The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Timi Frank, has urged the federal government to look beyond party affiliation in its effort to resolve the renewed wave of militancy in the Niger Delta.
He said even if those who can help bring the situation under control are in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the APC-led federal government must run to them for help because no price is too much to pay for peace.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, the outspoken APC deputy spokesman advised the government to exhaust every mechanism to solve the crisis despite its earlier appeal to the agitators to cease fire and give them the opportunity to do what it had promised the people of the Niger-Delta.
“So, as far as I’m concerned, I want the government to exhaust every mechanism to resolve this crisis. We must make sure we are talking to the right source so that we wouldn’t be deceived like what happened under the previous administration, where they were talking to the fake Boko Haram leaders without talking to the original leaders.
“We must try and get it right so that we can deliver our campaign promises for the people of Niger-Delta. In this case, military option isn’t the best one right now because innocent people of the community will die and pay the price of a few who want to cause harm for the entire people. I’ll continue to appeal to the government to do everything to bring peace to the people of the Niger-Delta”, Comrade Frank said.
Asked to explain how government could get the right people to talk to, the APC chieftain said the first amnesty programme was successful because the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was ready and committed to talk to the people who responded to his call at that time.
“We have competent people like Timi Alaibe, who was the former Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) boss who later became the special adviser to the President on Niger-Delta and Amnesty. As at that time, Timi Alaibe was one of the major persons who participated in the dialogue process. I still recommend him because I am the son of the Niger-Delta and I know those who the people would listen to.
“If our government wants to get it right, we should go back to the drawing board and ask questions. Where are those people who truly negotiated this amnesty? I was fully involved and I participated in bringing amnesty in this country. The records are there. People can testify to the role I played in this. If this government wants to sort this problem out, they should give some certain persons the hands of fellowship.
“If you ask me, I’ll say that if the government is ready and serious, they should go back and ask Timi Alaibe how he did it as at that time. It was even tougher as at that time than today. But Timi did it because he was in touch with the grassroots people who loved him because of his nature. I want to make it very clear that it’s not because he’s my friend and brother. But it’s because I believe in his capacity. The government needs people who can assist despite political affiliations and the issues happening today”, said Frank.