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Revealed: How criminality can be stamped out in Niger Delta —- MOSIEND

Emergence of MOSIEND

It is one of the forces being used by the people of the Niger Delta to press home their demands of either resources control, cleaning up of their environment, establishing the modular refineries as promised by the vice president about four years ago when he visited the region or even creating jobs opportunities for the youths. It is called the Movement or the Survival of Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, (MOSIEND). Since the discovery of crude oil in the Niger Delta region starting from Oloibiri in Ogbia local government of Bayelsa state where the first oil was discovered in large quantity in 1956, it has not been easy for the people. Hence, a lot of environmental hazards were caused by the oil companies especially Shell which was the first international oil company to exploit the region.

Security challenges

Of course, all these challenges in the Niger Delta region which comprises states like Ondo, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Delta have been the issues bedevilling the area that made the youths in the first to go into series of agitation which eventually snowballed into militancy. It is a well-known fact that more than ninety per cent of the foreign exchange earnings of the Federal Republic of Nigeria comes from the Niger Delta. It was not easy for both the federal government, the security agencies, the international oil companies even the locals, who lost their lives while many were kidnapped including the expatriates because of the agitation. The agitation that brought about militancy was birthed in 1998 during the Kaiama declaration which embroiled the region into crisis because of the peoples’ fight for resource control and searches for redress after many years of neglect. As a result, several militant groups were formed resulting in hostage-taking/kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, terrorising of oil workers, disabling flow stations, shutting down oil rigs, disruption of infrastructural development and absolute lawlessness became the order of the day. The militant groups were the Niger Delta peoples volunteer force (NDPVF) movement for the emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), which were the most actives groups then until the amnesty period which saw militancy reducing and the youths laying down their arms after being promised a stipend of N65,000 per person and training both in Nigeria and abroad and thereafter reintegration into the society. This saw about 30,000 youth benefiting from the programme. However, all that didn’t go down well with youths as another group sprang up again in 2016 when they felt that the Federal Government was reneging from the initial agreement. It is on record that an oil sector with a daily installed capacity of 3.2 million barrels of crude per day came down to 1.3 Mbps in 2008 because of the activities of the militants. With the retaliatory attacks by the militants in June 2009, production hovered between 800,000bpd and 1.2 Mbps. Many companies then relocated, shut down or reduced operations in Nigeria, throwing multiple thousands into the job market.

Yar’Adua’s amnesty

policy But the administration of the then late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua granted amnesty to the militants after a very serious negotiation between their militant leaders and the former President Good luck Jonathan then the vice president of the country under Yar’adua. Before the presidential amnesty, another strong body to represent the youths of the region has been formed in 1998 known as the Ijaw youth council in Kaiama town the home of the first freedom fighter Isaac Adaka Boro who fought for resource control. They were over 5,000 Ijaw people representing over 40 Ijaw clans who chose to articulate their aspirations for the Ijaw people and to demand an end to the forty years of environmental damage and underdevelopment in the region. That was how the agitating groups emerged including MOSIEND.

MOSIEND’s interface

According to the leader of MOSIEND then, Timi Kaiser Ogoriba, speaking on what necessitated the formation of MOSIEND, he said: “We found out that the elders in our communities in whose hands we reposed our confidence tended towards a derailment in our march towards total emancipation of our people. “Our group, the movement for the survival of the Ijaw eth-nic Nationalities in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), therefore prepared to provide succour for the neglected Izons in the Niger Delta, knowing that what the Federal Government gets from that area by way of resources is what sustains the Nigerian economy without the people of the area getting anything in return. “We realised that not getting any part of these resources in return means that we are an oppressed people. No one wants oppression. “MOSIEND’s objective is to tell the powers responsible for this oppression to stop perpetuating this. If they consider themselves invincible, hegemonic, in the fullness of time, the downtrodden, the righteous will take over the earth. “Modern amenities which have turned Abuja into a worldclass city should be provided in the Niger Delta also and until these are provided, we shall continue to agitate. “And since then, the group has been turned to a pressure group recently led by Kennedy Tonjo West who has been agitating for good governance, end to pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, all forms of maritime crimes, the establishment of modular refinery among other things. “To achieve these, the group was at the headquarters of joint task force operation Delta safe, Igbogene where the national president of the group once again assured that the group was ready to collaborate with the joint task force code-named, Operation Delta safe to make sure that all forms of criminalities are stamped out in the Niger Delta region.”

More deliberations

Speaking recently at the command when the group visited the command at the headquarters in Yenagoa, West said the group has come to appreciate the efforts of the command on their efforts towards the increment of crude oil production and deflecting the activities of the sea pirates and curbing all forms of unwholesome acts in the region. The leader of the delegation said, “We actually came haven taken appraisal of the security situation in Niger Delta and closely looking at the efforts of the operation Delta safe, we felt we should come and appreciate command on the activities that have been going on. “It is only a blind that doesn’t see the efforts being put by the operation Delta safe in ensuring that there is a high production of crude oil and then there is a minimal issue of sea piracy and militancy and all sort of unwholesome act in the Niger Delta. “MOSIEND is vigorously pursuing our re-orientation, repositioning and recovery of our lost values and that means fighting against all the vices that have de-marketed the struggling platform that has made the Niger Delta very unmarketable for investors. “We are here to collaborate with JTF because of our planned reorientation of the youths of the region. The essence is to reorientate on the need to uplift our lost values and vices that have de-marketed our struggle and made investors reluctant to come to the region. “We are vigorously fighting against it and we can’t fight against it without coming to the institution whose mandate it is to make sure that this place becomes investment-friendly and we are happy that the command has given us the consent to tour the communities in the Niger Delta to continue to preach against all forms of criminality and every other vice that have continued to make the place inhabitable for investors. “We are vigorously fighting against that and we can’t fight it successfully without coming to meet with the people whose mandate it is to drastically reduce and ensure that this place becomes investment-friendly. “Whether we like it or not, we are going to re-orientate the minds of our youths so that they can see hard work as a more productive venture in order to develop the Niger Delta because whether we like it or not, Niger Delta has been grossly de-marketed and no business wants to come here for one security issues or the other. “And it should be a concern to every Niger Delta indigene yearning for development because when investors come in, it raises your internally generated revenue and create employment for the teeming youths and engage people constructively and then the corporate social responsibilities which we also accelerate development in the communities. “These are the kind of development that we want to see in the region and as one of the oldest and forerunner of advocacy in the Niger Delta, we feel that we owe the Niger Delta a responsibility of re-orientating the people and make this place more investment-friendly and then get development and prosperity into the region. “Already, we are running giggles on anti-cultism, anti-piracy and all that and it is playing in most of the radios stations across the Niger Delta but to take this further, we have decided that we have to go through community engagement and that community engagement gives us the leverage for community orientation. “We felt that we owe the Niger Delta that responsibility of re-orientating the people to make the place more investmentfriendly for the region. We will achieve this through community engagement. “MOSIEND is in all the communities in Niger Delta states and we are going to use this structure to make sure that we propagate this message down to all the communities and we are going to use this structure to make sure propagate this process down to all the communities and we know that by the time the Kings, community leaders, the CDCs and the security within that place are aware, we can tell you that federal and state government will see the benefit. “Once this is done and the youth’s minds are re-orientated, the Federal Government and State Governments will commend the active role of MOSIEND.”

JTF Commander speaks

Responding, the Commander of Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan, said the command was going to collaborate with MOSIEND to achieve her aim adding that the command was ready to assist in any way possible to make sure that MOSIEND succeeds. He stated that the Command is available to assist any time there is a need for that.

 

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