As part of efforts to stop militant activities in the Niger Delta and attacks on oil installations, Pres. Buhari will on Tuesday November 1st visit the region where he is scheduled to meet with stakeholders and leaders from the region. His visit is prelude to the launch of a $10 billion infrastructure rebirth investment programme for the region.
The President had in June canceled a similar visit to the Region following threats of assassination by the Militants.
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who revealed President Buhari’s scheduled visit to the region, saidbuhari-militants
“On Tuesday, President Buhari in his Kind nature will have a meeting with the Niger Delta stakeholders. About 50 of them are going to be coming to that meeting. and it comprises all the kings drawn from all the oil producing states”he said
Meanwhile, Militant group, Niger Delta Avengers says it will resume bombing of oil facilities if government made any further mistake to enter into negotiation with selfish leaders in the region.
The Avengers in a statement warned that any attempt by the government to engage in any form of dialogue with Niger Delta leaders who had allegedly hijacked the commonwealth of the people for their selfish interest, would be resisted.
This came as Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) endorsed the October 31 meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, aimed at finding solutions to the current Niger Delta crisis.
According to the group’s spokesman Col. Rightman Hudson Opukurowari, he said: “Since we had agreed to suspend bombing oil facilities and enter into genuine dialogue with the government, the administration has not shown any seriousness in talking to the right set of people to move the peace process forward. Two months after the ceasefire, it has become clear to the world that this government has not been sincere and serious in meeting the simple demands of the people to put in place a concrete plan of transforming the landscape and giving us any sense of hope despite our critical contribution to the commonwealth of the nation.
“From the way the government is going after we had suspended bombings, it is clear to the world that the Federal Government is not ready to make peace with us as earlier promised and we are under pressure to resume our attacks. It is obvious that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has rather chosen to be nonchalant to the dialogue and has deliberately decided to invite only their political friends for a dinner in the name of dialogue, by their own selective measures, thereby ignoring the chance for real peace and dialogue with the appropriate persons and groups.
“The Government is trying to avoid a holistic approach to addressing the real issues affecting us and finding solutions to them but merely taking time off to engage those we see as “Niger Delta Vultures” sitting in Abuja with their sponsors, taking credit for our genuine agitations. We have watched and observed that with the body language of the President and the composition of the so-called dialogue group, no meaningful solution will be proffered unless the government invites all concerned and genuine individuals and groups for the purpose of finding a lasting solution to the crisis in the region.
“We hereby warn that any action taken by the government to provoke us to resume hostilities would be more brutal than before until we enter the promised land. “We are concerned because these same persons invited for the scheduled dialogue have become Federal Government dialogue contractors and they do not represent the interest of the generality of the people.”
Supporting dialogue between government and militants, MEND, in a statement by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, said: “The forthcoming meeting vindicates MEND and Federal Government’s continued insistence and belief, ab initio, that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari meant well for the sustainable peace and development of the hitherto neglected Niger Delta region.
MEND reiterates that we were the first and only militant group in the Niger Delta region who were meaningfully and constructively engaged in talks with the Federal Government with a view to resolving the Niger Delta crisis.
The group, among others, said: “We urge members of the Chief Edwin Clark-led PANDEF to put aside personal interests and ambitions of primitive aggrandizement. Rather, we implore them to realize that the Niger Delta region is at a zebra crossing and, therefore, they must remain steadfast and focused on their core mandate, to wit: restoration of sustainable and permanent peace and development of the region.”
However, the UCC in a statement, said: “We, the Urhobo people, reject completely the list of the Central Working Committee (CWC) Chief E.K Clark forwarded to the presidency as representatives of South-South ethnic nationalities. The list forwarded to the Nigeria President does not represent the true population of the ethnic nationalities in the South-South, and furthermore, the membership of the committee did not take into consideration the economic contribution of the various ethnic nationalities to common national purse.”
Recall that NDA had attacked President Muhammadu Buhari over his leadership style. The group said President Buhari is playing tribal politics.