Tony Momoh, a former minister of information and culture, has said that the solution to the Niger Delta crisis is not military action but justice.
According to the elder statesman, the people of the Niger Delta have a reason to be aggrieved.
In a recent interview with Vanguard, Momoh said that dialogue is the next step that the government should take to resolve the crisis which is decaded old. He suggests dialogue with as many groups exist in the troubled region.
“The fact is, if there are one hundred groups, there should be one hundred dialogues. You cannot say because there are many groups, therefore, war will resolve the situation. War has never resolved any situation,” Momoh said.
“People who say ‘If you want peace prepare for war’ are misrepresenting life. If you prepare for war you have war. If you want peace, prepare for peace through dialogue, communication.
“There is no substitute to communication. War can only draw attention when you have parity in the power to inflict, the power to ensure your presence.
“Then people are weakened or you recognize yourself. You can now sit down and talk and, at the end of the day, dialogue,” he said.
When asked if the All Progressive Congress Party, APC, has led Nigeria forward during the past one year, the journalist and politician said the party, to which he is a member, has been successful in moving Nigeria forward, using President Buhari as an instrument.
Explaining his point, Tony Momoh said; “You see, when things go on well they take you for granted. For the first time, there are no fuel queues. And when there is power, nobody will say there is no power.
“When the roads are done, nobody will say there are no roads. When there is no water and boreholes are drilled, you can’t say you have no water.
“So, infrastructure, satisfies the aspect of governance that addresses stabilization of the system because, first of all, you secure the system, you stabilise the system through infrastructure satisfies development, then prosperity will emerge.
“The only language that the hunger understands is food. You can’t be talking to the people to be patient about hunger.
“The fact is someone is hungry, you put food on his table and he fires on because that is the language that hunger understands. And that food you must grow. If you have not grown food for years, it is rather late than never. You must grow food,” Chief Momoh said.
Asked if Nigerians are right for not showing understanding with their heavy criticisms of the government, Momoh agrees that Nigerians are not incorrect to be hungry and to demand food. However, he urges Nigerians to be steadfast;
“I am not saying people should be insensitive but the fact is, when you have hope in yourself and you know where the road is, be steadfast. At the end of the day, the people will be crying and asking you to do something that would undermine your journey to a particular destination, until you reach that destination, don’t give up.”
He also affirmed that President Buhari’s administration has been successful in restoring security, particularly, in the fight against militant group, Boko Haram;
“For instance, look at the problems of the nation, there used to be Boko Haram everywhere and, if you went to anywhere, you saw Army barricades. But now, there is more sense of security from Boko Haram insurgency that we had before. There was a time that Boko Haram was in charge of 14 local governments. They even hoisted their flag on Nigerian soil which had never happened since 1914. Now, there are no such cases.”