The Niger Delta Avengers, a group that has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks on oil and gas installations across the Niger Delta, says it is ready to engage the Nigerian government in dialogue.
But the group has given stringent conditions for any talks.
It is the first time the group has shown any interest discussing with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The latest decision came barely a week after the government ordered troops in the oil-rich region to end onslaught against the militants.
In a statement signed by the its spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, the Avengers said it was ready to negotiate with the government if there are good grounds for such deliberation.
The group, however, said it was yet to see any signs the government had made new concessions.
“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is using this medium to restate that there are no new items to put on the table for dialogue, we only want a genuine attitude and conducive atmosphere that will make us commit to any proposed dialogue and last peace talk,” Mr. Agbinibo wrote in a statement posted on the Avengers’ Web site Monday afternoon.
“We want the federal government to commit members states of the multi national oil corporations to commit independent mediators to this proposed dialogue; we believed that it is only such environment that will engender genuine dialogue that will be aimed at setting up a framework for achieving the short, medium and long term demands of the Niger delta to de-escalating this conflict and bring about a lasting peace.”
In the meantime, the group said it would continue its assymetrical attacks on oil facilities on all delta states.
“The NDA high command is restating our commitment to attack the interest of oil corporation and international refineries operators that bring in vessels to the Niger delta territory to buy our oil that every successive government have refused to used and reapply the proceeds towards any development in the region since 1958. If they refuse be heed to our advice will result to sinking of two their mother vessel as an examples to others They should not undertake any repair of pipeline, oil and gas facilities that is damaged or attacked by our forces during this period of “Operation Red Economy” until and/or after the dialogue.”
The Avengers further stated that it was aware of a campaign to discredit its activities on social media, warning the government and others involved to be wary of dubious politicians.
“We are using medium to warn and condemn the activities of all brands of social media agitators being peddled around by some politicians to promote their criminal ways in affairs of the Niger Delta. This genuine spirit behind our struggle for the Niger Delta cannot be derailed on the basis of connivance by politician, traditional rulers, settled ex- agitators and criminals moving around to fill their pockets.”
In a strange turn, however, the group indicated that it may review its long-standing campaign to spare human lives in the course of its agitation, urging the government and oil companies across the region to desist from carrying out further repairs of vandalised oil installations.
“Finally, if need be we may review our earlier stance of not taking lives. We are going to redirect and reactivate all our activities if the government, oil companies and their services firms don’t heed to these modest warnings of not carrying out any repairs works and suspend the buying of crude oil from our region as we await the right atmosphere that will engender genuine dialogue.
“We want a peace with honour, not a peace of our time.”