The threat by President Muhammadu Buhari to deal with Niger Delta militants blowing up oil and gas installations has attracted criticism from some leaders from the Niger Delta region.
A former governor of Anambra state Chukwuemeka Ezeife has condemned federal government approach over economic development in Nigeria. Speaking in an interview with Vanguard, Ezeife said the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration plunged Nigeria into the current economic crisis. He said the attitude and statements made by the federal government scared foreign investors away. “If the government of the country begins to say the government is broke, they (investors) have nothing to doubt. That accounts for so many exits from Nigeria,” Ezeife said. He also the federal government flooded the media with reports of Nigeria being bankrupt: “They took over and within a very short time they started making negative statements about the economy. This is not a matter of blaming anybody. You just look at how many companies have quit Nigeria. I know of a friend who brought in some expatriates to co-invest with him here.” “They were just about to get started when the first salvo from government was fired that the country should not be invested in, because that is what it means; that the country is broke, that it is a poor economic decision to come here. So, the foreigners ran away and the man is still struggling now to get new partners,” he said. The former governor and elder statesman cautioned the government on the now trending blame game among public officials. Ezeife said, blame game by President Buhari and his minister over the performance of past administrations is the most stupid thing to do and a waste of Nigerians time. “If it was the fault of the last administration, let him take us to all the things as they were during that administration. Let him take us to the price of rice that was obtainable before he took over; take us to that petrol price; take us to the exchange rate; take us to the market as it existed; take us back to what it was when you took over,” he said. Speaking on restructuring, the former governor said there is no basis for disagreement. He said restructuring should unite Nigerians rather than divide them. He also denied saying that restructuring is political.
He said: “There is need for him to maintain a clear stand on dialogue and let us proceed on dialogue, which is what everybody is waiting for. No need threatening force because that is no.” Similarly, former president of Ijaw national Congress (INC) Prof Kimse Okoko, described the threats by the president to militants as old clichés that do not help the matter at all. He however agreed that no section of the country should hold the country to ransom, but noted that an unjust society will hold itself to ransom. He said it is better for the government to start implementation of the 2014 National Conference recommendations, if they don’t want any part of the country to hold the government to ransom. On his part, presiding Bishop of Christian Chapel International, Calabar, Bishop Emmah Isong cautioned that the threats to attack militant by the president is just a self-serving effort, which will lead to nowhere. Another Niger Delta leader, Timi Tonye, who represents Patani constituency in Delta state House of Assembly, said presidents, anywhere in the world, were assumed to be statesmen, who would not threaten their own people under any guise.
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