The Niger Delta Avengers has denied entering into a ceasefire agreement with the Federal Government as the new OPEC Secretary Mohammed Barkindo suggests Carrot and Stick approach.
In a reaction to media reports, the Niger Delta group denied signing a 30-day ceasefire pact with the government after sources at the Ministry of Petroleum, revealed that the NDA was among the group that agreed to a ceasefire agreement signed by the representatives of the Federal Government and Niger Delta militants.
But a Twitter post by the NDA said its “high command” was not aware of the reported ceasefire.
“The NDA high command never remembers having any agreement on ceasefire with the Nigerian Government,” it tweeted.
The NDA has taken a responsibility for a series of bombings of oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta in recent times.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Dr. Mohammed Barkindo, on Tuesday said the carrot and stick approach would help check the violence being unleashed by the Niger Delta Avengers.
The former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation spoke with State House correspondents shortly after holding a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said, “For me, based on my own experience here, the option of carrot and stick, as they call it, I think, is the way forward.
“Government, I understand, is negotiating, discussing and we are beginning to see positive results. So I don’t think it will be proper to preempt these discussions that are being handled by Dr. (Ibe) Kachikwu.
“But I remain confident that through these negotiations, stable and permanent solutions will be found to this problem, because the Niger Delta is a very important part of our country and whatever we can do to address the challenges of development, I think is the way forward.”
Barkindo said the OPEC took note of the falling production in Nigeria as a result of attacks on oil facilities. He said there were very positive reports that normalcy was being restored, adding that the support of the media was also very important because the oil market is fed by information, not by crude oil.
He said in view of the structural changes in the prices and cost of production of crude oil, OPEC member-countries must remain united to confront the challenges.
Barkindo said he had told Buhari that there was no alternative to the ongoing oil and gas sector’s reforms in Nigeria, saying they must be sustained.
He identified lack of continuity of policies and programmes as the bane of the Nigeria’s oil sector in the past, stressing that “Energy reforms, the world over, normally take some time to reach their targets.”
He said his six co-contestants for the OPEC top job stepped down for him because they considered Buhari’s integrity and status and believed that anybody the president endorsed should be given a chance.
Barkindo, who noted that he was the third OPEC Secretary-General elected from Nigeria, said his predecessors, Michael Fidele and Rilwanu Lukman did well, and he intended to follow their footsteps and do his best to ensure the nation remained globally respected.