Posted by Grand News | 5 October 2017 | 764 times
The Ijaw Youth Council has opposed the planned military exercise in Nigeria’s restive southern Niger Delta region describing it as unnecessary. The region is the hub of oil and gas production in the
country which accounts for over 90 percent of its foreign earning.
According to a report by Reuters said the IYC which is the youth wing of the largest ethnic group in the region rather advised the militaryand the government to “ focus on economic development of the region” on Wednesday. The Nigerian Army said on Monday that it would carry out a training exercise from October 7 to October 28 in the region, where attacks on oil installations last year drastically reduced the Organisation of Petrroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member’s crude
production quota. A military deployment in the Delta State last year saw communities accuse troops of intimidating locals in raids aimed at capturing militants who said they wanted a greater share of energy wealth to go to the region. Crude sales make up two-thirds of government revenue. The youth council of the Ijaw ethnic group said in an emailed statement that it “disagrees” that troops would be in the rea for a “routine military training exercise”. “We hold the strong view that a military exercise of whatsoever nature is not required in the region, rather we need practical steps to address the developmental challenges facing the region,” said Eric Omare, the Ijaw Youth Council’s President. President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in May 2015 and also ruled Africa’s most populous country as a military ruler in the early 1980s, on Sunday said the government was continuing talks with Delta communities to secure a lasting peace. “We call on the Buhari administration to change its military approach to issues of the Niger Delta and adopt a development-driven approach,” said Omare in his statement. A military operation launched in September in the nearby southeast region, to reduce violent crime and “secessionist agitations”, prompted claims that locals were harassed and that the home of a separatist leader was besieged, which the army denied.
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