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Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka
and a former Governor of Abia, Dr. Orji Uzo Kalu, have been listed among a
seven-man team to lead the negotiation between the Niger Delta Avengers and the
Federal Government.

Other members of the team are Prof.
Steve Odi-Owei, Etubom (Dr.) Anthony Ani, Nalaguo Chris Alagoa, Chief (Mrs.)
Alice Mobolaji  Osomo, and Mr. Inienimi
Ballantyne Agiri, who has been acting as spokesman for the group. The committee
is expected negotiate on behalf of a faction of the militant group in the
eastern and central Niger Delta.

A statement signed by Agiri, who
speaks for a faction of NDA, representing the eastern and central parts of the
region and made available to PRESS on Saturday, said that Soyinka will serve as
adviser to the committee.

Agiri, said that the list was not
exhaustive as other people outside the shores of Nigeria had been contacted and
had shown interest in being observers in the dialogue process.

He said the Archbishop of the
Canterbury, Justin Weldy, a former Ghanaian President, John Kufor and a few
others, would also be consulted.

Soyinka was recently quoted as
urging the Federal Government to open dialogue with the militant groups, which
had been agitating for resource control for the Niger Delta region.

Attempts to get the Nobel laureate
were not successful on Saturday but when contacted Kalu welcomed the idea but
said he had not been formally informed by the Avengers that he will negotiate
for them.

He said, “Nigeria is our own and we
must go on the path of peace.

“I will negotiate for them if the
President agrees for us to negotiate for them. I cannot go without concurrent
agreement with the President saying that we should negotiate.”

Osomo also said that she had not
been formally consulted but expressed her willingness to be part of the team in
national interest.

Alagoa on his decision said
although  he was not a member of the group
but was contacted and had accepted to be a member of the team if only it would
bring a solution to militancy in the Niger Delta.

Continuing, Alagoa said that he was
also told that Soyinka and Kalu had been contacted, adding that he was also
informed that the list was not yet exhausted.

He said, I was approached and they
said that they have confidence in me and few other people to lead the dialogue.
If they are authentic to give me the chance to dialogue, it is okay.”

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