President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday called on Niger Delta militants blowing up and gas pipelines in the region to embrace peace or “be dealt with like Boko Haram”.
“We are talking to some of their leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us,” Mr. Buhari said during a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The President spoke on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi, Kenya, according to a presidential statement sent to TheSimonAtebaNews.
Attacks on oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers since March this year have crumbled Nigeria’s oil output by 700 thousand barrels daily and denied the country of N250 billion in July alone.
The militants announced recently that they were ready to negotiate but persistent wrangling among several factions have left the government confused, Mr. Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s spokesman, said on Friday during his appearance on Channels Television.
Mr. Adesina said the office of the National Security Adviser has been contacted by at least 30 different groups claiming to be the genuine Avengers, adding that it left the government confused.
On Saturday, in Nairobi, President Buhari tried to reassure foreign investors that Nigeria was safe for business even with the Boko Haram threat and Niger Delta militants’ attacks on oil installations. “As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments. We realise that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it,” Mr. Buhari said.
The President told the Japanese leader that with the defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists by the military, the attention of the administration is now focused on stopping the destruction of the country’s economic assets by militants in the Niger Delta region.
President Buhari told the Japanese Prime Minister that security in the Gulf of Guinea, which is greatly affected by piracy and armed robbery at sea, was a priority for the Nigerian government.
‘‘We have provided funds to our Navy to buy new platforms, train and effectively organize the personnel to protect the area. We are looking forward to support from developed nations for satellite surveillance covering the Gulf,’’ the President said.
He assured existing and prospective foreign investors that their investments in Nigeria will be fully secured and protected.