A Niger Delta activist, Comrade Paul Bebenimibo, has claimed that any meeting of Niger Delta leaders with President Muhammadu Buhari without one of the former militant leaders, Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, will not be successful.
According to Bebenimibo, those parading themselves as Niger Delta leaders were not in touch with the people.
The activist in a statement issued in Benin City on Monday, urged the Federal Government to make effort to identify the true stakeholders in the Niger Delta to achieve peace in the region.
He stated that the commencement of the Maritime University at Okerenkoko and the private sector driven $16 billion EPZ project, would guarantee a conducive atmosphere for dialogue.
According to him, “We are happy that our leaders are talking with the Federal Government but the truth is that from the information from the grass root, the Federal government should also identify true stakeholders like High Chief Government Ekpemupolo.
“Government should identify such people to work with because he understands the terrain, he has the capacity to check militancy and above all, his humanitarian gesture has brought him closer to the people.
“And when he speaks, the youths listen, so they need him. Majority of us are expressing this view because some of the leaders the Federal government is speaking with are not in touch with our people, as a result they cannot change anything. And if they go on with such people, nothing will be achieved; I can tell you.
“For us to guarantee immediate peace and commence talks for the development of the Niger delta, the Federal government should kick off the Maritime university at Okerenkoko.
“Secondly, the private sector driven sixteen billion dollars EPZ project should start immediately to provide employment and business opportunities for our people.
“These are the two projects that will guarantee immediate peace in the Niger Delta and conducive atmosphere in the region for government to implement other programmes and to also have hitch free crude oil business”, he stated.
Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed December 12, to rule on an application filed by Tompolo, requesting it to refer his case against the federal government to the Court of Appeal for its opinion on certain questions of the law.