National President of the group, Mr. Arthur Boje, who gave the admonition in an interview yesterday, advised President Buhari to channel his energy on how to address the infrastructure deficit in the Niger Delta.
He argued that the agitators will have no reason to be rebellious if the basic infrastructures were made available, adding that the ongoing anti-corruption crusade in the country would help cleanse the ‘dented’ image of the country in the developed world.
According to Boje, the bulk of those agitating in the region were mainly doing that for their selfish reasons, not for the benefits of the communities.
He said, “The Niger Delta Avengers believe that they have some form of control over oil pipelines that passes through their communities- that is why they are fighting.
“At the end of the day they are actually looking for amnesty and compensations, they are not really fighting for the interest of the communities but their pockets.
“If the government now grants amnesty, some other groups will emerge. But the government could use a double-edged sword to address the issue of militancy by dealing with the infrastructure devastation in the region.
“Look at Warri in Delta State for instance, it is still impoverished. If there is proper infrastructure development, the government can come out boldly to question the agitations. If these issues are addressed it may stem down insurgency in the region.
“Again, when there are really no reasons for agitations the people themselves will boldly uncover those behind the pipeline destructions. These militants are not faceless, the people know them.”
He commended the recent meeting between President Buhari and selected leaders from the Niger Delta region, describing it as a step in the right direction.
He said, “The meeting with the President is a way forward. I believe that some of the demands by the leaders from the region might be good,” he said.
Commenting on the fight against corruption by the Buhari-led government, he said it would help cleanse the already battered image of the country.
Said he, “The image of Nigerians abroad has been negatively affected. Our leaders have not helped matters by stealing huge sums from Nigeria to these countries. There is this general belief outside that all Nigerians are corrupt. It is for this reason that President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasized corruption as a major area to tackle.”