President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday that the objective of the militancy in the Niger Delta region is to colonise Nigeria economically.
He spoke on Monday during an audience with the Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr Frank-Walters Steinmeier, at the State House, Abuja.
Noting that the militants are engaging in sophisticated sabotage, Buhari said that efforts were on to dialogue with their leaders.
Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said: “But another serious form of insecurity has reared its head in the Niger Delta. The objective is to colonise the country economically by sabotaging oil and gas installations. We are trying to speak with their leaders, to know how many groups there are, and we are also working with the oil companies.”
“The militants engage in sophisticated sabotage, using skills they had gained from trainings either by government, or the oil companies, to vandalise installations deep in the sea. We need to understand who the real agitators are and engage with them, so that confidence can be restored in the region,” the President added.
He said that the Niger Delta situation was more complex, since the militants had no central command, and some of them were mere extortioners. He promised that a solution would be found to the unrest soon.
Buhari said Germany could help curb oil theft in Nigeria through assistance in equipment, training, and sharing of intelligence with the Nigeria Navy.
“Nigeria’s oil is stolen, and taken away through the Gulf of Guinea. Adequate training and equipping of our navy will prevent this,” he said.
He told the visitor that the security challenge in the Northeast was under control, with Boko Haram largely defeated.
Dr Steinmeier, replying, said Germany was happy to hear of the strides taken by the Buhari administration against insurgents in the Northeast, adding that they were equally willing to help in resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta.
Applauding the war against corruption, Dr. Steinmeier said it had his country’s support, adding that Germany was also interested in investing in renewable energy, gas exploration and mining, among others, to boost Nigeria’s economy.
“Germany will support development in Nigeria. We want closer cooperation on migration issues, urbanization, and supporting the navy with equipment, training and intelligence,” he said.