Delta - The Chief negotiator of the ongoing talks between the federal government and the Niger Delta Avengers, Edwin Clark has warned the Nigeria Army against jeopardising the current ceasefire declared by the militants, Vanguard reports.
Clark was appointed by the militants to negotiate with the federal government following months of blowing of oil and gas pipelines.
He said following the decision by the militants to halt hostilities in the Niger Delta region, it was necessary for the government to work for peace rather than launching a military operation.
He said: “I expected that after the monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta coastal states were able to get the militants to sheathe their swords, the federal government would take advantage of it to commence genuine dialogue.”
But, that is not what we are seeing even after the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, came and heard from the people in Warri on the way forward. Suddenly, the Federal Government, which was all along looking for who to dialogue with, is foot-dragging.
“I was shocked when I saw that the Chief of Army Staff, who was in the same plane with me from Benin City to Abuja when I went to Abuja after the consultative meeting that saw militants sheathe their swords was, thereafter, launching Operation Crocodile Smile.
“There is no need to intimidate the people with Operation Crocodile Smile, as the people cannot dialogue under duress. They are creating another problem in the region. One expects that if the government is really sincere with the peace move, it should immediately commence the process for dialogue.”
Meanwhile troops will sustain operations against militants in the Delta State following progress made during the Operation Crocodile Smile according to News24.
The latest breakthrough is the arrest of five alleged hoodlums terrorizing commuters plying the East-West road between Ughelli to Patani.
These have been named as Oruno Egbede, Atiyoyo Rewemuesere, Peter Kehinde, Wilson Godbless and Friday Odede.
Other suspects, named as Vincent Ekeke and Henry Koko, alongside two women, Racheal Abbah and Amaratefa Odada found at the residence were invited for questioning, while efforts are ongoing to track down another wanted suspect.
- News 24