The Niger Delta Congress (NDC) has condemned the loss of lives occasioned by violent clashes in Akwa Ibom State as a result of the Petroleum Industry Act. The group said that the violence was politically-instigated by some elements in the state.
A statement issued by the National Spokesperson of the NDC, Mudiaga Ogboru, urged the state government not to allow itself or its agents to be used to cause violence in the communities.
The statement read, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of innocent lives and the destruction of properties in Obolo and other communities within Akwa Ibom which has brought about a climate of fear and immense suffering to the people of Akwa Ibom.
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“There is enough empirical evidence to show that this recent surge in violent acts in Akwa Ibom against selected communities has its roots in the influencing the application of the Host Community Fund sections of the recently passed Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), which prior to now the NDC has outrightly condemned being aware of its propensity to catalyze inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic conflict in the region. We must likewise point out that intra-regional violence has never served the interests of Niger Deltans.
“The Niger Delta Congress firmly believes in the principles of peace, unity, and mutual respect and as such we call on all stakeholders, political representatives and community leaders to make all honest efforts to end all forms of politically instigated violence in Akwa Ibom. We urge all parties involved to embrace dialogue and peaceful means to address their grievances.
“We stand in solidarity with Akwa Ibom, and we commiserate with the families of those who have lost loved ones in Obolo and other affected communities and call upon the government, security agencies, and community leaders to take swift and decisive action to restore peace and security in the state.
“We emphasise the importance of community engagement, strengthening security measures, and promoting education and empowerment as vital steps towards building a peaceful and prosperous future for all.
“We appeal particularly to the Akwa Ibom State Government not to allow itself or its institutions to be used by individuals or communities with selfish interests to plunge the region and state into unnecessary violence. We implore Governor Umo Eno to use this opportunity to freely deploy the principles of fairness and justice, promote inclusivity and pursue inter-group cohesion in Akwa Ibom and the entire Niger Delta.
“As the free indigenous people of Niger Delta, together, let us reject violence and work tirelessly towards a harmonious and conflict free Akwa Ibom and Niger Delta,” the statement said.