere of lawlessness, violence and anarchy.

Reiterating the federal government’s willingness to correct the ills of the past, Danjuma stated that it was left for the people of the region to fully cooperate with the government in order to make the region attain its full potential and guarantee a better future for the people.

The coordinator added that the committee would be meeting with “critical stakeholders” in the region to unveil details of its programme.

He called on individuals and groups in the Niger Delta, especially those in possession of illegal arms, to surrender them in the interest of peace and stability of not only the region but Nigeria as a whole.