*Says challenges in the region being addressed
The federal government has called on the Niger Delta Avengers to be patient and not to disrupt oil and gas operations in the region, saying that efforts are being made to address their grievances.
Speaking to State House correspondents after a close-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, said government has already resolved some of the challenges in the region.
“We haven’t discussed the avengers per se, but it is of essence as the President has always shown indication that whatever we need to and can do to sustain peace in the region, we would continue to do it. And of course, the benefit of that, you are aware that the Vice President has been chairing the committee that handles the issues they are raising.
“And so, while that goes on operationally, headed by the Vice President’s position in the committee, the President just needs to be briefed on our efforts though we know that the Vice President is briefing him from time to time but as per the Avengers issue, it was not discussed. On a general note, it is understood that we have to be engaged to be able to sustain the peace that prevailed for a while.
“My message is not just verbal but it has been demonstrated by the fact at all times. The government of which I am part, my role as minister in charge of the region, we have been appealing with them to just be patient with us, because, most of the time, the issues that are brought up are those that tend to portray the quest for development of the region,” he said.
He said the federal government would continue to dialogue with all aggrieved groups in the Niger Delta region with a view to ensuring peace and stability in the country.
The minister also told journalists that he briefed the President on the current development at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other projects being executed to uplift the quality of life of the people in the region.
“For a while, he has not been round and their things he needed to know from me. So, I had to brief on issues pertaining to the ministry, the projects that are going and other anthropogenic issues that have to do with the general matters concerning the Niger Delta region especially, at the throw up of some of the concerns bothering on who is right to speak for, who not right to speak for, and then the issues of the Niger Delta Development Commission,” he said.