As Federal Government increases its efforts aimed at finding lasting solution to the crisis in the Niger Delta that has led to the loss of about 700,000 barrels of crude oil daily, the European Union has indicated interest in partnering with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
This was revealed at meeting between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani and a delegation from the European Union and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) led by Michel Arrion.
Expressing his delight at the proposed collaboration, Usani reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government at curbing the crisis as part of efforts to sustain the development of the region.
He lamented that despite the palliative measures put in place by previous administrations to cater to the yearnings of the militants, the crises still persist.
Usani stated that it will be difficult to continue negotiations with militants “if arms are not removed from the region”.
Though the Federal Government is currently in negotiation with the militants, he stressed that there was the need for an evaluation of the Amnesty Programme before further headways could be made.
The Minister said that “ceasefire doesn’t mean there is an end of war, rather it is to see how we can negotiate on ending the destruction of the nation’s source of revenue”.
He stated that even though government is mindful of respecting human rights in fighting militancy, he stressed that the act is a threat to the nation’s existence which should not be taken lightly.
Usani added that government “will not give leverage to them to cause more damage to Nigeria and Nigerians” even though it is limited in its fight due to its respect of national and international human rights laws.
In his remarks, Arrion said the interest to collaborate on ending the crisis was sparked by the importance of the Nigeria in West Africa, stating that the stability and prosperity of Nigeria are important to the “stability and growth of Europe”.