Former Information Minister, Edwin Clark, has faulted a claim by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on restoring peace to the Niger Delta region, describing it as untrue.
President Buhari has spoken about his administration’s efforts in sustaining peace in the South-South geo-political zone, pledging a fair deal to the region.
But in an open letter to Buhari on Thursday, Clark said the significant peace being enjoyed in the region cannot be attributed to the current administration.
While noting that insecurity in the region reduced during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the elder statesman admitted the security challenge resumed at an “alarming rate” after Buhari came on board.
“No doubt, a good amount of peace has come to the Niger Delta in the past few years. However, your claim as having been the main architect that brought the peace does not properly convey what transpired,” the Ijaw leader said.
“If you will recall, your excellency, before your government came on board, insecurity which had reduced substantially during the tenure of your predecessor, resumed at a very alarming rate.
“The period saw the emergence of a new group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which virtually held your government hostage, oil production went down to as low as about 800,000 barrels per day.
“Your government adopted a military approach to quell the agitations, by deploying the so-called ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ in August 2016, which did not in any way solve the problem.”
Clark also accused Buhari of marginalising the region, abandoning several projects, and persecuting leaders from the region, who served under the previous administration, citing the invasion of his home in September 2018.