Former President Goodluck Jonathan has charged the Niger Delta people to embrace peace if they must realise their desired development.
Mr. Jonathan made this remarks when he visited Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, where Governor Ifeanyi Okowa presented staff of office to the 26th Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba.
The ex-president stressed on the need to sustain peace in the communities to attract satisfactory development support from the Federal Government and other stakeholders.
He said: “We are happy today, and our friends from outside will feel better, because people do not believe you can come here (Gbaramatu) and have a peaceful gathering.
“I continue to stress, like the governor, that there cannot be development without peace. There are challenges in the country, but the nation will get over it.
“Other nations have had similar experiences but with commitment from all concerned, we surely will surmount these challenges and become great with peace as indispensable.”
Also speaking, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who was reacting to challenges and pains expressed by the people, said the only way to resolving all issues expressed was through peace.
“There are issues, no doubt. There have been setbacks. You have reasons to agitate, feel bad, but it is time to heal the wounds. It is time to accept the fact that it is only under a peaceful atmosphere of justice and reconciliation that we can rebuild and plan a good future even for the generations to come.
“As a state, we are happy that people can present themselves in this peaceful manner as we have met here.
“We need resources to work. We can only get resources where there is peace. We look forward to work if we get peace. We must know when to stop violent agitation and embrace non-violent approach.”
On the recent military invasion of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, the governor said: “Commitments are being kept to ensure a stop to such experiences. I sincerely hope such do not happen to the communities again and that also comes with a commitment for sustained mutual peace.”
The Gbaramatu Kingdom have been reportedly invaded several times by the Nigerian Army, harassing and oppressing the residents as they intensify search for members of militant group, Niger Delta Avengers and former militant leader, Government Ekpemopolo.
Also present on the occasion were several traditional rulers from far and near, including King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff of Twon-Brass, Bayelsa State, federal and state lawmakers, a team from Chevron Nigerian Limited and representatives of the U.S. Consulate.