- FG sets up committee for dialogue
- Youths, soldiers avert bombings of flow stations in Delta
Chineme Okafor in Abuja, Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa and Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The new militant group, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), that threatened to launch six missiles tuesday, has vowed to target key government institutions, including the State House, Abuja.
Also listed for hit in Abuja are the Defence Headquarters, Department of State Services (DSS), Police Headquarters, the National Assembly Complex, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Towers, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Supreme Court/Appeal Court, NLNG office and Agip headquarters.
Others on the militants’ radar include Chevron headquarters and Exxon Mobil, both in Lagos; the Kaduna Refinery and all military formations in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Benue States.
But worried about the debilitating effects of the militants’ violent activities on oil production, the mainstay of the nation’s economy, the federal government said yesterday that it had constituted a committee to engage the militant groups who have continued to bomb oil production facilities in the Niger Delta.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this to reporters monday night in Abuja, explained that the move was aimed at halting the deadly attacks, which had made Nigeria’s oil production drop to 1.6 million barrels per day (mbpd).
Kachikwu said the team to dialogue with the militants would be coordinated by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), and it would include himself, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru; and select thought leaders; kings and influential individuals from the Niger Delta.
He said the government would take its time to engage the militants, adding that their activities had seen the country’s oil production drop in volumes.
“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,” said Kachikwu.
He further stated: “I am sure that in the ensuing one week, the intensity of that dialogue will wrap up.”
To allow for the dialogue, Kachikwu said: “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 can resort to dialogue rather than use of force,” he added.
Speaking more on the character of people who would be part of the dialogue, Kachikwu said: “In terms of those on the committee, the NSA, myself, the service chiefs, the list itself is expanding as we put the final touches in place.
“There will obviously be the minister of the Niger Delta. We are also looking at an integrated platform that involves representatives of the various communities who are respected and have had experience in doing this.”
The federal government’s search for peace appeared to have received a boost in Warri as youths from Kokodiagbene community and environs in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government area of Delta State dared the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in the early hours of yesterday, preventing them from blowing up Otunana and Jones Creeks flow stations.
THISDAY gathered that the youths, acting on information on the planned attempt to breach the flow stations, alerted the military personnel stationed in the area, who averted the blow-up plan of the militants.
However, the JNDLF group, in a statement yesterday, said emphatically that it was set to destroy all infrastructure built with oil money and located across Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Benue States.
In the statement signed by Akotebe Darikoro, Commander, General Duties; Torunanaowei Latei, Creeks Network Coordinator; Agbakakuro Owei-Tauro, Pipelines Bleeding Expert; and Pulokiri Ebiladei, Intelligence Bureau, the militants advised occupants of the targeted buildings to vacate them in their own interest.
The group said it had resolved to shut down the Nigerian Communication Satellite Orbit to avoid the effect of electronic radiation on human lives as a result of the missiles that would be used for the attacks on the buildings.
JNDLF said it would fire the missiles simultaneously at night to enable every Nigerian see their movement to make them believe the seriousness it attaches to the final breakup of Nigeria as predicted by the United States of America.
“The occupants of these buildings should, as a matter of urgency, vacate them immediately in their own interest to save their lives because our fight is not for any human blood but to destroy all the infrastructure that were built with our oil and gas monies in this country.
“We will make the federal government and oil companies to suffer as they have made the people of Niger Delta region suffer over the years from environmental degradation, and environmental pollution,” it threatened.
The militant group advised the diplomatic community to be neutral on the development, warning that adverse comments made against it would be seen as sabotage.
It assured the diplomatic community that their embassies and residences would not be affected since they were not part of its targeted areas for destruction in the country.
The group taunted the military, insisting that it would particularly embarrass the Nigerian Air Force for the recent deployment of fighter aircraft, helicopter gunship and surveillance aircraft, saying: “In this digital age, countries are talking about missile development, and they still condescend so low to their present obsolete equipment.”
The militant group warned: “We are going to destroy the ones they have deployed to Escravos, Forcados in Delta State; Bonga oil field, Agbami offshore and Brass in Bayelsa; Bony in Rivers; Qua Iboe Terminal in Akwa Ibom State, and Opuekeba in Ondo State if they fail to remove them before time. Our crack team has taken inventory of their equipment.”