The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has rejected the second phase of Operation Crocodile Smile scheduled to commence Saturday.
IYC described the planned “militarization” of the Niger Delta region as “unwarranted”.
They youths also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call it off in the interest of peace in the South-south.
A statement by IYC spokesman, Daniel Dasimaka, noted that despite Buhari’s promise of dialogue during his Independence Day speech, the military seems bent on breaching the fragile peace in the area.
IYC maintained that deploying soldiers days after promising to embark on consultations, “epitomises the government’s hypocrisy towards the Niger Delta.”
IYC therefore urged the Federal government to heed the advice by the United States and the United Kingdom that military approach to the challenges in the region would never work, rather it will lead to disaster.
“Just as the former British Foreign Secretary and current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, rightly warned last year that “the idea that Buharis’s answer to the problems in the Niger Delta is by moving big chunks of the Nigerian army to the Delta simply doesn’t work’, so also Operation Crocodile Smile won’t be any different,” it said.
IYC noted that if the Federal government means well for the Niger Delta region and the army was really planning on providing ‘free medical care” to host communities, they should remain in their barracks.
The youths advised the Federal government to channel the resources meant for Operation Crocodile Smile to start developing the region by “setting up fabrication plants, agro allied activities and other industrial projects that would engage Niger Delta youths”.