President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the military to suspend operations in the Niger Delta for 2-week ceasefire to give room for dialogue with the militants.
This order has become expedient as more oil companies in the Niger Delta have reviewed their operations, following repeated bombing of their facilities in Delta and Bayelsa states.
According to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this in Abuja yesterday, the Federal Government is determined to explore the dialogue option, with a view to restoring genuine peace in the region, where oil production has been significantly hurt by activities of the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, in the last two months. He said:
“The President is interested in dialogue and has mandated the military to halt actions for about two weeks to ensure a team that will be led by the NSA, dialogues with the militants to ensure peace in the region
“The avenue is open for them, provided the militants are willing to embrace dialogue and allow truth to reign because we are going to involve key leaders from the region who have had previous experience in that area to play whatever role they can.”
Kachikwu expressed hope that the dialogue would yield positive results and get Nigeria back to maximum production as the country was currently producing about 1.6mbpd, about 600,000 barrels, short of the 2.2mbpd production target of the 2016 budget.
Meanwhile, a new militant group by name of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), had on Monday vowed to attack strategic locations across Nigeria.
The group which threatened to hit all infrastructures built with monies gotten from the Niger Delta region, made a list of targeted areas which includes: the Presidential Villa, Defense Headquarters, DSS Headquarters, Police Headquarters, National Assembly, NNPC Towers, Central Bank of Nigeria, Supreme Court/Appeal Court, Etc.
“We will make (the) federal government and oil companies suffer as they have made the people of the Niger Delta region suffer over the years from environmental degradation and environmental pollution,” the JNDLF’s “Joint Revolutionary Council” said.