Leaders of former agitators from the Niger Delta region have attributed the frequent defiant attitude of youths from the region to the policies of exclusion adopted by some state governors.
The ex-militant leaders, who formed bulk of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), said the youths felt sidelined by their governors, hence there would always be protests.
A communiqué issued after a meeting of the ex-militants in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the national president, Chief Reuben Wilson, said governors from the region needed to look at the pains of the youths, especially those from the oil-rich communities, as most oil companies were denying them employment.
According to the former agitators, in the communiqué, the bulk of the problems in the Niger Delta lie with the governors.
Wilson, now a pastor, pleaded with the governors to call the oil companies to order.
“The governors should intervene for these companies to employ youths who have been trained and are qualified to work in these industries,” he said while advising the governors to also appoint more youths in their states.
He identified reasons some angry youths were fiercely embarking on campaign of calumny against Federal Government appointees from the region.
The youths are provoked by exclusion from programmes for the region, he claimed, stating that the grievance of most of the youths was because they feel that outsiders were rather benefiting to their own detriment.
The meeting of the ex-militant leaders, which was attended by over 90 per cent of the first phase leaders, said despite the identified anger of the youths, the youths from the region had unanimously agreed that the leaders support the political appointees from the region, particularly the Prof. Charles Dokubo and the Presidential Amnesty Office.
“We can attest to the good work he is currently doing at the Amnesty Office. We assure the public that the support for Prof. Dokubo was not of lip service but for confirmation of the good work he is currently doing with the Amnesty Programme through various empowerment programmes like skill acquisition training and even education for the Niger Delta youths.”
They asked the governors to use the resources of the states wisely and create jobs for the jobless as well as bring development to their various states, so that indigenes will enjoy the dividends of democracy.