The group described the president’s warning to Niger Delta militants to negotiate with the Federal Government or face Boko Haram treatment as “reckless and prejudicial” to peaceful resolution of the renewed militancy in the region.
In a statement signed by the group’s spokesperson, Eric Omare, the Ijaw youths maintained that there was no basis for that statement considering that the circumstances of the Niger Delta were different from the Boko Haram crisis.
“We have just read a press statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media Affairs, Mr. Garba Shehu in Nairobi, Kenya wherein President Buhari while discussing with the Japanese leader warned Niger Delta agitators to negotiate or face the Boko Haram treatment.
“The IYC condemns the statement and state that it is reckless and prejudicial to peaceful resolution of the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta.”
Ijaw Youths added that : “It shows that the government has made up its mind to use force against Niger Delta communities. The IYC wishes to alert Nigerians and the international community that the Buhari government is executing a predetermined agenda against the Niger Delta region which is to attack and kill innocent people.”
The President had at a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD),held in Nairobi, Kenya, over the weekend vowed to treat Niger Delta militants as terrorists and deal with them in a similar manner to Boko Haram, if they refuse to negotiate with the Federal Government.