The Action Congress party (AC) in Rivers State and the gubernatorial candidate of the party during the last April elections today pleaded with all parties involved in the escalating confrontation between the militants and the security forces to exercise restraint in the interest of peace.
Tonye Princewill, in a statement to the media today urged the militants to sheath their swords while equaling appealing to the Joint Task Force – the security team responsible for restoring peace to the region to not only do the same but to declare a ceasefire to allow peace and stability to rein in the troubled state.
“It has becomes imperative to plead with the Rivers State Government under the able Leadership of Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Tom Ateke the Leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante Movement (NDVM) and the Joint Task Force (JTF) not only to sheath their swords but declare an immediate cessation of hostilities to allow the State and the region regain its sanity and for reason to prevail.” The statement said.
According to Princewill, “This call becomes necessary as Rivers State will remain even after they have gone. Innocent people therefore can not be victims of whatever disagreements they have. Enemies today will be friends tomorrow. Dialogue is the only way and whether today or tomorrow eventually it will be used. The difference between the options is what will determine how many more innocent people will die. Ateke should not further justify the actions of the JTF by killing innocent people. You have shown you can do peace. Now more than ever before, we implore you to show us you can do peace again. Then you leave the rest to God. The holy bible states in the Gospel of Saint Mathew chapter 5 verse 9 ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’. Ateke become a child of God today by promoting peace once again and don’t give them an excuse to haunt, peruse or probably kill you. The whole world is watching and today due to the happenings in our State the entire mankind is suffering and the prizes of crude oil has soared to $100 a barrel thereby making the poor to pay more for oil which directly affects the economy of the world. Those that don’t know what you did before for peace must see what you do now. JTF and Rivers State also need peace. Ateke, please do utilize the peace overture of Governor Amaechi that militants should denounce violence and handover their weapons of mass destruction and be granted amnesty and beside as Thompson one of the greatest disciples of Christ one expect you to be at the fore-front of bringing sanity and peace to our State and Region.”
“Nigerians believe that the Niger Delta deserves an improvement in their socio-economic life. The international community and civil society organizations have also spoken in the same vain. We do not know of anyone today in Nigeria who feels that Niger Delta has been fairly treated by successive administrations. The helplessness, level of ecological devastation and degradation and poverty besetting our people are well known. Be that as it may, those of us who saw sense in the agitations and protests against marginalization and poverty of the region and have advocated same can no longer justify the modus operandi of some of these groups involved in snuffing life out of innocent oil workers, Security personnel, Nigerians and foreigners.”
Princewill said that President Musa Yar’adua and Governor Rotimi Amaechi are committed to the “development and emancipation of our people is never in doubt but let us caution as much as we appreciate the efforts of the Joint Task Force ( JTF) to maintain peace in the Region but acting as an army of occupation is no longer fashionable. We have read the report of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta coded ‘Operation Restore Hope’ and wish to state that the use of military action to dislodge the Niger Delta warlords from their dens in the creeks of the region would be counter-productive, uncalled for, unwarranted and provocative and may result to a war on the Niger Delta people which calamitous consequences may not be ascertained.”
“We urge both the militants, JTF, FG and the various stakeholders to employ the principle of dialogue as the only suitable option to avoid overheating the polity or any other civil war in Nigeria” He said.