Begin Dialogue with FG or We’ll Use Force – Buratai

The Chief of Nigerian Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai. Official military photo.

The Nigerian military has urged the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to begin dialogue with the Federal Government of Nigeria as they will not hesitate to use force against them if a negotiable truce agreement is unreachable.

The NDA are a militant group in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.The NDA have been attacking pipelines and major oil facilities in Nigeria since March 2016 reducing oil output in the oil rich region.The group has accused the Federal Government of neglecting the region for over 50 years.

There has been no official confirmed dialogue between the Federal Government and the militants, but there have been reports of communication between the two parties. On June 26th, the Vanguard published a news report on its official site stating that the Avengers had asked President Buhari to call for a referendum for Nigerians to decide if they want to stay as one country or not. The statement was allegedly made in response to the President’s appeal for them to cease bombing oil and gas installations in the country.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai urged the militants to be moderate in their demands.

Buratai’s representative made this statement at the launching of the 2nd Brigade headquarters complex with an Olympic size swimming pool in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Monday. Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru (General officer commanding 82 Enugu) represented Buratai.

He expressed confidence in the Buhari led administration, insisting that they are committed to negotiating with the militants, though force has always been an option. He said the “Government is still committed to dialogue and hereby this cannot go on – then there could be resort to other means. The non-kinetic means has always been the source first before government can recourse to the kinetic means.”

On the upside, the military also promised to be of service in the forthcoming legislative rerun elections in Rivers State. He also complained that the military is currently facing a shortage of housing, offices and other basic facilities, he said the newly built Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) barracks and brigade quarters would provide a conducive environment for soldiers and officers to operate.