The Niger Delta Monarchs has issued grave demands from the Federal Government which must be granted before they can negotiate with militants who have been blowing up pipelines.
This was disclosed by government officials who said that following government efforts to liaise with militants who are fractured in many small groups with no unified command or demands, through the region’s traditional rulers, the group have demanded for the following:
- Return of a golden sword taken from Gbaramatu kingdom by Nigerian troops,
- The opening of maritime university,
- Release of 10 youths arrested during a raid on Oporoza community
- And cessation of hostilities by the military
According to them, peace and confidence of the people would return if these demands are met by the federal government. In a statement presented by Wellington Okirika, Bolowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom who spoke on behalf of the Niger Delta Monarchs, said;
“Having acceded to the call for a ceasefire by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on August 4, 2016, the buck has now been passed to the table of the Federal Government as driven by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources – a representative of the Federal Government.
“For the purposes of building confidence in the system, we wish to state here that as a matter of urgency the Federal Government should appoint/constitute a Federal Government dialogue team, release the 10 innocent school children arrested by the Nigerian Army on the 28th of May, 2016, in Oporoza and others in detention on trumped-up charges.
“Return the Golden Sword, being the symbol of authority in the Gbaramatu traditional institution; return the three traditional council speed boats in custody of the Nigerian Army; cessation of hostilities perpetrated by the military in the Niger Delta region; and equally important, the Federal Government should make a categorical statement about the opening of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko Delta State for academic activities in the 2016/2017 session.”
In respond, the Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu ask the Niger Delta Monarchs to continue to reach out to the splinter group, stating that government is worried that over $40 billion invested in the area is yet to yield the desired result.