In its bid to stem protests against the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Niger Delta Ex-agitators for Peace Organisation, an international umbrella body of ex-agitators, has warned “conflict entrepreneurs” in the region to stop instigating the youth against constituted authorities or face the wrath of the people.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, (May 7, 2019) Country Representative of the organization, Comrade (Amb) George Adioni Sinclair cautioned that “on no account should any politician instigate violence in the Niger Delta region by using Ex-agitators as a means to achieve their business/political relevance, informing that “we are aware that even some registered vendors with Presidential Amnesty Programme have eventually turned out to become conflict entrepreneurs who are bent on instigating crisis in the Niger Delta to draw attention for selfish reasons.
He said, “these conflict entrepreneurs operate both as economic and political actors, in that they foment and fuel violence as a pathway for attaining economic and political power”, lamenting that such vendors in the Presidential Amnesty Programme go behind to incite beneficiaries in the programme with an intention of cajoling the Amnesty Coordinator to award juicy contracts to them at the expense of the programme.
“Some of them lobby for positions of economic and political power after the cessation of hostilities they instigated earlier. Recent developments in the Amnesty office, is a case in point”, he said.
According to Comrade Sinclair, the earlier the Amnesty office identifies such conflict entrepreneurs who parade themselves as contractors and friends of the Special Adviser/Coordinator of the programme, the better.
The Country Representative who regretted recent audio messages credited to a pastor, also doubling as a vendor in the Amnesty office, which were sponsored and widely circulated on social media, noted that such antics displayed by a vendor/clergy with a reputed church, was a good instance of how classical conflict entrepreneurs operate.
He further reiterated that conflict entrepreneurs were not necessarily heroes struggling for any collective or worthwhile cause, rather they are often fighting for their pockets, revealing that many such persons usually would pretend to be public-spirited individuals, fighting against some form of injustice, unfairness, marginalisation or exclusion, but in the real sense, they are simply people who feel that they will not do well without instigating one form of crisis or the other to have undue attention from the relevant authorities, in this case, favour from the Special Adviser to the President on Niger/Coordinator of the programme.
“A conflict entrepreneur is an individual, who profits from conditions that promote conflict to undermine efforts of good governance. Conflict entrepreneurs generate one grievance or another; conjure by massaging one form of prejudice, propaganda or blackmail. Such promoters and profiteers of conflict are often referred to as conflict entrepreneurs”, Comrade Sinclair maintained.
“Our forum will no longer fold its hands and watch unguided youth who are not beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme infiltrate the rank and file to hijack our programme by causing problems in the streets, making inflammatory statements both in the conventional and social media.
“We therefore call on Chiefs, community leaders, fathers and mothers to talk to their wards not to allow selfish politicians and conflict entrepreneurs who are bent on causing problem in the region to use them.
“We are hereby calling on authentic ex-agitators to sheath their sword and make use of appropriate channels of communication in addressing their grievances, as unknown and sponsored persons are in a bid to truncate the already existing peace we are enjoying in the Niger Delta region.
The Country Representative commended the peace building efforts of Prof. Charles Dokubo, just as the organization advised him to make spirited efforts to reach out the leaders in the Amnesty programme, with a view to updating them of current developments in the programme.