Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia, has turned down an offer to negotiate with the Federal Government on behalf of the militant groups in the Niger Delta.
Reports had suggested that the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which had claimed responsibility for blowing up oil and gas installations in the region in recent times, had nominated him and a few others to negotiate on its behalf.
But in a statement made available to the media on Wednesday, which was personally signed by him, he said though he was contacted by persons claiming to speak for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), he had not agree to negotiate on the militants’ behalf.
“My attention has been drawn to widespread reports in the media claiming that I have agreed to participate in negotiations with the Federal Government over the issue of attacks against oil installations in the Niger Delta on behalf of some of the alleged perpetrators of these actions or connected persons.
“This is not so. I wish to make it absolutely clear that I do not know the alleged perpetrators nor have I offered to serve as their representative in any prospective discussions with the Federal Government in any capacity whatsoever.
“I was recently contacted by someone who claimed to represent the MEND. In that conversation, the caller asked if I would be willing to participate in an initiative to find ways to end the attacks on oil installations through dialogue towards restoring peace and stability in the region.
“My brief response was that if the Federal Government was genuinely interested in entering into discussions with credible parties who could help to facilitate such a dialogue to halt the actions that were undermining the social and economic stability of the region and the nation, I would readily participate.
“In such an event, I would seek to articulate the proper interests of all law abiding Nigerians generally and the ordinary people of the Niger Delta states, in particular.
“I am not affiliated to or the official or legal representative of any particular group and I am certainly not an advocate for the unstated demands or actions of any insurgent organisations,” the statement read.