The Nigerian Guild of Editors has expressed worry over the threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to resume attacks on oil facilities in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
Against the backdrop of the dangers of the threat to the security and economic situations in the country, the Guild called on the Avengers to drop the threat and embrace dialogue in resolving their grievances.
The position of the Guild is contained in a communiqué issued in Katsina, Katsina State, after a meeting of its Standing Committee and made available to The Next Edition.
The communiqué is signed by the President of the Guild, Funke Egbemode and the General Secretary, Victoria Ibanga.
Similarly, the Guild warned the Federal Government not to resort to the use of force in resolving the matter on ground, stressing that the use of force had never solved any problem.
The communiqué reads in part: “As stakeholders in the task of nation-building, the Guild is worried by the recent show of military force in the quest to neutralise the threat of the militants.
“This move has done little to calm the tension, instead it has aggravated it. We urge caution and restraint.
“The Guild urges the government to dialogue with all stakeholders, including the aggrieved militants to resolve the problems in the region, insisting that the only path to peace is dialogue.
“The Guild notes that renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta will reduce Nigeria’s daily oil output, which will in turn deny the country the benefits of the current marginal increase in the price of crude. Anything that’s capable of returning Nigeria to economic recession should be avoided.”
The Guild appealed to the traditional rulers in the region to use their offices and goodwill to call the Avengers and any other militant group in the region to order.
According to the Guild, as royal fathers and leaders of thought, they had a leading role to play in the resolution of any breakdown in communication between the Federal Government, oil majors and the militants.
“We cannot afford another bout of force majeure by oil majors on account of insecurity in the region,” the Guild added.
The Guild also drew attention to the increasing crime rate in the country, especially kidnappings and communal clashes.
It called on the government to deploy the relevant security agencies to check the pervasiveness of the crimes.
The Guild said apart from the threat to the nation’s socio-political stability, the crimes also robbed Nigeria of income as potential investors would be scared of coming into the country for investment, while those on ground would be forced to leave.
The Guild also spoke on the 2018 budget.
The statement reads in part: “On the 2018 budget proposal currently before the National Assembly, the Guild is concerned about the size of the recurrent as against the capital expenditures. This trend, which is inimical to any country’s development, has continued for so long. We urge prudence and innovative budgeting in order to achieve a reversal in the nearest future.
“On the state of the media, the Guild is worried that inspite of the country exiting economic recession, the media industry is mired in distress. We recommend that stakeholders should come together to seek the way forward.”