The Ijaw National Congress (INC), Wednesday, frontally warned Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed against further insulting the person of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The Congress also warned all officials of the incumbent administration who had busied themselves with Jonathan-bashing instead of, as it said, focusing on weightier issues of governance, to desist, henceforth, from such.
INC, in a statement made available to The UNION via email, and signed by the duo of Alatubo Charles Harry and Victor Burubo (Pst), listed as National President and National Publicity Secretary, said “this time enough is simply enough!”
Taking a swipe at the Information Minister, INC said his constant efforts to subtly link the ex-president with the sponsorship of militancy in the Niger Delta, had become “cheap, disingenuous and petulant”.
INC said in the statement tilted ‘Ijaw National Congress and Current State Of The Nation’, that “there is a constant and well-programmed diatribe and instigation of animosity against the civilized personage of former President Jonathan and his comparatively successful tenure under a barrage of attacks and vilifications. We view with consternation the government’s unethical refusal to afford him any credit or plaudits for his honest, patriotic and pan-Nigerian approach to governance. Regardless of that however Dr. Jonathan remains a core democrat and an International Statesman who currently enjoys a sterling image on the world stage”.
INC also re-emphasised its call on Federal Government to cease military action in the Niger Delta as a way to peace and ceasefire.
It urged government to accede to its call for a 30-day moratorium on military action to enable stakeholders in the area work on ceasefire.
The statement reads:
“The Ijaw National Congress INC, after due consultations hereby put forward the following interventions on burning National issues. As the umbrella body of all Ijaw people at Home and the Diaspora, Congress has a duty to speak on National issues, based on the potential of such issues to help Nigeria to hold together or to completely unravel. We are quick to say that we are for holding Nigeria together but only according to the tenets of fairness, justice and equity”.
Offer Of Ceasefire By Niger Delta Avengers
“Congress receives with cautious optimism the recent bold offer of ceasefire made to the Federal Government of Nigeria by the Niger Delta Avengers; a move geared to afford all sides a direly needed chance to dialogue. It should be noted that Ijaw National Congress had hitherto made several calls for dialogue after a ceasefire has been agreed. This call by the Avengers is commended. Congress strongly calls on the Federal Government to buy into another chance for dialogue. We also call on the Military and the Agitators to show good faith at this point.
“In taking this position, Congress affirms that the recent renewed upsurge of attacks on the oil facilities in Niger Delta cannot be resolved by force of arms. Our long traumatized people should not be subjected to more destruction of innocent lives, further destruction of the already devastated environment and desolate ecology; not to talk of the perennial tensions hanging over Nigeria. Government and the armed groups must adopt that ceasefire now! There is too much at stake in terms of lives and fortunes hanging in the balance for this chance to be frittered away”.
That Rebuke Of Chief E.K Clarke By Mend
“The attention of Congress has been drawn to the verbal attack on Chief Senator Edwin Clarke by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) in which he was berated in unflattering terms, for the meeting of Niger Delta Leaders he called in Warri which according to MEND did not meet the expectations of the group.
“While MEND cannot be denied any right to be heard, we in Congress and the generality of our people take a dim view of such open and needless attack on the person of Chief Clarke. By the venerable age and accomplishments of Chief Clarke, he is deserving of respect”.
Leave Dr Goodluck Jonathan Alone
“Since he left office in May 2015, having traded his ambition to buy Nigeria respite from acrimony, violence and bloodshed, INC, Ijaw people, all Nigerians and indeed the World has viewed with unspeakable shock, the various attempts by officials of the succeeding Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, to tarnish the image of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR. There is a constant and well-programmed diatribe and instigation of animosity against the civilized personage of former President Jonathan and his comparatively successful tenure under a barrage of attacks and vilifications. We view with consternation the government’s unethical refusal to afford him any credit or plaudits for his honest, patriotic and pan-Nigerian approach to governance. Regardless of that however Dr. Jonathan remains a core democrat and an International Statesman who currently enjoys a sterling image on the world stage.
“Ijaw National Congress, frowns at the cheap, disingenuous and petulant attempt by officials to finger him as a sponsor of any armed group anywhere in the world. We hereby warn the Minister of Information Mr Lai Mohammed, who has issued a mish-mash of pointless conjecture and innuendo such as: “belief in certain quarters that the former President is a sponsor of the Avengers has refused to go away”. How crass can one get in Goebellsian double-speak! The studied silence of former President Jonathan and the equanimity of Nigerians in the face of such irresponsible provocation cannot be allowed to continue. Let the word go forth from now: the continued vilification of Dr Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, former President of Nigeria is unacceptable to us and must stop. Nigeria has a far greater weight of grim and crucial issues to deal with, rather this petty fixation with rubbishing the image of a former President who saved the Nation from certain calamity. This time enough is simply enough!
Militarization And Heightened Military Activities
“While Congress has constantly spoken in favour of dialogue and the cessation of the destruction of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, we view with trepidation, the militarization of the zone and heightened movements of combat troops, Apache attack helicopters and other military hardware in the creeks of the Niger Delta. This cannot be good for the enhancement of a conducive atmosphere for dialogue.
“INC therefore urges President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the troops, ease the tension and let dialogue be the only item on the table.
“As a responsible Congress, we have, in a Press Conference held in Port Harcourt on Wednesday August 17th 2016, asked for 30 day moratorium on all military actions in the Niger Delta.
“Let the Federal Government give a 30-day moratorium on their action and we will certainly get a ceasefire from the creeks. No government should use attrition, especially violent attrition, as the first way of resolving a problem within its own borders.
“The time to act is now”.