Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has denied that community
leaders in the restive oil-rich Niger Delta want a peace summit to solve the
unrest in the region. This sharply contrasts with a statement released by the
office of Nigeria's vice office, which suggested that community
elders in Niger Delta have agreed to join peace talks slated for next month but
are skeptical about the government's choice of mediator. Vice-President
Goodluck Jonathan, who is a native of the Niger delta, is charged with
organizing the peace talks to end the violence in the region. But MOSOP says there was no need for
any more talks since previous talks aimed at resolving the military crisis have
not yielded any positive results.
Lidum Mitte is the president of MOSOP. He tells reporter Peter Clottey
from Port Harcourt, Nigeria's previous administrations lacked the political
will to resolve the military crisis in the restive oil-rich Niger Delta.
was a meeting yesterday, and my recollection of the meeting was that the vice
president's office talks about the proposed Niger delta summit. And speaker
after speaker took the view that Gambari was unacceptable as chairman, and that
there was no need for any summit. What I heard people say and all of us were
almost unanimous, what we require was some process of activities that what ahs
been lacking has been the political will to deal with the Niger Delta problem.
And another talk shop people did not really have confidence in it," Mitte
He said people at the
meeting wanted to ascertain what happened to previous negotiations meant to resolving
the problems in the Niger Delta.
"I think that the view was
quite overwhelming… there have been several reports and conferences in the
Niger Delta and some people were of the view that what has happened to those
ones?" he asked.
Mitte said people want
Nigeria's federal government to exercise some political will to resolving the
problems in the restive Niger Delta region.
"I think people felt that
clearly what needs to be done was some political will. What I heard people say
basically was that yes there is a problem in the Niger Delta, but most of those
problems are as a result of the failure by past administrations to come out to
take decisive actions in dealing with the problem of underdevelopment of the
region. So they called for action, action in that direction," Mitte noted.
He said bringing about
development in the region would go a long way in solving the unrest in the
"Yes, and I think what is
required is that there should be a process by which people can identify genuine
community grievances and respond to them, and at the same time deal with
criminality and respond to them as such," he said.
Mitte reiterated the need
for a political will from the federal government to resolve the problems in the
"What I think needs to be
done is clearly to muster the necessary political will to address the core
issue that is underdevelopment and the question of justice," Mitte pointed out.