‘Our prayer is that this works’ | FG begins negotiations with Niger Delta militants

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Nigerian military to halt its operations in the Niger Delta for two weeks to enable the government dialogue with militant groups.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, revealed this in Abuja on Monday.

To this effect, a committee has been set up by the Federal Government to negotiate with the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers.

The NDA is responsible for the destruction of oil installations in the Niger Delta region in the past few weeks.

Kachikwu explained that the FG-set up committee will engage the militants will be coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser.

“The President is interested in dialogue and has mandated the military to halt actions for about two weeks to ensure a team that will be led by the NSA, dialogues with the militants to ensure peace in the region.”

“The President has appointed a team led by the NSA and I serve in one of those, to begin the process of a very intensive dialogue with those caught in the middle of this. I am sure that in the ensuing one week the intensity of that dialogue will wrap up.”

“The NSA is going to be working with the various arms of the armed forces to descale the intensity of military intervention in the area within a week or two so that dialogue can take place.”

“We are making contacts with everybody who is involved, the ones that we can identify, through them, the ones that we can’t identify so that there is a lot more inclusiveness in this dialogue. Our prayer is that this works so that we resort to dialogue rather than use of force.”

“Over the last two months, we have probably lost about 600,000 barrels from various attacks of militants in the area.”

“In terms of production, we are roughly at about 1.5 million to 1.6 million barrels a day, down from 2.2mbd which is the basis of this year’s budget and if peace reigns, obviously between now and August we will be able to recover substantial portion of this production so that the budget doesn’t suffer.”

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