Israel Sunny-Goli, Bayelsa State House of Assembly Representative from Brass Constituency I, has publicly advised that the Federal Government not enter into negotiations with the Niger Delta Avengers.
Mr. Sunny-Goli said in a statement on Thursday in Yenagoa, the Baylesa State capital, that the Niger Delta Avengers did not represent the views nor the aspirations of the Niger Delta people. He said that negotiating the fate of the people with such a fringe group was a terrible misnomer “capable of plunging the region in the rat race for destructive influence.”
He regretted the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta but said in his statement that “as a representative of the people and a community leader I wish to express my worry over some of the approaches being pursued by officials of the Federal Government in the search for solution to the problem. I am particularly worried about the reported attempt to fix a negotiation between the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Avengers – or its allied groups.”
Mr. Sunny-Goli continued by saying that the “Niger Delta Avengers do not represent the people of the Niger Delta and their demands and procedure do not embody the popular aspirations and sentiments in the region. The group is, to all intents and purposes, a gang of foot soldiers assembled by some politicians and persons on the wrong side of the law as a bargaining chip to try to escape punishment or get a soft-landing.”
Mr. Sunny-Goli said, “any negotiation with Niger Delta Avengers would encourage more fringe groups to arise with similarly warped demands that the government would never be able to meet.”
The lawmaker hailed the currents efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari government to resolve issues in the Niger Delta through peaceful means. But he said, “to tackle the current disturbing situation in the Niger Delta, the Federal Government should concentrate all discussions and negotiations on the leaders of the people. It should discontinue every negotiation with the Niger Delta Avengers and others of that ilk. This is the only way to achieve the much needed peace in region.”