The European Union has indicated interest in partnering with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in finding a more effective and lasting solution to the recurring crises in the Niger Delta region.
This is on recognition of the huge impact the destruction of oil and gas installations by militants in the region has had on the economy and lives of Nigerians.
This was revealed, Thursday, in Abuja when a delegation from the European Union to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Economic Community of West Africa, led by Michel Arrion, paid the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, a visit.
While expressing his delight at the proposed collaboration, Usani reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to curbing the crises as parts of efforts to sustain 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 crises 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”.