President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has vowed to deal with Niger Delta Militants should they refuse to dialogue with the Federal Government.
The President said this on Saturday night while speaking at bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the side-lines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), in Nairobi, Kenya.
He however said in an interview with journalists also in Nairobi at the weekend, that the Federal Government is open to dialogue to resolve all contending issues in the area but still “do not believe that they (the militants) have announced ceasefire. We are trying to understand them more. Who are their leaders and which areas do they operate and other relevant issues.’’
The President speech and the interview were made available by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and publicity.
Disclosing several steps taken by his administration to secure the country and ease doing business in Nigeria, to the Japanese leader, President Buhari said that with the defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists by the military, the attention of the administration is now focused on stopping the destruction of the country’s economic assets by militants in the Niger Delta region.
He then threatened that, the only option left for the militants is to dialogue with the Federal government or be dealt with in the same way government dealt with Boko Haram.
“We are talking to some of their leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us. As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments.
“We realise that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it,” Buhari said.
Buhari had in April this year in China, said that saboteurs and vandals of the oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region would be treated as Boko Haram terrorists were being treated in the North-East.
“I ask for your support to make our vision of stamping out corruption a reality in the shortest possible time. Whoever is caught will not be spared. The government is still being dared, but those who are sensible should have learnt a lesson. Those who are mad, let them continue in their madness.
“I am aware that in the last two weeks, the national grid collapsed a number of times. I hope this message will reach the vandals and saboteurs who are blowing up pipelines and installations. We will deal with them the way we dealt with Boko Haram,” President Buhai had said.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears