The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has confirmed that it is holding talks with the Federal Government.
This will put to rest, claims by some groups in the Niger-Delta that the Federal Government is not serious about holding talks with militants.
The government had earlier said oil companies in the region are negotiating on their behalf.
MEND also said the Federal Government chose to dialogue with them as progressives, and not criminal elements.
The militant group in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, said “The Niger Delta Avengers, internet-based ‘militant’ groups such as Joint Revolutionary Council, Ultimate Warriors etc., an Ijaw opportunistic tribal assembly, which were compromised to keep silent during the six (6) years of Goodluck Jonathan’s misrule and neglect, pirates, pipeline vandals, oil thieves, commercial kidnappers, waterway robbers, political thugs and miscreants all fall under this category.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to confirm that indeed it has been in preliminary talks with the Federal Government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies as revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, July 21, 2016.
“These preliminary talks are the precursor to a wider dialogue between the Federal Government and the MEND Aaron 2 peace initiative, which will seek to find solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region.”
The Niger Delta Avengers has however denied holding talks with the Federal Government.