THERE is anxiety in the Niger Delta as the two-week ultimatum given owners of oil blocs in the region by Niger Delta Avengers to evacuate their staff and shut down operations ends today, while secret talks with the militant group have run into a hitch. The militant group in a statement by its spokesperson, Col Murdoch Agbinibo on May 12, gave the former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other declared oil bloc owners two weeks to shut down operations or have themselves to blame. Meanwhile, alleged talks between the Federal Government and an intermediary of Niger Delta Avengers on how to end hostilities in the region by the militant group have collapsed, while security agencies have allegedly concluded plans to infiltrate the meeting of Ijaw youths today in Warri to take a collective position on the Niger Delta Avengers. A security source told our reporter: “All security operatives in the country are currently on their toes following security reports that the Niger Delta Avengers has promised to resume hostilities after the expiration of its two-week ultimatum.”
A statement by its president, Mr. Tonfa Cyprian, said: “These informants are misinforming Mr. President out of hatred for Tompolo and their bid to curry favour from him for their personal aggrandizement, but Mr. President can end the resurgence of militancy if he makes development of the region his priority. “From careful observation of the pattern of attack by the militants’ on oil installations, it is obvious that it will be very difficult to contain their operations with force because they are very conversant with the terrain. The weapon to use is not force but development.
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