Barring any unforeseen development, the Federal Government and Niger Delta leaders will be holding talks in two weeks time to resolve the face-off between the two sides.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu has already reached out to traditional rulers and opinion leaders from the zone to assure them of the FG’s readiness for peace.
Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark has also met with the representatives of other ethnic nationalities in the zone on forging peace in the area after a resurgence of violence by several militant groups, one of which threatened to declare secession.
Several sources in the zone said consultations were intensifying ahead of the talks.
“In the next two weeks, God willing, you should see a coordinated negotiation from the federal government side,” one of the sources told The Nation.
A member of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Timipa Jenkins Okponipere, said he was aware that all other groups had harmonised under the Chief Edwin Clark’s initiative and that the region is ready for the Federal Government.
Okponipere, who said he was not speaking for the pan- Niger Delta interest forum, said those from the Niger Delta side of the planned negotiation have fused into one.
Okponipere, who is the Secretary of the MEND’s Aaron’s Team 2 said: ”Consultations have been going on after that meeting with Chief Clark.
“Follow up consultations have been going on; recently the U.S delegation visited the Niger Delta and met with some appointed leaders representing Chief Clark.
“Actually, the Niger Delta side, led by Pa Clark, has done all it has to do, just waiting for the federal government; everything has been done, all the contacts have been made, all the groups have aligned under the Clark initiative.
”Only two days ago, I met with Ledum (Mitee) and Isine (Ibanga), all of us that were appointed by the MEND to work with Chief Clark, on our own we have been holding meetings and strategising so that we can come up with a position paper by the time the federal government calls us.
”The Niger Delta end is ready for the negotiation and everything has been harmonized. If you observe, the bombings have ceased. Note that I am not speaking as the mouthpiece of the Niger Delta, this is my own personal opinion. It is only Chief Edwin Clark, our leader, our leader, who can speak on these things. My opinion is not expressing the view or decision of the pan-Niger Delta body.”