The Edo state governor, Adams Oshiomhole, on Wednesday condemned the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, urging the federal government not to succumb to its blackmail.
The governor told State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari that the country deserved respect from all its constituents.
The governor asked political elite in the country to help in promoting and strengthening the bridge of unity in the country, particularly at this difficult time.
“I don’t think the state should submit to blackmail from any quarters. For me, I think the state should be respected. I believe in Nigeria, no part can do without the other. I believe our unity is not negotiable.
“I believe the responsibility of the political elite is to strengthen the bridge of unity; to discourage preaching hatred; discourage amplifying weak points, and work to strengthen those points. I salute our armed forces for what they are doing, and the confidence they have brought back to our security,’’ the governor said.
President Buhari, Mr. Oshiomhole pointed out, deserved the support of every Nigerian, saying no part of the country can be better off without the other.
According to him, the sooner we accept this reality, the better it would be for all Nigerians, adding that the days of ethnic champions and imaginary divides would not help anyone.
The governor said the president had shown leadership and determination to keep the country going, adding “for once, we are enjoying respect in world capitals, in different continents’’.
Mr. Oshiomhole enjoined all Nigerians, particularly the people of the South-South region, to support and cooperate with the Buhari-led administration in his efforts to transform the country.
“We don’t need to be security experts to accept the universal truth that wherever there is insecurity, there will be no investment because no investor will go to where is unsafe. And where there is no investment, poverty will be endemic, because there will be no job for our people.
“I appeal to all of us in the South South, we need to wake up; it is for our own self-interest that we make the region the most investor-friendly. The assets being destroyed is not just national assets, it is our own assets. It is what makes the South-South the hub of the Nigerian economy,” he stated.
He said those destroying oil pipelines are compounding the problem of pollution in the Niger Delta, as the cost of cleaning up the environment and making it attractive either for fishing, farming or other business, is huge.
The governor, who commended the president for his commitment to the cleanup of Ogoniland and other polluted areas in the Niger Delta, urged the people of the region to work together and encourage the government to continue to do more.