The Federal Government on Monday said it has not closed the avenues for negotiations with the new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, saying it would explore every available opportunity for negotiation so that the group can stop bombing of oil pipelines and platforms.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, stated this at the South-South Town Hall Meeting held at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotels and Golf Resort in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Kachikwu said there was no theater in the world where conflicts have been resolved through battle, insisting that his mandate as the minister of state for petroleum was to protect oil production and to generate more revenue for the government.
He said the government’s resolve to negotiate with the militant group was not a sign of weakness, stressing that massive bombing of a territory would not articulate a solution to the already exiting problem.
The minister said: “There is no theater in the world where conflicts have been resolved through battle. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. I have too many objectives in this portfolio and one of them is to protect production and generate the revenue because if we don’t all the things we are talking about here is just a joke.
“I believe that massive bombing of a territory is not going to articulate solution. It has never worked because at the end of the day you will leave with the effects of that destruction. That is probably what has caused most of the problems in the world today.
“This is not issue of weakness. We will explore every avenue for negotiation. The military strength of this country is not in doubt. I think if anybody doubted it, you will see what has happened to Boko Haram.
“But we will first discuss. We will first negotiate but if doesn’t work we will not know what to do. But I have not seen evidence that the avenues for negotiations have closed. We are making a dramatic progress and I will like to push those frontiers.”