President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday confirmed that his administration was currently engaging the Niger Delta militants in talks in order to end the spate of destruction of crude oil facilities in the region.
He said the talks were being done through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies and were meant to find a lasting solution to insecurity in the region.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the President spoke while granting farewell audience to the outgoing Ambassador of Germany to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Zinner, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari added that the Federal Government was studying the instruments of the Amnesty Programme inherited from the previous administration, with a view to carrying out commitments made that were undelivered.
“We understand their feelings. We are studying the instruments. We have to secure the environment, otherwise investment will not come. We will do our best for the country,” the President was quoted as saying.
Buhari thanked the German government for its continuing support to Nigeria in the efforts to tackle insecurity and the ongoing rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced citizens in crisis-torn areas in the north-eastern parts of the country.
The outgoing German ambassador noted that bilateral relations between Nigeria and Germany had improved significantly in the last 12 months of the current administration.
Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has advised the Federal Government not to take lightly the threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to intensify their attacks on foreigners and oil installations.
Already the latest threat was one of the issues discussed at the meeting between the government and PENGASSAN on Thursday.
The union also told international oil companies, which refused to respect its agreement with the government to leave the country, describing the refusal as an affront.
The NDA had warned foreigners, PENGASSAN and members of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, to “leave all oil fields and terminals in the Niger Delta,” saying things would “get dirty very soon.”
The organisation, in a statement, also denied claims by the Nigerian Navy that it had arrested the supplier of its logistics.
The President of PENGASSAN, Olabode Johnson, in an interview with journalists on Thursday in Abuja, said the NDA’s threat would dominate discussions at its meeting with the government.
Johnson, who spoke at the third national conference of women in PENGASSAN, said, “In view of the issue on the ground, this is something we should take as priority. That kind of threat is not something that should be taken lightly.
“Whatever the issue, let the government look for a way to fast-track everything and discuss so that there can be peace in this country. This is not the time for us to start destroying ourselves and our properties and oil installations. We all need to work together as a country, so that Nigeria can rise from the ashes of what we are going through.”
Johnson explained that the strike by oil workers had only been suspended and might resume if the issues were not addressed properly.