The Nigerian Guild of Editors, has urged the Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group, to embrace peace rather than violence. The call was made at a meeting of the editors in Katsina, on November 9, 2017.
In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, the Nigerian Guild of Editors expressed worry over the threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to resume attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria’s oil mine.
The Guild called on the Avengers to stop threatening Nigerians, and use dialogue to resolve their grievances.
The group also urged the Federal Government not to try to use force to resolve the matter, emphasizing that the use of force has never solved any problem. It disapproves of the recent show of military force by the Federal Government in the quest to neutralize the threat of the militants. Such moves, it stressed, has done little to help matters; they aggravate tension.
Warning that renewing hostilities in the Niger Delta would reduce Nigeria’s daily oil output, and in turn deny the country the benefits of the current increase in the price of crude, the NGE pleads that anything capable of returning Nigeria to the previous state of economic recession should be avoided at all costs.
It further appealed to all traditional rulers and leaders of thought in the Niger Delta region, to use their offices and goodwill to call the Avengers and any other militant groups in the Niger Delta region to order. The NGE urged them to play a leading role in the resolution of any breakdown in communication between the Federal Government, oil majors and the militants.
According to the Guild, Nigeria cannot afford another “force majeure” by the oil majors on account of insecurity in the region. Noting that the crime rate in the country has risen, with kidnappings and communal clashes all on the rise, the journalists group called on relevant security agencies to rise to the occasion. “The widening spread and growing frequency of kidnappings and allied criminal acts do not only threaten the nation’s socio-political stability, they also rob Nigeria of income as potential investors are scared of coming into the country while in some instances, existing investors are being forced to leave the country. Either way, the nation loses,” it says.
On the other hand, the NGE expressed doubts about the 2018 budget proposal currently before the National Assembly. According to the guild, the size of the recurrent as against the capital expenditure is something to be concerned about. This is a trend, which according to the body is detrimental to the country’s development.
It advised the Federal Government and the National Assembly to adopt prudent and innovative budgeting, in order to reverse the destructive trend as soon as possible.
Not leaving out the state of the media in the country, the NGE relayed its concern that despite the country exiting economic recession, the media industry is still in a state of distress. It recommends a coming together of stakeholders in the media industry to seek the way forward.