The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have announce that they wont be part of the proposed dialogue between the Federal Government and stakeholders from the Niger Delta.
In a statement, signed by one Col. Rightman Hudson Opukurowari, the group said it had lost confidence in the process because the Federal Government failed to build a broad based dialogue group. It accused the Federal Government of not only being selective in its choice of persons to dialogue with, but preferring to deal with those who have made a business of dialogue on Niger Delta issues.
“The Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, has chosen to be non-chalant to the dialogue and have decided to invite only their political friends in the likes of Edwin Clark, King Diete Spiff and others for dinner in the name of dialogue on the 29th of October.
“Government is trying to avoid a holistic approach to addressing the real issues and solving them, but rather, have decided to engage these “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 preferred unless government decide to make a U-turn and invite every concerned and genuine group for the purpose of dialogue and peaceful resolutions.”
“We have warned that any attempt for us to resume hostilities will be more brutal than before until we enter the promised land.”
Niger Delta Avengers Reject Personalities In Dialogue
Niger Delta Avengers also said that the dialogue must not involve certain personalities who had always positioned themselves as representing Niger Delta when indeed they do not have a hold on the real actors in the swamps and creeks.
The listed personalities such as the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Matters, Brig-Gen. Paul Boro (rtd), Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Ikachukwu, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and Chief Timipre Sylva, a former Governor of Bayelsa State, as persons they would want excused from the dialogue.
President Muhammadu Buhari had met with Chief Edwin Clark led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PNDF) and some other Niger Delta leaders last week. This was to set the template for an acceptable dialogue with the stakeholders and representatives of militant groups
The NDA said that the militants involved in the struggle do not have confidence in these men. It said most of them have been on the corridors of powers and are beneficiaries of the perennial crisis in the region and would not want it to end soon.
“We expect the Federal Government, with all her inexhaustible wisdom, to make these Niger Delta leaders lead them to these boys in the creeks they are representing. That should be the first prerequisite of their qualification to dialogue on behalf of the boys in the creeks. They don’t represent us.”
“Secondly, they should give government a satisfactory road map for a genuine dialogue representing all oil producing communities in Nigeria that may yield a permanent solution to such repetition of restiveness in the region.”
The group had declared a ceasefire in August following appeals from various quarters that the agitation should be suspended. This is to explore avenues to resolve the issues through dialogue.