The minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, the minister for information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed have both made statements regarding the renewed militant operations in the south-south.
Kachikwu said on Monday, May 23, that the Federal Government is considering opening a robust dialogue with the Niger-Delta militants on the need to stop militancy in the oil rich region.
Speaking at an interactive session with a coalition of civil societies in Lagos, chaired by Dr Moses Ilo, founder of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Kachikwu said he believes that the military option cannot bring about an end to the militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Describing militants as “my brothers”, Kachikwu recommended dialogue as a viable option to end the restiveness in the Niger Delta.
“The military barrels cannot stop or solve problem of militancy in the Niger–Delta region. I will have to go back to my brothers, they are our brothers we will go and dialogue with them,” he said.
Kachikwu’s remark is coming a week after Edwin Clark, elder statesman, advised President Muhammadu Buhari against relying on military option alone.
The minister also said the current administration was targeting 2019 to end fuel importation in the country, revealing steps that were being taken to achieve that goal.
“For the first time, I am putting so much strength in terms of what do we do with our refineries, because that ultimately is the solution,” he said.
“I must make the refineries work so that the staff can justify their work.
“I am going around looking for investors to come in a joint venture basis to put in money into the refineries and make them work.”
On his part, Lai Mohammed stressed that the nefarious activities of militants is currently sabotaging efforts being made by the government to revamp the nation’s economy.
Mohammed while lamenting the situation said there was no other solution to the issues happening in Niger Delta other than engaging them in meaningful dialogue.
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and first Presidential Adviser on the Amnesty Programme, Timi Alaibe, may return to the post. A source in the presidency squealed that that President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to bring back Alaibe who has huge influence in the Niger Delta region.
Alaibe is credited with reconciling, rehabilitating and reintegrating ex-militants into the society after they laid down their arms in 2009.
He is said to have links with former and current militants and has been fingered as one man that can bring the present agitation to a halt.
Reports state that President Buhari is very disturbed by the recent frequent attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta, especially as it affects the country’s finances.
The idea of bring back Alaibe is said to be an advice form a senior security and intelligence chief, who recommended that Alaibe be brought back to manage the amnesty office to curb the recent attacks.