- No negotiations going on, group insists
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The umbrella body of youths of Ijaw descent, the Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide, yesterday accused the federal government of negotiating with the wrong set of agitators so as to find a reason to attack the region.
According to the influential youth organisation, the game plan of the federal government was to open negotiations with mere jobbers and online agitators and then turn around to blame Niger Delta youths of rejecting the government’s peace plan.
It noted that because the federal government is talking to the wrong set of people, the current bombing and destruction of critical oil and gas infrastructure in the region would continue, invariably leading to the invasion of the Niger Delta.
In a chat with THISDAY yesterday, spokesman of the IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, insisted that there was no real negotiation going on, and accused government of gross insincerity in ending the crisis in the oil-area.
He added that there was a deliberate scheme to decimate the people of the region and blame the youths and elders for provoking the government.
“There is no negotiation going on. The government is only preparing the grounds for a military attack. Who exactly are they negotiating with?
“They are negotiating with the wrong people while the blowing up of pipelines continue. They want to deliberately do it so that they will have a reason to attack innocent communities and villages in the region.
“Government is not sincere. Let them tell people the militants they are discussing with. And by the way, the federal government should be talking to the leaders of the region in order to achieve peace.
“Obasanjo (former president) discussed with people, Yar’Adua did the same thing. The Avengers are saying that they are not in talks with the government. There’s just no sincerity with this government,” he said.
The group added that with the way the government was handling the current crisis in the region, the solution to the gamut of problems in the region was still far off.
“Very soon they (government) will start attacking and killing innocent people because they can’t even locate the real people. The IYC is saying that the government is not negotiating. It’s a game plan.
“The government of Buhari (President) is not interested in resolving the Niger Delta crisis. We will continue to appeal to the people bombing pipelines to stop, but the government has a responsibility to address the current restiveness,” the IYC noted.
The group insisted that the current government does not see the Niger Delta region as part of Nigeria, arguing that President Buhari has not shown commitment to solving the problems in the region.
But the federal government had always said it was talking to the right set of militants.
Last Thursday, President Buhari had stated that his administration was in talks with the armed militants in the Niger Delta region.
The president who spoke in Abuja during a farewell meeting with the outgone German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Zinner, said the government was engaging in negotiations talks through security agents and oil companies in area.
However, the assertion has been rebutted by the Niger Delta Avengers, the major militant group in the oil-rich region that has claimed responsibility for the attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in the area.