The Ijaw Youths Council has faulted the deployment of more troops to secure oil facilities in the Niger Delta.
The group said such deployment had yielded little results in the past.
Eric Omare, the spokesman for the IYC, in a statement issued in Yenagoa Thursday, advised the Federal Government to pursue a policy of closer engagement with the people of Niger Delta.
He said that such constructive engagement would help to achieve lasting peace and to ensure optimal crude oil and gas production.
Mr. Omare said sending more troops to the oil communities often led to avoidable conflicts and made the people to feel as if they were in conflict.
“From our experience of attack on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region, sending more troops to the region is not the solution to the problem.
“It is a matter of common knowledge that incidents of oil theft, kidnapping and attacks on oil pipelines have been on the increase despite the presence of military men.
“The IYC has always maintained that in some cases security agents, contractors and even oil company workers are complicit in these illegalities going on in the Niger Delta region.
“Instead of sending more troops, we call for quality intelligence gathering on the role of oil companies’ workers, contractors and security agents on the attacks on oil facilities.
“Ultimately, the solution to the problem of attacks on oil facilities lies in constructively engaging the people and communities of the Niger Delta where oil facilities are located,” Mr. Omare said.
The IYC spokesman said sending more soldiers to region would only complicate the already complex situation.
Mr. Omare called for an incentive-based legal framework to make communities where oil facilities are located stakeholders in the oil produced in their communities.
According to him, the incentive will give them a sense of belonging to protect the oil facilities in their communities.
He said that it would also save the Federal Government the colossal financial resources involved in massive troops deployment. (NAN)