The Federal Government has reportedly started dialogue at Abuja with Niger Delta stakeholders and militants, who, last week, gave it a 21-day ultimatum to recommence hostilities, if government refused to quickly address the demands by #EndSARS protesters and additional 11-point demand by the agitators.
The talks were convened by the Deputy President of Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is expected to convey the complaints of the stakeholders and militants to President Muhammadu Buhari and brief him on the outcome.
Senator Omo-Agege, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, confirmed his meeting with the stakeholders.
However, there were intrigues, after the meeting, as the militants, at an emergency meeting in the creek, presided over by the leader and commanding officer of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA, a collation of nine militant groups spread across the region, self-styled “Major General” Johnmark Ezonebi, attended by all unit commanders, disowned all serving ministers from the region.
Senator Omo-Agege, evidently oblivious of the rejection of the minsters by militants, said: “We are just coming out of the challenges posed by the EndSARS protests, it is my obligation as the Deputy Senate President and currently, the highest political office holder from Niger Delta to ensure that there was no breach of peace in my area, especially as militants had threatened to resume hostilities.”
“I see it as my obligation to plead with all stakeholders of the region to ensure that there is peace in the Niger Delta.
“Yes, a delegation led by Chief Okirika and Dr. Emuh, leader of Host Communities of Nigeria and other leaders reached out to me and we held a meeting with several reports and demands they pleaded with me to pass on to government. And I told them that I will convey their positions,” he said.
Speaking to newsmen, the militants vowed through their leader, Ezonebi, that they would not be part of any dialogue initiated by Niger Delta ministers and would, instead, go ahead with their initial plan to stop oil production if the federal government gives ears to their antics.
He stated: “Deputy Senate president, who is the number five citizen in the country and also the political leader of Niger Delta, being the highest political office holder from the region met with a delegation of stakeholders, including representatives of the dreaded RNDA militant group in Abuja.”
“The delegation was headed by Chief Wellington Okrika, a highly respected chief from Gbaramatu kingdom, one- time Chairman of Delta State Oil producing Development Commission, front liner in the agitation for the development of the Niger Delta region and one of the leaders that fought hard for the establishment of 13 per cent derivation Act in the former Head of State, late Gen Sani Abacha era to the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasenjo.
“Also among the delegation was the national chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria, Dr. Prince Mike Emuh and Hon Prince Jude Tabai, son of a retired Supreme Court judge in the country, who sacrificed his life to come down to the creek in the year 2016 in company of former Minister of Sports, Barr Solomon Dalong with the former GGM Security at the NNPC Towers, Sam Otobueze, which led to the pronouncement of the ceasefire agreement entered with the federal government,” he said.
According to RNDA leader, ” Deputy Senate President has kick- started the dialogue process on behalf of the Federal Government already, therefore, the presidency should ignore caricature people, deceitfully organizing another planned stakeholders’ dialogue team that will be spearheaded by self-centered, selfish, inhuman and greedy ministers from the Niger Delta region.”