Niger Delta Avengers Gives Conditions For Dialogue With FG

Buhari-MilitantsAfter weeks of bombing of major oil and gas installations, the Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group seeking self-rule for people of the Niger Delta, has declared readiness to engage the federal government in dialogue.
It, however, gave stringent conditions for any talks with the Nigerian government.
The decision to come to the dialogue table by the Avengers should come as good news to Nigerians, oil companies operating in the Niger Delta and the federal government because the brunt of the activities of the militant group was felt by all; Nigerians were forced to embrace prolonged periods of darkness as a result of the destruction of pipelines conveying gas to power stations, oil companies lost hundreds of thousands of dollars daily as a result of destruction of oil wells and other oil installations, cost of repairs which will gulp huge amount of funds and the federal government saw its crude oil production drop from about 2.2 million barrels a day to about 1.6 million, threatening its major source of revenue.
The international community too was at the receiving end of the bombing campaign of the Avengers as cut in oil production from Nigeria saw the price of crude oil rise albeit slightly, in the international market.
It is also the first time the group has shown any interest in dialogue with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, which last week, ordered a suspension of military operations in the Niger Delta for two weeks to allow a window of opportunity for peace talks.
In a statement signed by the its spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, the Avengers said it was ready to negotiate with the government if there are good grounds for such deliberation.
However, the group said it was yet to see any signs that the government had made new concessions.
“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”, Mr. Agbinibo wrote in a statement posted on the Avengers’ Web site Monday afternoon.
“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”.
In the meantime, the Avengers said it would continue its asymmetrical attacks on oil facilities on all Niger Delta states.
“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 be 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”, it warned.
The Avengers further stated that it was aware of a campaign to discredit its activities on social media, warning the government and others involved to be wary of dubious politicians.
“We are using medium to warn and condemn the activities of all brands of social media agitators being peddled around by some politicians to promote their criminal ways in affairs of the Niger Delta. This genuine spirit behind our struggle for the Niger Delta cannot be derailed on the basis of connivance by politician, traditional rulers, settled ex- agitators and criminals moving around to fill their pockets”.
In a twist of events, however, the group, which hitherto said its long-standing campaign of destruction of oil and gas installations will not involve shedding innocent blood, indicated that it may review its position if the government and oil companies across the region do not desist from carrying out further repairs of vandalised oil installations.
“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 buying 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”.