Therefore, the Government must not remain ambiguous about the immense dangers that the MRC group portends.
Although the Government has outlawed the group and stated through the Ministry for Internal Security and the Office of the Prime Minister that they cannot negotiate with the MRC, it must reaffirm its position about the MRC with clarity and confidence.
The recent turnaround by the Prime Minister and one of his deputies that the Government will negotiate with the MRC, though MRC have rejected, creates ambivalence that jeopardises national security. This equally emboldens MRC and creates a false perception that all the youths within the Coastal region belong to the MRC while this is not the case.
Despite a coherent clarification as to whether Government will negotiate with MRC, Government must also make deliberate initiatives to understand the issues raised by this group and where feasible, progressively address their demands if legitimate.
This can only be achieved if the Government involves all the coastal leaders that include the community leaders, religious leaders, provincial administrators and political class in getting grassroots solutions to problems affecting the coastal people and not the MRC alone. However, the Government must not have a half-hearted approach to this problem but rather a fully-fledged approach.
Meanwhile, the Government should exercise fidelity to the constitution and laws of the land and should not allow the MRC officials or their members to cause security problems or intimidate people at the coast.
Any MRC member who violates the law should be dealt with according to the law.
Equally, any politician who is supporting MRC, a banned group, must also face the law as supporting such groups is illegal. Currently, the Government seems afraid to exercise its authority and powers and this will only give courage to the MRC.
In the long run, MRC will explode and become a terrorist gang just like how the Boko Haram of Nigeria have become after making demands of separation of North from the South.
The writer is a lawyer