A diplomat and chieftain of the PDP, Dr Orefo Onochie, has told the Federal Government to consider the option of negotiating with the insurgents, currently terrorizing Nigeria, if that would make the bandits to embrace lasting peace.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday, Onochie said that negotiating with the bandits would prove a wiser option in the long run.
According to him, there is nothing wrong in negotiating with bandits if that can end banditry, insurgency and kidnappings in parts of the country.
The former Nigerian envoy to the Philippines and Algeria argued that Nigeria should not continue to be held hostage by terrorists, especially in the north.
He also expressed worry over what he described as the persistent cases of kidnappings and killing of farmers by herdsmen in farming communities in parts of the country.
The PDP stalwart recalled that the Federal Government during the administration of former President Umaru Yar’Adua had negotiated and rehabilitated Niger Delta militants.
Onochie said that some of the militants were later to become engineers and pilots after undergoing trainings abroad.
He stressed that the same gesture could be extended to the bandits to ensure lasting peace in Nigeria, noting that: “cost of rehabilitation will certainly be less than the total cost of fighting for 11 years”.
Onochie, who was also a former Special Adviser to the Delta State Government, expressed his desire to contest the presidency in 2023, to put things right for Nigerians.
“Nigeria is at a cross-roads and unless the right thing is done, the country may have greater problems in the years ahead,” he said.
The multi-lingual Onochie, who is also the Chairman of Nadam Holding Company Ltd., said that he had abiding faith in the unity of the country, in spite of the nation’s current challenges.
He expressed his optimism that Nigeria would overcome its current challenges and become great, pointing out that what was needed was good leadership to take Nigeria to the Promised Land.
The politician also commented on the country’s current electricity challenges, blaming the problem on the neglect of the sector by successive administrations.
He said that what was needed to tackle the situation was for the government to invest in other forms of electricity generation, including solar, wind energy, among others.
Speaking on the current minimum wage increase agitation by the Nigeria Labour Congress, Onochie said that the NLC needed to campaign and work toward ensuring that cost of living in the country was reduced.
According to him, even when minimum wage is increased as being agitated for by the NLC, it will amount to nothing if cost of living remains high.
The politician also advised Nigerians to take advantage of the current vaccination exercise to overcome the ravaging effects of COVID-19.
“Having received the COVID-19 vaccination on March 12, I wish to state the importance of getting vaccinated.
“This singular act of patriotism will ensure that we will in the nearest future, defeat the scourge of the COVID -19 pandemic and return to a normal future.
“Indeed, the vaccine is a source of renewal and strength to all humanity. All Nigerians should avail themselves of it.”