The Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung, at the weekend narrated how he travelled to Oporoza in Gbaramatu kingdom in Delta State for a meeting with the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Dalung who spoke to a selected group of journalists at the end of a stakeholder’s meeting of the Southern senatorial zone of Plateau State in Shendam, said he took a two-hour journey on the sea to Oporoza in Gbaramatu kingdom where he met with the leadership of the NDA who gave him a sealed hand-written letter to deliver to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “On reaching the community after the two-hour journey on the high sea, I met with the members of the communities who told me that their dream was to be included in the Nigerian project, that the education facilities and other basic social amenities are almost non-existent in the communities. They also raised concern of incessant attacks by the Nigerian Military.”
The Minister said he took the trip last Wednesday as part of federal government’s commitment to good governance and his strong concern for the Nigerian youths, adding, “As a youth minister, I know there the Avengers are mostly youths who have potentials to be great citizens of this country.”
Dalung stated that after meeting with the communities, he was escorted by the Niger Delta ambassadors to the leadership of Avengers who gave him a hand-written letter specifying their demands which he said he was yet to present to the President.
Although the Minister said he did not unseal the letter, he said the Avengers had raised three important issues to him; “The issues include the Niger-Delta Maritime University, pipeline community policing which they said the government had denied them, and the inability of the government to continue with the amnesty programme established by former President Umaru Musa Yarádua Yar’Adua.”
While speaking on the level of degradation and poverty in the area, he said past administrations had been unjust to the Niger-Delta communities, adding, “After going round some of the communities, I noticed that government projects were almost non-existent. I saw a secondary school signboard somewhere but the school is yet to be developed, the community has a clinic but still at the foundation level and a borehole that is not functional.”