A former Minister of Information, and Leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), Edwin Clark, has belittled the Buhari led administration of claiming to have restored peace in the Niger Delta region.
Clark stated this in an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday. He said the claims by Buhari that his administration’s effort had sustained peace in the South-South geo-political zone is not true
The president has said his administration’s efforts had sustained peace in the South-South geo-political zone and pledged a fair deal to the region.
He noted that while former President Goodluck Jonathan was on the seat, the security challenges in the region reduced, but as Buhari came into power, it resumed.
According to the former minister, “No doubt, a good amount of peace has come to the Niger Delta in the past few years. However, your claim as having been the main architect that brought the peace does not properly convey what transpired,” the Ijaw leader said.
“If you will recall, your excellency, before your government came on board, insecurity which had reduced substantially during the tenure of your predecessor, resumed at a very alarming rate.
“The period saw the emergence of a new group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which virtually held your government hostage, oil production went down to as low as about 800,000 barrels per day.
“Your government adopted a military approach to quell the agitations by deploying the so-called ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in August 2016, which did not in any way solve the problem.”
The elder statesman also blasted the president over the region’s marginalization abandoning several projects and persecuting region leaders who served under the past administration. He cited the invasion of his home in September 2018.
Clark stated further that “Federal roads in the Niger Delta region have mostly collapsed and applying these funds to rehabilitate these collapsed roads, would have gone a long way in solving some of our problems.
“Please, Mr. President, I respectfully wish to state that your claim of bringing peace to the South-South geo-political zone is untenable, untrue, and without foundation.
“The deliberate neglect of the South-South can lead to the explosion of the keg of gunpowder upon which we are sitting in the Niger Delta.
“I will soon be 95 years old, and I am on my way out. God may soon give me my delayed boarding pass, but the coastal Niger Delta will remain forever as part of Nigeria.
“I strongly advise you to listen and heed to the various open letters I have written to you.”