The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers seems to be divided over whether or not to engage in a dialogue with the Federal Government with regards to the unrest in the region.
Whereas Mr. Ballantyne Agiri, a self-acclaimed spokesperson for the Avengers, said in a statement on Wednesday, 17th August, that the Avengers was ready to go into dialogue with the Federal Government for a likely ceasefire in the region, the spokesman for the Avengers, Mudoch Agbinibo, in a counter-statement, denied the claim.
In a statement by Ballantyne Agiri on Wednesday, he stated that it (NDA) had constituted a contact and dialogue group to engage the Federal Government in meaningful dialogue as part of the initiatives to resolve the crisis, adding that the group had firmly resolved to come out with positive results that would give rise to a lasting peace, equity, justice and harmony among all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
Mr. Ballantyne Agiri called on Nigerians and the international community to follow developments on the issue religiously and see which party would breach the terms, rules and spirit of the dialogue. He noted that the names of members of the group for now would not be made public for personal reasons, until they begin functioning in few days ahead.
“The body has collectively and willingly agreed to heed the clarion call of eminent Nigerians and international community to hold dialogue with the Federal Government.
“The Federal Government should from the inception of the dialogue rule out from the agenda any monthly monetary inducement or stipend for the NDA.
“The Federal Government should be ready for structural changes that should be human and development-oriented.
“Members of the Avengers’ group (who will participate in the dialogue) have already been selected, each based on his integrity, forthrightness, honesty and life track records.”
However, on the contrary, the original spokesman for the NDA, Agbinibo, dismissed the idea, saying there was no grain of truth in Agiri’s claim. The group through Agbinibo made it clear that:
“We are not going into any peace or dialogue talk. That report is not from us. We are not in any form of dialogue agreement with anybody. It’s like the government wants to dialogue with themselves.”
The NDA further denied knowing Agiri, saying, “Who is Mr. Ballantyne Agiri, the claimed dialogue group spokesman? We don’t know you. And please, stop fooling the general public. We are not ready for any negotiation or dialogue with the Federal Government”.