Warri — The Delta State government has invited leaders of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) for talks in a bid to ensure that the recent threat by the militant group to resume attack on oil facilities is not carried out.
Last week, the NDA renewed call for restructuring of the country, threatening to resume hostilities in the oil-rich region if the demand was not carried out.
The militants said an agreement had been reached that the incessant killings and division of Nigeria along divergent lines made now the perfect time to restructure the country.
"We state in plain terms that anybody against restructuring is an enemy of this country and particularly an enemy of the Niger Delta Avengers. We shall not rest until such enemies are defeated by the Niger Delta people who earnestly seek to control their own resources.
"While promising a brutal outpour of our wrath, which shall shake the coffers of the failed Nigerian nation, our demand unambiguously is for the government to restructure this country," the group said in a statement posted on its website yesterday.
Spokesman for the militants, Murdoch Agbinibo said the group would target deep sea operations of the multinationals, including Bonga Platform, Agbami, EA Field, Britania-U Field and Akpo Field littered across the deep waters of the Niger Delta region.
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro, who is chairman of the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, yesterday appealed to the militants to sheathe their sword and come to the dialogue table.
He pleaded with the NDA to formally lodge its grievances to the Governor's Office Annexe in Warri or to the Deputy Governor's Office, Government House, in Asaba for prompt action.
"As agitators, we must be careful not to cancel out the modest gains already made through the dialogue process with the Federal Government which is still on course. The House of Representatives has just passed the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Bill into law as the Senate did last year. The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was also just passed. These are just a few pointers to better things to come," Otuaro said.
According to him, the state government's intention to end all forms of oil sabotage informed the two-day conference it organised on how best to protect oil installations, which was well attended by oil companies, government bodies and communities.
Otuaro said the conference resolved that oil bearing communities must be engaged to better protect oil installations. Participants also agreed that destruction of oil installations is criminal. It was likened to destroying the future for oneself and the coming generations with the attendant environmental degradation and loss of revenue for development of the region.