The Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson, has rejected the Nigerian Army’s threat of force if dialogue with militants in the area fails.Mr. Dickson said that would not be the best way to solve the crisis in the oil-rich region.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, had on Monday warned that the government would resort to military action if Niger Delta militants refuse to use peaceful means to press for their demands.
A new group, Niger Delta Avengers, has claimed responsibility for multiple attacks on oil and gas installations in the area.
Mr. Dickson advised that ongoing efforts at talks should be sustained.
“I have said that the issues in the Niger Delta, the terrain, the historic nature of the issues and challenges are such that military solution may not be the way forward. For us who are products of political system who are at this level, we have a duty to mobilize communal and local leadership; we have a duty to support the work intelligence and security agencies are doing, we have a duty to ensure that issues are better appreciated and that we fill the communication gap.
“And where there are issues those issues need be addressed and it’s also our duty to network like I’m doing to ensure that problems that are identified as the root cause of some of these challenges are looked into,” he said.
“The military solutions as I have always maintained is not the right option, we are hopeful that the ongoing discussions will yield the desired result. I have always been in support of negotiations, of dialogue as the sustainable way forward. Dialogue will bring out the issues and then we will all unite around these common issues to move our country forward,” he said.
Mr. Dickson was speaking to journalists on Wednesday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said he and the president exchanged ideas on the way to resolve the issues in the Niger Delta.