Buhari Drops Warfare, Endorses Osinbajo’s Approach to Solving Niger Delta Crisis
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s approach to addressing the concerns of aggrieved stakeholders in the oil-rich region of the Niger-Delta may have become the official method to ensuring lasting peace in the region.
There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari who allegedly favoured a military approach to tackling restiveness in the Niger Delta may have now been swayed by Osinbajo’s approach that essentially revolves around dialogue.
A source within the presidency told newsmen on Sunday that a series of meetings held between the president and his deputy earlier in the year had resolved that the government should embrace the oil-producing communities by encouraging their leaders and traditional rulers.
Leaders of various communities in the Niger Delta also met with President Buhari in 2016 and tabled some demands before him to ensure lasting peace in the region.
Following the meeting, many leaders in the region prevailed on militant groups such as the Niger Delta Avengers to halt attacks on oil facilities and installations.
The Avengers and other groups declared a ceasefire which gradually allowed a rise in crude oil production, now steadying at about 2 million barrels per day.
The presidency source is quoted by the Punch to have said that Buhari has decided to forego the military option in maintaining the calm being experienced and indeed gave firm instructions to the acting president to embark on the ongoing trips to the Niger Delta states.
The official added that Buhari’s instruction to the Acting President, while embarking on the tour of the region, was to ensure that “all interests are brought to the table, regardless of parties or any other differing factors or cleavages.”
He disclosed that Buhari had also instructed that the Amnesty Programme should not only be sustained but more budgetary allocation should be made for the scheme.
Many have hailed Osinbajo’s approach to engaging with displeased groups in the few weeks he has been in the saddle as acting president, even making comparisons with Buhari’s rather withdrawn approach. It remains to be seen if the extensive dialogue will be sustained upon Buhari’s return.
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