Niger Delta Avengers gives govt conditions for talks

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Fed Govt ready for dialogue, says Kachikwu

Militant groups in row

The Federal Government yesterday said it has not closed the avenues for negotiations with the new Militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), saying it would explore every available opportunity for negotiation so that the NDA can stop the bombings of oil pipelines and platforms.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu, stated this at the South-South Town Hall Meeting held at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Kachikwu said there is no theatre in the world where conflicts have been resolved through a battle. He said his mandate as minister of state for petroleum is to protect oil production and to generate more revenue for the government.

He explained that on the part of the Federal Government, negotiating with the militant group is not an evidence of weakness of the military but that massively bombing a territory would not articulate a solution to the already exiting problems.

“It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. I have too many objectives in this portfolio; one is to present production and generate the revenue because if we don’t, all the things we are talking about here will be just a joke.

“I believe that massively bombing a territory is not going to articulate solution. It has never worked because at the end of the day you will leave with the effects of that destruction. That is probably what has caused most of the problems in the world today.

“This is not issue of weakness. We will explore every avenue for negotiation. The military strength of this country is not in doubt. I think if anybody doubted it, you will see what has happened to Boko Haram.

“But we will first discuss. We will first negotiate but if doesn’t work we will not know what to do. But I have not seen evidence that the avenues for negotiations have closed. We are making a dramatic progress and I will like to push those frontiers.”

Akwa ibom state Governor Udom Emmanuel also advised the Federal Government to dialogue with the avengers to allow for sustainable peace and development in the region.

Emmanuel noted that the country’s economy had been brutalised by the recent violence being experienced in the Niger Delta region.

“Government must do all it can to dialogue with Niger Delta militants as our economy is based on resources accruing from this region.

“Government must look into the underlining issues of the region; we must dialogue with the stakeholders from the region to resolve these problems once and for all.”

Emmanuel also urged the Federal Government to revive the amnesty programme with a view to accommodating more persons.

He said that abandoning the programme will not the best option now for the people.

On the discrepancy in the allocation of oil blocks raised by some indigenes of the Niger Delta, Kachikwu said President Muhammadu Buhari had not allocated any oil blocks since he came on board.

He, however, assured the Niger Delta people that at the appropriate time, due process would be followed in the allocation of oil blocs so that it would be beneficial to the people of South Sooth region.

Kachikwu said: “Since we came on board, this government has not allocated any block of petroleum. The President has not put any emphasis on that at all. He said he needs to correct the mess before we begin to think of giving advantages.

“On the issue of oil blocks, when the time comes it will follow due process. I am one of those who believe that there is a need for us to see how the South South corridors will benefit from the oil blocks because that is part of giving back. It will bring the final solution to this area. Those who have skills and finances to develop will be allowed to develop it.”

Niger Delta Avengers gives govt conditions for talks 

More threats came yesterday from the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the group responsible for the devastating attacks on oil facilities in the region.

It warned that it might resort to shedding blood and more damaging attacks if the Federal Government, oil multinationals and international oil merchants fail to heed its warning against repairing the facilities it destroyed and crude sales.

But the group, in a statement by its spokesman, ‘Brig.-Gen’ Mudoch Agbinibo, gave a tacit indication of its readiness for dialogue, although it said nothing about sending representation or taking part in any dialogue.

In the statement, the insurgent group restated its resolve to attack the interest of any of the multinational oil company which repairs its attacked facilities.

It added that any company which continues to buy Nigerian oil would lose its investment as it would sink two vessels of any defying company.

The NDA said it had no new demands to negotiate with the government; it only wants an atmosphere that would make it to be willing to take part in any talks in which independent mediators will participate. It did not name such negotiators.

Here is the statement (unedited):

“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is using this medium to restate that there are no new items to put on the table for dialogue, we only want a genuine attitude and conducive atmosphere that will make us commit to any proposed dialogue and last peace talk.

“We want the Federal Government to commit members states of the multi national Oil Corporations to commit independent mediators to this proposed dialogue; we believed that it is only such environment that will engender genuine dialogue that will be aimed at setting up a framework for achieving the short, medium and long term demands of the Niger Delta to de-escalating this conflict and bring about a lasting peace.

“The NDA high command is restating our commitment to attack the interest of oil corporation and international refineries operators that bring in vessels to the Niger Delta territory to buy our oil that every successive government have refused to used and reapply the proceeds towards any development in the region since 1958.

“If they refuse to heed to our advice will result to sinking of two their mother vessel as an examples to others. They should not undertake any repair of pipeline, oil and gas facilities that is damaged or attacked by our forces during this period of “Operation Red Economy” until and/or after the dialogue.

“The issues of the Niger delta are as old and as new as the days of Pa. Dappa Biriye, Major Jasper Isaac Adaka Boro, to Ken Saro Wiwa and the government of President Musa Yar’ Adua. We are warning this government of President Muhammadu Buhari not to turn the essence of genuine peace talk and dialogue to political jamboree that is prevailing now where all manner of social media agitators and criminals have being sponsored by the job seeking corrupt political class to safe faces before the government of the day.

“Finally, if need be we may review our earlier stance of not taking lives. We are going to redirect and reactivate all our activities if the government, oil companies and their services firms don’t heed to these modest warnings of not carrying out any repairs works   and suspend the its ying of crude oil from our region as we await the right atmosphere that will engender genuine dialogue “ We Want a peace with Honour not a Peace of our time,” the statement said.