Over recent months, militancy has returned to the Niger delta with armed groups blowing up pipelines and oil installations. After a military crackdown failed to address the problem, President Buhari agreed to enter into talks with the militants and set up a committee headed by minister of state for petroleum Dr Ibe Kachukwu to commence negotiations.
Several of the groups have refused to enter into talks though and some of them have insisted that if negotiations are to take place, President Buhari himself should chair them. According to the Ijaw Youth Council (IJC), President Buhari has not dismissed this and has even invited several Niger Delta leaders to Abuja for a meeting.
IYC president Udens Eradiri, said elders and stakeholders in the region were contacted by the presidency with the aim of holding peace talks. He added that he is hopeful that this will mark the commencement of a dialogue that will come up with a final solution to address the crisis in the region.
Mr Eradiri said: “We want to commend the president because I heard from the grapevine, from one of our foremost governors and leader of Ijaw land this morning that they had been invited by the president for an engagement with respect to the Niger Delta crises. I want to commend the president for hearing our cries and for taking the right approach because there is no other approach than what the president has decided to do.
“Mr President is a very meticulous man who keeps a lot of things to his chest and Nigerians and people always around take advantage of his silence and misinterpret the body language of Mr President in various ways. That body language that has been misinterpreted has created a lot of confusion that has further worsened the situation in Niger Delta."