Palpable tension is gradually brewing across the oil communities over what some of their leaders and notable critics see as official silence of the federal government on key demands for peace made by the Niger Delta region.
Though a government spokesman said the government has not reneged on the agreement and the government will never do so, an official recently averred that it would take time for other agreements, such as the planned opening of a university and community ownership of small-scale refineries, to come to fruition.
Federal government had claimed that “The government has not reneged and will never renege on any agreement. Call for resuming attacks when the government is diligent in actualising the terms of the agreements and requests made will not help matters”.
Annkio Briggs, a leading activist in Port Harcourt, described the peace talks as lies and deceit, while Richard Akinaka, who represented the youth in Rivers state for a meeting with Osinbajo, said the government is treading a disastrous path.
He noted that “The government is treading on a path that is disastrous setting a precedent that they will only negotiate with the Delta when they start blowing stuff up,” insisting that government’s promises are ‘bogus’.
Besides, a chief in Gbaramatu kingdom, Godspower Gbenekama, told newsmen recently that the people of Niger Delta will resume attacks on oil facilities if they continue to feel that the government is ignoring them.
According to him, “no one can be assured that nothing will happen in the Delta”.
“The people of the Niger Delta can hold this government or any government to ransom because we are the people feeding the nation.
“This peace is a graveyard peace. Nobody can assure anybody that nothing will happen in the Delta,” Gbenekama said.
Some youths from the region had allegedly carried out attacks on oil facilities to protest the continued silence of the federal government about issues in the Niger Delta, which resulted in reduced oil production output.
Business Hilights recalls that during the visit of the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to communities in the region, holding peace talks and town hall meetings to broker peace about some months ago, he assured that several demands of the region will be met.
Analysts are aware that peace had returned to the region with that singular presidential assurance, but leaders are beginning to suspect some levels of frustration and apparent delay in the delivery of the promises while smooth oil explorations and exports rise daily.
Part of the confusion that may have spurred renewed agitation may not be unconnected with the recent cancelation of oil block to an indigenous company and government continued silence in the effective takeoff of Maritime University plus granting of modular refinery licences to willing host communities.