Niger Delta militants on Tuesday expressed their readiness to engage the Federal Government in dialogue to ensure that peace reigned in the oil-rich region.
The militants said the decision to embrace dialogue was reached after a meeting held on Tuesday under the auspices of the Coalition of Niger Delta Groups.
The militants, who made their position known in a statement via an electronic mail to The PUNCH, said they had no personal grudge against President Muhammadu Buhari and were ready to work together with his administration to make Nigeria better.
President Buhari had on Sunday called on the militants to come forward for dialogue over the Niger Delta crisis.
The leader of the Niger Delta Watchdogs, General John Duku; General Ekpo Ekpo of the Niger Delta Volunteers, Commander Henry Okon Etete of the Niger Delta Peoples Fighters and Commander Asukwo Henshaw, the spokesperson for the Bakassi Freedom Fighters who signed the statement, agreed to embrace peace.
“We wish to assure Mr. President that the Niger Delta militants and the people are 100 per cent ready for dialogue. We have no personal grudge against him and his government and we promise to work together to make Nigeria better,” the agitators said.
The militants commended President Buhari for calling on the Niger Delta militants to negotiate with the Federal Government.
They, however, condemned the call by the Senate for the resignation of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Babachir Lawal, saying such a call was not in the interest of the country.
Explaining that they had uncovered a plot by some politicians to sponsor militants to protest for the removal of Lawal, the militants warned that they would resist any attempt to sack the SGF.
“We strongly condemn the recent call for the resignation of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation by the Senate. The call on Mr. President to remove the SGF is uncalled for, unpatriotic and not in the interest of the nation.
“The allegation levelled against Mr. Lawal is baseless, without facts and the handiwork of saboteurs, who are planning to bring down and destroy this government by all means, knowing very well that the SGF is the engine room of this government, hard working, 100 per cent loyal to the President and a threat to some self-centred politicians.
“It is on record that the SGF has resigned his position as the Managing Director of the company (his accusers talked about) as soon as he was appointed as the SGF.
“He neither presided over nor acted on behalf of the company anymore. However, a Senate committee refused to invite the SGF for public hearing because they know what they were up to and must deliver based on the directive from their paymasters,” the statement read.
The agitators stated that they were aware of plans to move millions of naira into the Niger Delta to mobilise some youths and militants to protest against the SGF, using some powerful governors in the oil-rich region.