A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Chekwas Okorie, Friday agreed that President Muhammadu Buhari, has performed better than his predecessors in the South-East region.
According to him, no government had started and finished any project in the South-East since 1970 but Buhari commissioned the Ariaria Power Project in Aba in 2018 and is constructing the Second Niger Bridge to be commissioned next year, paying attention to Eastern seaports such as Onne, Port Harcourt, Calabar, and Warri among others.
He, however, disagreed with the president on the claim that hoarding of foodstuffs by middlemen was responsible for rising costs of foodstuffs in the country
Okorie also advocated dialogue to resolve secession agitations lamenting that no form of dialogue had been deployed since the first arrest, in 2017, of IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
His words: “I don’t think it is correct to say that the rising cost of foodstuffs is as a result of hoarding. Most food consumed by Nigerians are perishable and cannot be stored for too long. Who will hoard yams, onions and tomatoes?
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“Emphasis should be on herders who are the cause of the major setback in food production. Benue is regarded as the food basket of the nation but farmers cannot produce due to violence. There are other states also suffering the herdsmen menace, a reason some of the states have enacted anti-open grazing laws. Violence is the main reason for high cost of foodstuffs.”
On the battle against secessionists, Okorie said: ” I suggest we emphasis dialogue on the issue of those agitating for secession. I have been suggesting dialogue for a long time right from the time Nnamdi Kanu was first arrested in 2017. Bring in those who can talk to them and dialogue. Arresting, taking them to court and sending them to prison will only escalate the problem.
“Dialogue was used to bring the militancy to a manageable level for oil production to resume in the Niger Delta. In Kanu’s case, no attempt has been made for dialogue and the problem is escalating. In the past there were road blocks every two kilometres in the South-East. Now, the whole place is deserted. Nigerian soldiers are overstretched. They are not ready to confront the suicidal attackers. All the roadblocks are free and we are at the mercy of the gunmen, who are now targeting politicians. I volunteer myself to be part of the dialogue to restore peace.”
Vanguard News Nigeria