The federal government has attributed the country’s economic uncertainties to increasing spate of armed robbery, kidnapping, communal tensions, pipeline vandalism as well as oil theft across the Niger Delta Region.
Accordingly, the federal government had directed the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to design and develop a strategic document for peacebuilding, security framework and participatory incident reporting and strengthening of rural-urban security in the Niger Delta Region.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Engr. Olufunso Adebiyi, made this disclosure during the inauguration of Niger Delta Regional Peacebuilding Strategy Technical Working Group in Port Harcourt.
Adebiyi opined that the non-kinetic approach seeks to bring together all critical stakeholders to a round table to brainstorm and develop a regional peace building strategy for the Niger Delta Region.
“Recent trends has however, indicated an increase in violent agitations and general insecurity which has unfortunately made the Region volatile and unattractive for investors despite the huge potentials that abound. Businesses are being shut on certain days in some States, there is an increase in armed robbery, kidnapping, communal tensions, pipeline vandalism, oil theft etc. across the Niger Delta Region.
“The destruction of National assets such as pipeline vandalism and oil theft has resulted in the Country’s dwindling oil production. This has exposed the Country to a lot of economic uncertainties, as it has become difficult to meet up with its OPEC quota, control a fast-rising inflation and adequately fund the annual budgets,” Adebiyi explained.
On its part, the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) charged the stakeholders in the region on approaches to conflict resolution, peace and security.
Advocacy Manager of PIND, Mr. Chuks Ofolue, lamented that historical tensions and a proliferation of armed groups contributed to the changing conﬂict and security dynamics in the region.
According to him, conﬂict issues to include communal tensions, political competition, organized criminality, and resource-based conﬂicts, and cautioned that if these conflicts are not addressed properly, they could continue and even worse, escalate into violence that could derail peace in the region.
In his words: “Based on the foregoing, PIND is leveraging its existing peace and security architecture to collaborate with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to design and develop a strategic document (Niger Delta Regional Peacebuilding Strategy) that will provide the framework for the implementation of a regional peacebuilding apparatus.
“We seek the technical support of various partners who are vested in promoting peace in the Niger Delta region and we hope to achieve this through multi-stakeholder and inclusive approaches that are necessary for conflict resolution and management.”
PIND listed the technical working group to include members from civil society organizations, representatives of the government, members of religious and traditional institutions as well as other stakeholders from the nine Niger Delta States.