Nigeria’s government will seek a lasting peace settlement with militants in the oil-producing southern Niger Delta region in 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari said.
Attacks by militants, who want a greater share of the country’s energy wealth to go to the impoverished oil-producing swampland, have been less frequent since November when Buhari held talks with community leaders from the region.
“We will continue to pursue peace initiatives in the Niger Delta as I, again, call on our brothers in that region who have taken to violent disruptions of economic infrastructure to come to the negotiating table,” Buhari said in a New Year message.
“In this new year, I want to reassure all Nigerians that our defence and security forces are more than ever before ready to perform their constitutional role of protecting lives and property,” Buhari said.
He listed other security concerns, including the threat posed by Islamist militant group Boko Haram which the president said last week had been pushed out of its stronghold in the remote northeastern Sambisa forest.
After pushing militants out of the forest, Buhari said Nigerians should “watch out for strange figures settling in their communities”.
He said authorities would help to resettle some of the two million people displaced by the group’s seven-year insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state in the northeast of Africa’s most populous nation.
A man purporting to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has denied that the group had been pushed out of the Sambisa forest.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK