…appeals to Gov Wike to thread with caution
Udengs Eradiri, former President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) has asked the Federal Government to adopt the same approach it used in Zamfara people concerning gold on Niger Delta so that they will also benefit from the crude oil at their backyard.
Appealing to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike to tread with caution in his ongoing war against illegal refineries and bunkering, Eadiri who spoke on Tuesday in Port Harcourt advised that adopting brute force to stop illegal refineries could only worsen the situation instead of addressing the problem.
While commending Wike for his bold steps, Eradiri urged him to adopt a strategic broader stakeholders engagement in dealing with the menace to avoid creating another cycle of arm struggle in the region. He insisted that if the situation was not effectively and cautiously managed, myriads of youths, who were already engaged in the illegal business activities for survival, would be forced to acquire arms and fight back.
Eradiri, who is also the Special Adviser on Youths, NDDC urged Wike to work with the Federal Government to tackle the problem adding that the government had already set up a committee headed by Eta Enang to harmonise the issues in the region.
He said: “The governor of Rivers State,has demonstrated courage in declaring this war against illegal bunkering and cooking of crude oil to protect the people he had sworn to govern.
“I, however, appeal to him to exercise caution because the problem has grown beyond imagination following the myriads of youths involved in it. It has now become a cartel and it requires strategic engagement to dismantle it without creating another cycle of violence in the region.
“Eonomic exclusion, hunger, unemployment, high cost of petroleum products, the supply-demand gap of products caused by dysfunctional government-owned refineries and hopelessness are factors fueling establishment of illegal refineries.”