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Niger Delta Avengers deny negotiating with FG

By Chido Okafor
23 July 2016   |   5:05 am
“The President knows our demands, therefore, they should stop deceiving the international oil companies, the general public and the international community.”
Niger Delta Avengers

Niger Delta Avengers

• Government Lied, Says Ijaw Youths
• We Don’t Want To Join Issues With Them

Apparently in reaction to a statement of confirmation of negotiations between it and the federal government through oil companies and security agencies, aimed at ending its attack on oil installations in the area, by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammad Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Thursday, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) yesterday said such dialogue was with “mercenaries.”

Similarly, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday queried the federal government’s position, urging it to stop deceiving Nigerians and the international community about talks with the militants on how to stop attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

The NDA, in a statement by its spokesperson, Brig-Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo, said: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports that the President is in touch with Niger Delta agitators, including the Niger Delta Avengers, but the truth is that we are not aware of any peace talks.

“If there is any such peace talks, it means the President is talking to their mercenaries set to disturb the genuine struggle of the agitators.

“President Buhari-led government is not sincere to Nigerian people and their foreign allies.

“If we are to engage in any peace talks, we made it clear that the international community must be part of it.

“The President knows our demands, therefore, they should stop deceiving the international oil companies, the general public and the international community.”

On its part, the IYC, through its spokesman, Eric Omare, said: “It is highly ridiculous and laughable for President Buhari to say that his government is negotiating with Niger Delta militants through oil companies and law enforcement agencies during the farewell audience with Mr. Michael Zinner, the outgoing Ambassador to Germany on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

“It is even embarrassing for the President of an independent nation such as Nigeria to say that it is oil companies that are negotiating for peace with Niger Delta agitators, which in effect amounts to surrendering the sovereignty of Nigeria to international oil companies.”

The IYC wondered if Nigeria was not back to the pre-colonial and independence Royal Niger Company days, where international companies governed Nigeria.

Omare stressed that the issues at stake are completely beyond the capacity of oil companies to resolve and called on the aides and advisers to the President to properly advise him on how to solve the current hostilities in the Niger Delta region and equally display a determination to resolve the problem as his predecessors did.

Omare argued that only a sincere and holistic dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta region, which is aimed at addressing the remote causes of recurrent militancy, can bring permanent peace to the region and that this can only happen when the President, as the political leader of Nigeria, comes down to the negotiation table.

But a presidential aide, while insisting on an ongoing negotiation with the militants, said government would not join issues with them.

A similar scenario played out under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in its bid to end Boko Haram insurgents attacks in the north when the militants denied negotiating with the federal government, warning that those purportedly in the talks were scammers and not its representatives.