IN spite of the rebuttal of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) that the Federal Government was dialoguing with militants, defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has upheld the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that negotiations were ongoing.
MEND, which made this known on Sunday, through its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, however, added that the Federal Government was not in dialogue with criminals in the Niger Delta region as a way of resolving the renewed hostilities on oil installations.
The militant group said the FG was in negotiation with militants and not criminals from the region through the oil companies and law enforcement agents.
According to MEND, “The Federal Government made it clear during our meetings that a negotiation with criminals is out of the question.
The Niger Delta Avengers, internet-based ‘militant’ groups such as Joint Revolutionary Council, Ultimate Warriors etc… an Ijaw opportunistic tribal assembly, which were compromised to keep silent during the six years of Goodluck Jonathan’s misrule and neglect, pirates, pipeline vandals, oil thieves, commercial kidnappers, waterway robbers, political thugs and miscreants all fall under this category.”
While confirming the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that government was actually in talks with militants in the region, MEND said:
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to confirm that indeed, it has been in preliminary talks with the Federal Government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies as revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, July 21, 2016.
These preliminary talks are the precursor to a wider dialogue between the Federal Government and the MEND Aaron 2 peace initiative, which will seek to find solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region.”
It will be recalled that NDA spokesperson, self-styled Brig Gen Mudoch Agbinibo, has, over the weekend, refuted the claims of President Buhari that the FG was in talks with militants in the region through oil multinationals and security agencies.
The group said the FG was probably in talks with imposters from the region, noting that it demands were well articulated and that it would not hold any negotiation with the government without the presence of the international community.