Niger Delta Avengers again appeared
divided over whether or not to engage in a dialogue with the Federal Government
over the crisis in the geopolitical zone.
While a self-acclaimed spokesperson
for the Avengers, Mr. Ballantyne Agiri, said in a statement on Wednesday that
the NDA was ready to enter into dialogue with the Federal Government for a
possible ceasefire in the region, the Avengers in a counter-statement by Mudoch
Agbinibo, denied the claim.
Agiri had in a statement made available
to press on Wednesday, said that it had constituted a contact and dialogue
group to engage the Federal Government in meaningful dialogue as part of the
initiatives to resolve the crisis.
Agiri said that the group was
determined to come out with results that would yield a lasting peace, equity,
justice and harmony among all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
While urging Nigerians and the
international community to follow developments on the issue closely and watch
out for which side would violate the terms, rules and spirit of the dialogue,
Agiri said, “The body has collectively and willingly agreed to heed the clarion
call of eminent Nigerians and international community to hold dialogue with the
The statement added, “The Federal
Government should from the inception of the dialogue rule out from the agenda
any monthly monetary inducement or stipend for the NDA.
“The Federal Government should be
ready for structural changes that should be human and development-oriented.
“Members of the Avengers’ group
(who will participate in the dialogue) have already been selected, each based
on his integrity, forthrightness, honesty and life track records.”
The group said that the names of
members of the group for now would not be made public for personal reasons,
until they begin functioning in few days ahead.
But the spokesman for the NDA, Agbinibo,
while responding to claims coming from Agiri, dismissed the idea, saying there
was no iota of truth in Agiri’s statement.
It stressed that, “We are not going
into any peace or dialogue talk.”
It added, “That report is not from
us. We are not in any form of dialogue agreement with anybody. It’s like the
government wants to dialogue with themselves.
The group later went on to their
twitter handle, operated by the spokesperson, Agbinibo, to also deny the
purported agreement for talks.
The NDA also denied knowing Agiri,
saying, “Who is Mr. Ballantyne Agiri, the claimed dialogue group spokesman? We
don’t know you. And please, stop fooling the general public.
“We are not ready for any
negotiation or dialogue with the Federal Government.”
The militant group has claimed
responsibility for major attacks on oil facilities in the region in recent
Agiri had in a statement issued on
Wednesday in Abuja claimed that the group had agreed to enter into a dialogue
with the Federal Government.