The federal government and Niger Delta militant groups, including the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), have consented to a 30-day truce. According to reports by This Day, this is to allow President Muhammadu Buhari time to come up with an all-inclusive plan for moving the oil-rich region forward.
The 30-day truce was agreed upon last week by a federal government team led by Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and representatives of the militant groups, community leaders and the state governments.
This feat was achieved as a result of the visit last week embarked upon by the federal government team to different camps in Bayelsa and Delta States, including the temporary site of the Maritime University at Okerenkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
A source who opened up on the 30-day period of truce disclosed that Kachikwu was said to have reached out to the militants through back channels and begged for some time for the Buhari-led government to come up with a comprehensive Niger Delta plan that would address most of their demands.
According to the source, the militant groups agreed to Kachikwu’s plea. He said:
“You would have noticed that there have been no bombings of oil assets in recent days. This is the fall out of the 30 days of quiet reached with the minister and his team.
“This will give the president time to come up with a comprehensive plan for the Niger Delta”.
The source also revealed that some of the insistent and peremptory request made by the militants were for greater control of the hydrocarbon resources in their communities, improved funding for the Amnesty Programme, clean-up of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta that had been devastated by oil exploration activities, and funding for the Maritime University, among others.
In addition, he said that the problem with regards to the Maritime University originated from the fact that there was no provision for funding the institution in the 2016 budget by the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, whose ministry superintends the university.
Sequel to the 30-day truce temporarily ending the attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, the federal government had ordered the military to withdraw its troops, fighter jets and battleships that had been deployed in the region to flush out the militants.
Although there were reports of the meeting between Kachikwu and the militants last week, the Niger Delta Avengers however, denied meeting with the Minister, saying that whoever met with the federal government delegation was not their representative.