Saturday, 3 September 2016

Niger Delta Avengers declare readiness for dialogue

– Niger Delta Avengers are ready to dialogue with the federal government

– Stakeholders of the amnesty programme held a closed door meeting with the presidential amnesty office, Abuja

– Dialogue between the federal government and the militants would begin once a team is set up

The Niger Delta Avengers have reiterated their readiness to lay their arms and engage in a meaningful dialogue with the federal government for peace to reign in the oil-rich region.

The militants asked the government show its commitment towards the proposed dialogue by withdrawing the military from carrying out further actions within the region, Vanguard reports.

This was disclosed on Friday, September 2, by Elder Timi Ogoriba, one of the stakeholders of the amnesty programme and leader from the region, after an indoor stakeholders meeting held in the presidential amnesty office, Abuja.

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File photo of militants operating in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria
READ ALSO: Amnesty programme – Boroh reveals FG’s plans

The meeting was said to have been necessitated by the recent happenings in the Niger Delta region which had impacted negatively on the economy.

He said: “I see an end to the militancy in the Niger Delta, definitely, there is nothing that starts that does not end. Right now, there is a ceasefire because of the interfacing by some of us with the people that are involved.

“Government on its part has to show commitment by trying to put up a dialogue team, doing some of the things the young men had asked for, which I know they are very much aware of.”

Ogoriba said the timing of the military action in the region is not proper, saying if the military is still there at a time the Avengers have announced a ceasefire, it may appear provocative.

He said if the military action in the region is a routine thing, they should not carry out actions that might provoke others which could bring about a combat.

READ ALSO: Cessation of hostilities: Has peace finally returned to the Niger Delta?

Ogoriba said dialogue will commence once the government puts up a team for the dialogue.

“The moment the government put up a team, within the next one or two days, the other side will also put up theirs, which we are trying to take care of. Dialoguing is a process. So long as it begins, and we are sincere in our approach, everybody will lay down his arm,” he said.

According to him, some of the demands of the Niger Delta agitators will be addressed within the confine of dialogue and at the end of the day they would reach an agreement.

For several months, militants have been attacking oil facilities in the Niger Delta region, vowing not stop till they cripple the economy.

However, after months of attack, they announced a ceasefire on August 21, pledging to lay down their weapons and resume talks with the Nigerian government.

The coordinator of the presidential amnesty programme Paul Boroh, earlier disclosed that the federal government of Nigeria said it is set to integrate all Niger Delta ex-militants into agriculture.

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