The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) said the federal government is not serious in its supposed commitment to opening dialogue with the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
IYC President Udengs Eradiri said although a proper invitation had not been extended to the IYC, the discordant tune coming from members of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet and the absence of the president at the meeting has made the IYC lose confidence in the dialogue process.
The Niger Delta Avengers said while they were never part of any 30-day ceasefire agreed upon by militant groups and the federal government, the NDA would only agree to dialogue if it is open to an international audience.
In a response to the inquiry of the leadership, the NDA warned "political jobbers" not to assume the position of the group on issues of a truce.
“Those canvassing and assuming our position on truce are on their own, but the NDA will only agree to dialogue if it’s open to international audience,” the group said.
On his part, Mr. Eradiri, in an interview with journalists in Yenagoa, said the dialogue would not be proper without the president’s attendance, and the IYC would not join such talks unless he were present for them.
“I can only attend if the president is present. I won’t waste my time. When former President Yardua was negotiating with militants, you could see it clearly. You saw that it was between the militants and the federal government’s negotiating team. There was nothing like the ‘NSA is doing this one and the Defence is doing another one.’ No,” the IYC leader said.
Mr. Eradiri emphasized that the federal government was not talking the peace process seriously.
“There has been no seriousness on the federal government team. The only seriousness expected is the president leading the team. If the Ijaw team and the militants present 10 conditions and the president declines some, we will believe that is the correct and true position of the administration. And we will go back to the table and plan,” he said.