imageThe Federal Government has moved to end the destruction of oil facilities by aggrieved Niger Delta militants in the oil-rich region of the country with a strategic meeting with some militant leaders in Abuja, as a first step. The Federal Government team that met with over 50 militant leaders in Abuja for most part of Wednesday at the Transcorp Hilton, included the National Security Adviser, Major-General Babagana Monguno (rtd)., Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, Niger Delta Minister, Pastor Uguru Usani Uguru and the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh, (Rtd).

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, was also at the meeting but left after a brief discussion with those in attendance. Similarly, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig. Gen. Paul Boroh, has relocated from Abuja to the troubled region to hold discussions with the militants to sheath their sword and embrace peace. The Presidential adviser moved from Abuja on Thursday to be able to meet with some of the aggrieved Niger Delta leaders in Delta, Rivers, Edo, Bayelsa between today and the weekend before moving to the other oil-bearing states for similar discussions.

“The whole aim of my relocation to the Niger Delta creeks is to enable me to identify the aggrieved individuals and groups and hold extensive discussions with them on the need to keep the peace since the government is working hard to put things right in the Niger Delta and other parts of Nigeria,” the Presidential Amnesty Programme Coordinator, said last night. From available records, the Federal Government has not reneged on its amnesty package to the region and is working hard to improve the infrastructural needs of the Niger Delta, one of them being the Calabar-Lagos Coastal Railway which is already captured in this year’s budget. The central message passed down to the Niger Delta elements by the Federal Government team, was for them to stop further destruction of critical government oil assets but to seek peaceful means of expressing their grievances.

ESEKachikwu, who addressed the Niger Delta leaders drawn the oil-bearing communities, said it was imperative for  the perpetrators of the bombing of oil facilities to realise that such actions were inimical to the country and its people. “Nobody benefits from any destruction and we need to stop anything that can lead to the destruction of lives and the environment,” Kachukwu said. “The Federal Government will continue to take steps to ensure that the issues agitating the minds of the people are genuinely addressed for the overall interest of all.” It will be recalled that the blowing up of oil facilities has intensified in recent weeks, cutting off Nigeria’s oil output by nearly 700,000 barrels per day. The development has also pushed up oil prices in the international market.

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