Nigeria and the Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group that has been attacking oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region, on Wednesday agreed during a secret meeting to pursue dialogue to end the violence, which has reduced Nigeria's daily oil production to 680,000 barrels per day.
The meeting was held at the Governor's Office in Asaba, Delta State between Nigeria's Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, with representatives of Niger Delta Avengers and othermilitant groups.
A copy of the communique of the meeting obtained by SaharaReporters shows that the meeting also had in attendance the Delta State Governor, Patrick Ifeanyi Okowa; an Itsekiri militant leader, Ayirimi Emami; a representative of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Michael Johny;and two persons representing the interest of the Niger Delta Avengers: Gbeneka Godspwoer and Dan Ekpebide.
The meeting resolved that Mr. Kachikwu would visit Gbaramatu today to show good faith by the federal government to reinstate the "Maritime University" project, which is one of the key issues in the conflict.
As a result, the Minister traveled to the kingdom today and met with various stakeholders. A source told SaharaReporters that while in the area, Kachikwu also met with wanted Niger Delta militant, Tompolo, but SaharaReporters could not verify that information. In previous statements, Tompolo had stated that he was not in the area, and he has recently been reported to be abroad.
A source at the meeting said that from all indications at the meeting the Delta State Governor and Mr. Kachikwu clearly knew who the ND Avengers are, and had brought in Ayiri, who is an Itsekiri militant, as a way of reconciling both sides. The Itsekiris are however said to have expressed the view that Mr. Kachikwu's travel to Gbaramatu without visiting the controversial EPZ zone, located just five minutes away, showed he was more interested in pleasing Tompolo and the ND Avengers than anything else.
Mr. Kachikwu had held a series of meetings with representatives of the ND Avengers before today’s visit to Gbaramatu.
It would also be recalled that at a meeting last week with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and governors of the South-South States, the Minister was reported as having sided with those governors who demanded that corruption charges be dropped against politicians and militants in the Niger Delta region in exchange forpeace.