Niger Delta militants not ready for dialogue – Presidency

The Presidency has said that despite the Federal Government’s effort at pursuing dialogue with the Niger Delta stakeholders, militant groups have not reciprocated the government’s gesture towards finding peaceful solution to the crisis in the oil-producing areas of Nigeria.

A statement issued on Wednesday quoted the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, as making the observation in an interview he granted to a Kano-based radio station, Express Radio.

The statement read in part, “Despite the government’s demonstration of goodwill by bringing stakeholders to the roundtable, militant groups have continued to blow up national economic assets.”

Shehu said the continued destruction of oil installations had frustrated peace talks.

Shehu appealed to Niger Delta leaders to facilitate the stoppage of violence and economic sabotage in the area.

“We must keep national interest above all else and give priority to eschewing violence and destruction,” he said.

Shehu also said the Federal Government was facilitating development by speeding up ongoing projects and investing in construction and repair of highways, railways and electricity plants.

According to the presidential spokesman, a number of projects that existed only on paper are being executed.

“Kano-Katsina dual highway was awarded three years ago by the last administration. They didn’t pay a kobo for its start-up. President Buhari just paid money for the first tranche of 75 kilometres and work has begun,” he added.

Shehu underscored the essence of infrastructure in the country’s economic and industrial take-off, describing it as playing the same role that the arteries play in the human body.

“Without infrastructure, the country will not witness growth,” he noted.

…FG rebuffs our moves for peace –Bakassi militants

A leader of the Bakassi Strike Force, Benjamin Ene, on Wednesday indicated that moves by his group to end hostilities in the Bakassi area of the Niger Delta had been snubbed by the Federal Government.

The group restated its readiness to lay down its arms and work with the Federal Government to ensure that the problems faced by the Bakassi people were addressed.

Ene, also known as G1, had on November 8 returned a General Purpose Machine Gun and AK 47 rifles to the officials of the Department of State Services.

He also said that his group had turned down offers by foreign and local organisations to destabilise Nigeria.

In a statement made available to journalists through his counsel, Mr. Ozinko Ozinko, the militant leader, who is currently on the wanted list of Nigerian Army, said the group had over the years been sidelined in the Federal Government Amnesty Programme.

He said, “As a mark of good faith and demonstration of seriousness, on November 8 by 16.30 hours, we returned weapons our fighters seized during our last confrontation.

“We call on the whole world and the United Nations to note this declaration of ceasefire and the return of weapons while we remain vigilant and wait for the response of the Nigerian government.

“For now, we shall maintain our independence and refuse to take up offers we have been receiving to team up with other international groups and local freedom fighters for more effective confrontation and destabilisation of Nigeria.”

Ene said the group, which consists of over 1, 000 foot soldiers, would name its representative when the Federal Government showed seriousness and readiness to end the war in Bakassi.

Soyinka Urges Buhari To Dialogue With Militants

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to hearken to the agitations of Niger Delta militant groups, who have had to resort to insurgency and bombing of oil pipeline in recent months.
Soyinka made the call while addressing journalists at the launch of Study Abroad in Lebanon (SAIL) initiative in Lagos on yesterday.

The elder statesman, who said he was recently contacted to play an interventionist role in the crisis rocking the oil-producing region, appealed to Buhari to show more commitment that would bring about lasting solution.
“I wish to make an appeal to government to respond to the outrage of the militant groups. That was a request being made by some of the groups, who got me into this interventionist role in the first place. At the moment, they feel the government of President Buhari is not seriously responding to their outrage. And I wish to personally appeal to the government to positively respond and lets us see where it ends us,” Soyinka said.
The Nobel Laureate was however quick to debunk the insinuation that he was actually working with some international organizations to get the crisis resolved, insisting that so far, he has been acting in his capacity as an individual interventionist.

Credit: dailytrust

3 Militant Groups Accept To Dialogue With Buhari

Three militant groups in the Niger Delta region, Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Red Water Lions and Egbesu Mightier Fraternity have capitulated on their earlier decision not to allow the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group, NDDCG, to represent them in the ongoing dialogue with the Federal Government.

A former military governor of old Rivers State, His Royal Majesty Alfred Diette-Spiff is the leader of NDDCG, which is a member of the Aaron Team 2 put in place by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, to dialogue with government. Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, the foremost militant group in the region, had earlier rejected MEND and its Aaron Team 2 initiative, but President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed, last week, that the federal government was discussing with militants through security agencies and multinational oil companies. MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, confirmed the talks, but said groups like Avengers and other internet-based militants were not part of it.

The leadership of Reformed Egbesu Boys of Niger Delta in an electronic mail on behalf of other affiliate groups, said: “A fortnight ago, we responded to this subject matter wherein we stated emphatically that the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group had no mandate to negotiate on our behalf in respect of the renewed hostilities against oil and gas facilities.” “We wish to state that the leadership of the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, including the Egbesu Red Water Lions and the Egbesu Mightier Fraternity have been duly consulted and our mandate secured for the negotiation by the Diette- Spiff- led committee,” it said.

Credit: Vanguard

We Will Attack Avengers If Dialogue Fails– Army

The Nigerian Army has said it would attack the Niger Delta Avengers if government’s effort to dialogue with the group and other militant groups fails.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai declared this yesterday at the inauguration of newly built ultra-modern 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army headquarters complex and an Olympic-size swimming pool in Port Harcourt.
Buratai urged militant groups in the Niger Delta region to explore democratic means to make their needs known rather than resorting to violence.
“Government is still committed to dialogue, and whereby this cannot go on, then, we could resort to other means.
“The non-kinetic (force) means has always been the first before government can resort to the kinetic means.
“So, there is need for the Niger Delta Avengers to see reason and dialogue with government,” he said.
Buratai, who was represented by Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu, said the military would provide security for July 30 legislative rerun election, if need be.
He said the Army was faced with shortage of accommodation, offices and other infrastructure needed for optimal performance by troops.
The Chief of Army Staff informed current intervention effort in renovating dilapidated structures and building new ones, despite challenges of dwindling national resources.

Credit: Sun

NNPC Commences Dialogue With PENGASSAN

The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC on Friday opened discussion with the leadership of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).

The move is to stop the union members from going ahead with their proposed industrial ac­tion.

Group General Manager, Public Affairs Di­vision, NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, said in a statement in Abuja Friday that the Corpo­ration has commenced talks with the leader­ship of the Union to address their grievances.

Mohammed further said, NNPC has assured that it is doing everything possible to guaran­tee that the prevailing sanity in the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country, which was achieved with the recent downstream liberation policy is sustained.

He however, cautioned members of the pub­lic from embarking on any form of panic buy­ing of petroleum products in anticipation of product scarcity due to the strike by members of the union.

He said the corporation has in stock enough products to satisfy local consumption for the next 45 days noting that there is no need for motorists and other users of petroleum prod­ucts to embark on frenzied wholesale purchase in anticipation of scarcity.

Credit: Sun

PDP Crisis: Makarfi Urges Sheriff To Embrace Dialogue

The national caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised a factional chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff, to tow the path of dialogue over Edo governorship election.

The chairman of the committee, Ahmed Makarfi, gave the advice on Monday in Abuja when he received the report of the PDP Edo governorship primaries.

“Once again, I call upon the former chairman of PDP, my colleague and friend Sheriff and those associating with him to follow the path of dialogue.

“They should not to do anything further that will cause PDP harm in Edo state,’’ Mr. Makarfi said.

He said it was important for the party to work together as INEC had stated that it required 21 days notice to monitor any primary.

“This means validly and legally, no primary can be conducted apart from the one which we conducted and monitored by INEC.

“If the intention is not to cause the PDP to fail the election, any talk towards conducting other primaries in Edo by anybody either within or outside the state is supposed to have ceased by this time.

“I will continue to plead that what you cannot achieve through peace or dialogue, you cannot achieve it through the opposite,’’ he added.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Avengers Embraces Dialogue, Gives Condition For Peace

The federal government’s efforts to restore peace in the troubled oil-rich Niger Delta region recorded a significant gain yesterday as the Niger Delta Avengers, the group that had been responsible for recent serial attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the region, said it was ready to discuss its grievances with the government.

The militant group’s turning of a new leaf, was largely due to pressure from the back channel contact made by the federal government’s negotiating team, headed by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu.

The group’s offer of dialogue was, however, predicated on International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the region committing to send independent mediators to the dialogue, saying that was the only way it could have confidence in talk that is expected to chart the way forward for peace in the region.

The federal government’s team, which also include the National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno, is mandated to reach out to the militants and other stakeholders in the region and find a way to end the violence that had adversely affected oil production output of the country, which had dwindled from 2.2m bpd to about 1.6m bpd. Only yesterday, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), said it had lost N60 billion in three months, owing to the break in its Forcados pipeline bombed by the NDA.

The NPDC’s loss is only a part of the general loss to the nation’s overall revenue loss manifested in the shut-in of over 800,000bpd since the NDA hostility began in February.

But in a statement by Mudock Agbinibo, the group’s spokesperson, it said it would cease fire to enable it discuss with the federal government’s team. It, however, demanded absolute sincerity on the part of government, warning that it would not allow the discussion to be turned into a political jamboree.

“We are warning this government of President Muhammadu Buhari not to turn the essence of genuine peace talk and dialogue to political jamboree that is prevailing now where all manner of social media agitators and criminals have been sponsored by the job seeking corrupt political class to save faces before the government of the day,’’ the NDA said.

As guarantees, the group said while it would not blow up more pipelines, it insisted that repairs to all bombed trunk lines must be put on hold until the dialogue is over, threatening to sink in the deep waters two large vessels belonging to the oil companies if its conditions were disregarded.

Credit: Thisday

MEND Names 7-Member Team To Dialogue With FG

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) on Monday, announced a seven-member team, led by Mr Odein Ajumogobia, a former Minister of Petroleum, to dialogue with the Federal Government.

Jomo Gbomo, MEND`s Spokesman, said in an online statement on Monday that other members of the group, tagged, “ Aaron Team 2”, are Bismark Rewane (Delta) and Chief Florence Ita-Giwa (Cross River).

The rest are Timipa Jenkins Okponipere (Bayelsa), Ibanga Isine (Akwa Ibom), Ledum Mitee (Rivers) and Lawson Omokhodion (Edo ).Gbomo said other members of the team would be made public in due course after consultations with relevant stakeholders.

He said the team was made up of patriotic and selfless men and women with good track records and character drawn from different parts of the Niger Delta region.

Gbomo also said the team would dialogue with the Federal Government on the immediate, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region.

He said members had already agreed to serve on behalf of the Niger Delta Region.

He recalled that MEND on May 30, 2014, declared a ceasefire on attacks against the nation`s key economic and strategic interests.

The spokesman said the group took the decision in response to former President Goodluck Jonathan`s Democracy Day speech.

Our message to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is simple: The Niger Delta struggle is beyond attacks on oil installations.

If indeed your cause is to avenge the injustice done to the Niger Delta region; then, we urge you to ceasefire and join us to the table of negotiation with the Federal Government.

Otherwise, the Niger Delta struggle shall be hijacked, once again by selfish interests for their own personal aggrandizement,” Gbomo said.

He said that the problems and challenges facing the region after attacks on key installations were environmental pollution and political corruption.

Credit: Guardian

Shelve Strike To Allow Dialogue, Fayose Tells Ekiti Workers

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, has urged workers in the state to call off their strike to allow for dialogue.


The governor stated that in the meantime, the salary for local government workers is ready for payment, while the little resources that have come to the state are ready for sharing but this cannot be done because civil servants who are on strike have critical roles to play in the disbursement of the funds.


The governor noted that until the workers resume, nothing can be done. Governor Fayose said this yesterday in Ado-Ekiti through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi. Fayose, who expressed sympathy with the striking workers and the inconveniences the current financial situation in the country is causing them, said that the financial condition of the country might not get better soon. While saying that the issue of irregular payment of workers was not limited  to Ekiti, the governor urged the workers to note that the country was in a recession and that the state depends much on statutory allocations.


He said he had foreseen the current situation which made him to be transparent in the handling of finances of the state and had always put all the cards on the table for labour leaders and others to see. “I have not hidden anything from the labour leaders and what our dear state is experiencing now has been aggravated by the mindless borrowings of the immediate past administration in the state. The state is paying about N1 billion monthly to service the bond and the commercial loans they took. If that did not happen, we would have had such money to add to our monthly allocations.

Credit: Vanguard

MASSOB, IPOB Halt Biafra Protests, Embrace Dialogue

The protests staged by the members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, over the continued detention of the Director, Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has been halted, following the resolve of the two pro-Biafra groups to give Federal Government room for dialogue.

Protesters in the south-east and parts of south-south geopolitical zones had vowed to continue demonstrations until they actualize Biafra which prompted governors from the region,under the aegis of South-East Governors Forum,SEGF, to push for a dialogue to secure the release of Nnamdi Kanu among other issues of neglect and marginalzation of the people in a meeting held in Enugu Government House.



In a joint resolution signed by Ugwuoke Ibem,National Secretary,MASSOB, and Emma Powerful,Spokesman of IPOB, which read in parts: “We have decided to halt our demonstration,protest to pave way for the much published dialogue on Nnamdi Kanu’s release. Our withdrawal from the major cities of Biafraland is not out of cowardice but to prove maturity,professionalism as a decent self determined group.

“We hereby issue an ultimatum to the Federal Government to prove their seriousness and sincerity on the much published dialogue on the release of Nnamdi Kanu. We shall continue with our non violence self determination on Biafra. MASSOB,IPOB will never relent or backside on the agitation for Biafra actualization. We condemn the stupidity,sabotage statement of Ralph Uwazuruike that IPOB, MASSOB introduced violence in Biafra struggle.

“Uwazuruike is a drowning man who is living on yesterday shadow. Uwazuruike has lost his grip on Biafra issues because of his deviation,compromise,open romance with Nigeria Government which has grossly affected his personality. We warn Uwazuruike and his brainwashed group to stop dragging MASSOB,IPOB into a shameless,naked dance of visionless, missionless,blind existence.”


Credit : Vanguard

NATO Chief Calls For Calm, Dialogue Between Russia And Turkey

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday called for calm and contacts between Moscow and Ankara after NATO member Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border.


“I look forward to further contacts between Ankara and Moscow and call for calm and de-escalation,” Stoltenberg said after an extraordinary meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels.


The NATO chief noted that work had to be done on developing and strengthening mechanisms to avoid such situations in the future.


He further said that the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey and supported the country’s territorial integrity.



Don’t Give Up On Dialogue With Boko Haram, Monarch Urges FG

Worried by the increase in Boko Haram related attacks in the North East, the paramount  traditional ruler of Igbo-Ukwu Kingdom in Aguata Local Government of Anambara State,  Igwe Martin Eze has called on the sect to sheathe their sword and embrace dialogue which  they proposed to the Federal Government sometime ago.

In a statement, the royal father condemned the bloodbath which is already taking a terrible toll  on lives and property of innocent Nigerians and urged Boko Harram to cease hostility and  bloodletting in the country. “When lives are lost in such gruesome way, it creates fear and  scares investors away from our country. So, I’m begging them to stop the killings in the name  of Almighty God,” he said.

While calling on the Federal Government to adopt the carrot and stick approach in dealing  with the sect, Igwe Eze urged the government to dialogue with members of the sect that are willing to lay down their arms in the interest of peace.

Speaking on the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the monarch lamented that the crisis has turned these Nigerians into refugees in their own country and commended Lagos  State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode for donating money to alleviate their suffering and  urged other Nigerians to emulate this kind gesture.

Credit: SunOnline

Invite looters for talks —Okogie tells Buhari

Former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari, to invite suspected looters of the country’s treasury for talks.

He said the President’s efforts to retrieve looted funds would be made easier if looters were allowed to return their loot without castigating them publicly.

Okogie, in an interview said it was also cheaper to recover loot through dialogue than charging suspected public fund thieves to court.

“I agree with the National Peace Committee that the President should tread softly and should set criteria that he is going to use. Corruption is endemic in Nigeria. That is why they are asking for caution: ‘Look at it properly,’” he said.

The cleric urged President Buhari to invite those suspected to have looted government treasury “to speak to their conscience.”

He warned that it would be difficult for the government to retrieve the loot as the suspects would use their financial resources to create legal hurdles for their prosecutors.

Okogie said, “People like that, when they go to court, they don’t look right and left before they do things. If I have a man like that and I know he has the money, I will weigh the options; ‘will it profit the nation if I take this man to court. If I take him to court, he is going to get a lawyer. The lawyer will be employed with part of the money I am looking for.

“The lawyer will now start to ask for adjournments and all what not. I may not get this money until after four years. And the judge too, in the mean time, is getting (part of the loot); you will not know. He won’t just adjourn anyhow.

“The lawyer will invite his brother (the judge) to come and get part of the cake until half of it will be gone. We have to look at the issue from that angle. And you may end up getting nothing.”

When asked if such would be possible in a sanitised judiciary, he asked, “Is it sanitised?”


According to Okogie, these are the areas the President ought to have started his anti-graft war by “sanitising and purifying” the judiciary first. “At least, you will know that three-quarters of the place is tight, and then you can start (the probe),” he added.

The fiery cleric, who decried the spate of moral decadence in the society, stated that it was the responsibility of the family to bring up the child well.

He lamented that parents were no more disciplined as before, saying, “These days, they don’t care anymore. That is not right; that is not how they were brought up.”

Okogie attributed the increasing spate of corruption in the country to declining moral upbringing of children.

He said, “Look at the probe that is going on now, for example; how can one person manage to get (steal) one-point-something billion; not even million but billion, and very soon you will hear of trillions? Where did he get it from? That is how it is going on, and he is from a family.

“And if his conscience worried him, he will run to his pastor to say ‘I want to pay tithe — 10 per cent; this is my tithe.’ The pastor collects the tithe. Seeing that it is huge money, the pastor will ask him, ‘what can I do for you?’ ”


Buhari Can Dialogue With Boko Haram On One Condition- PFN

In a bid to put an end to the activities of Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria, the Pentecos­tal Fellowship of Nige­ria (PFN) has thrown its weight behind the move by the Federal Government to dialogue with the insur­gents if the need arises.

Besides, the body cau­tioned President Muhamma­du Buhari that the dialogue option and the ongoing mili­tary operations should go pari passu, adding that the security agencies have done well.

The PFN National Presi­dent, Rev Felix Omobude disclosed this while address­ing newsmen in Ibadan yes­terday during his official vis­it to the PFN in Oyo State. The visit coincided with a two-day programme, Apos­tolic Impartation Service and Ministers’ Fire Conference organised by the PFN in the state, which commenced yesterday.

He was received by the state chairman of PFN, Bishop Taiwo Adelakun, of the Victory International Church (Rehoboth Cathed­eral); founder of the Christ Life Church (Sword of the Spirit Ministry), Bishop Francis Wale Oke, the South West Zone Coordinator of PFN, Rev Reuben Oke and scores of other members of the body.

Omobude, who said PFN was concerned about the continued spate of bombing in the country, stated that no fewer than 850 pentecostal churches, as at the last count two months ago, had been bombed or destroyed in the North East and some other parts of the country as a re­sult of insurgency.

He noted that the PFN was aware that the Federal Government was leaving no stone unturned to nip terror­ism in the bud in the country, stating that it would not be wrong for the government to complement military opera­tions with dialogue towards ending the menace.

While saying that nobody could be justified for bomb­ing churches and mosques under whatever guise, Om­bude said the Boko Haram “insurgents have declared themselves as enemies of Nigeria and we must all come together and treat them as such.”

He urged Nigerians to ex­ercise some patience with the present administration in the country and shun any­thing capable of destabilis­ing the country, adding the people must be peaceful, prayerful and supportive to every on-going peace initia­tive in the nation.

Omobude further en­joined Christians in other parts of the country that did not witness direct attack of the Boko Haram insurgents to support the victims of the insurgency in cash and kind, saying PFN had spent over N40million on relief mate­rials donated to “our broth­ers and sisters in the North East.”