By Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu on Friday expressed his concern and disappointment about the recent pipeline attacks by militants in the Niger Delta region.
He said in a statement from the Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr. Idang Alibi, in Abuja that the development was a setback to ongoing dialogue between the Federal Government and stakeholders in the region.
He however added that it would not deter him and other ministers of the government from the region, from pursuing the path of dialogue which he noted remains the best path to a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta.
The statement explained that three attacks have taken place over the last two weeks even whilst efforts were ongoing to prepare the grounds for dialogue.
It said: “The Honorable Minister of State, Petroleum Resources is saddened that despite months of intensive personal and collective efforts to engage all stakeholders in the region and despite the recent success in convening a meeting with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to begin exploring the opportunities for deepening the dialogue, that these attacks have continued.”
“He condemns these wanton attacks and reiterates that the path to providing lasting solutions for the Niger Delta challenges remains dialogue.
“He further appeals and enjoins all interested stakeholders in the Niger Delta to embrace the path of peace and dialogue and shun acts that further create difficulties for the country, impoverish the region and worsen the ecological problems of the region,” the statement added.
While stressing Kachikwu’s stance on a peaceful approach to the Niger Delta challenges, the statement said: “He urges all militants to stop and give the ensuing dialogue a chance to birth peace in the region.”