The Federal Government has reportedly contacted Chief Edwin Clark, leader of the pan-Niger Delta group, over planned talks with Niger Delta militants.
This followed the success of the consultative meeting of the Niger Delta monarchs, elders and stakeholders in Effurun, near Warri, Delta State on August 19, following which the Niger Delta Avengers declared an unannounced ceasefire.
The Avengers have also accepted Clarks leadership as they go into talks with the Federal Government.
Chief Clark told the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, one of the top officials involved in the interface, last Friday, in Warri, that soon after the NDA heeded the advice of Niger Delta monarchs and leaders to stop bombing oil pipelines, the Chief of Staff to the President got in touch with him to congratulate the leaders for a job well done.
He said the Chief of Staff told him that President Muhammadu Buhari was prepared to receive the leaders whenever they were ready.
Vanguard quoted him as saying:“Our governor here, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, was also contacted by the Villa and he called to tell me that he had been asked to facilitate our visit when we are ready” Clark said.
He told Kachikwu that as a worthy son of the region, he should liaise with Governor Okowa to fix a date for the Niger Delta leaders to formally meet and brief President Buhari on the meeting and other necessary things to achieve peace in the region.
The presidency has however explained why it is yet to commence dialogue with the Niger Delta militants that have since declared a ceasefire.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, explained that the government is waiting for reports from the National Security Adviser, NSA, Major General Mohammed Monguno (retd.); service chiefs and other top government officials mandated to interface with militant groups and other stakeholders in Niger Delta, before commencing the much awaited dialogue.
This came a day after the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Movement, NDGJM, an Urhobo militant group, blew up the Ogor-Oteri major delivery line operated by Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, and Shorelines Petroleum and served a notice to also bomb Warri and Port Harcourt refineries as well as Utorogu Gas Plant.
Adesina told Vanguard on phone, on Tuesday: “The President has charged some people with engaging the various militant groups, and now that they are waiving the white flag, there will definitely be formal talks.
“But before that, the NSA, service chiefs and all those involved need to bring their reports, they will be assessed before dialogue will kick-off”