Mr. President stated this at a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), held in Kenya capital, Nairobi.
“We are talking to some of their leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us.
“As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments.
“We realize that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it.”
The President also expressed doubt in the unilateral ceasefire recently announced by the Avengers.
‘‘We do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more. Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues.”
The oil producing Niger Delta region has witnessed resurged activities of militants who have claimed responsibility for the bombing of oil and gas pipelines, which have reduced the nation’s oil output by half and worsened the electricity situation in the country.
A major militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, which has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks in the region, recently indicated its willingness to negotiate with the government.
It requested that an elder statesman from the region, Edwin Clark, be part of the negotiation team that should also include officials of relevant multinational oil companies.