After months of grandstanding, President Muhammadu Buhari has finally admitted the threat posed by the Niger Delta militants and has pleaded with them to lay down their arms for the sake of Nigeria.
The president also appealed to chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to reach out to their friends in the Niger Delta with possible connection to the militants in the creek to beg them to ceasefire.
President Buhari, who had deployed troops against the militants in disdain to international call for dialogue and negotiation, apparently worried stiff by the intensive bombing of oil installations in the Niger Delta with adverse consequences on foreign earnings for the country, passionately appealed to the militants in the name of God to sheath their swords.
Since February, the new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers and a host of others had consistently blown up oil installations belonging to NNPC, Shell, Agip and Chevron, among others even as the federal government stepped up military operations against them.
The militants were irked that Nigerian troops allegedly combed village to village assaulting people on sight and destroying property in the guise of searching for militants, particularly in Gbaramatu.
Nonetheless, the federal government, following persistent urgings by the international community, halted military assault in the creeks and extended the olive branch to the militants who promptly rejected negotiation on the grounds that so-called stakeholders invited and discussed with were politicians seeking relevance and not true representatives of the militants.
They vowed to sustain attacks on oil installations.
The attacks crippled the economy even as dwindling oil prices in the international market continues to hurt Nigeria’s prospects for improved financial haul from its sole source of earning revenue.
Therefore, on Friday, Buhari begged the militants and their leaders to consider the overall interest of the country as the economy is out of shape now.
“For those of you, who have friends either among the leadership or among the militants themselves, please beg them in the name of God Almighty to take it easy. We need to stabilise the economy to create employment.
“We are in a very difficult time. It is particularly bad. We have to organise ourselves and our constituencies. Tell them we are all in this together,” he told party leaders.
The worried president, who only few days earlier had acknowledged that governing Nigeria was a difficult task, admitted that the country was facing tough time and needs the cooperation of all for the economy to be resuscitated.
National Chairman of APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, commended the steps taken so far by the President to reposition the country, assuring him of the support of party members.
“Any meaningful development requires strong and determined leader. Things must change. Those things don’t come easily. Nigeria is clearly a difficult nation to govern,” he admitted.
Some of the party leaders in attendance include former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Naaba; APC Deputy National Chairman (South), Segun Oni; and former Bayelsa State Governor, Timipre Sylva among others, to beg the militants.

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