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Mend Confirms Talk With Buhari, Says Avengers Were Excluded Because They're Criminals

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) says President Muhammadu Buhari is right to have said that the federal government was discussing with militants through oil companies and law enforcement agents.

This comes after ‎President Muhammadu Buhari had said on Thursday that his administration was “talking with Niger Delta militants through oil companies and law enforcement agencies”, to find a lasting solution to insecurity in the region.

However, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) issued a denial the following day, saying “President Buhari-led government is not sincere to the Nigeria people and their foreign allies”.

But responding on Sunday, MEND confirmed that it had indeed been holding “preliminary talks” with the federal government.

It said militant groups such as the avengers were excluded because they belong to the group of “criminals” whome the federal government had said from start that it would never dialogue with.

“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) wishes to confirm that indeed it has been in preliminary talks with the Federal Government through oil companies and law-enforcement agencies as revealed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, July 21, 2016,” read a statement issued by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo.

“These preliminary talks are the precursor to a wider dialogue between the Federal Government and the MEND Aaron 2 peace initiative which will seek to find solutions to the short, medium and long-term future of the Niger Delta region.

“The Federal Government made it clear during our meetings that negotiations with criminals is out of the question.

“The Niger Delta Avengers, internet-based ‘militant’ groups such as Joint Revolutionary Council, Ultimate Warriors etc, an Ijaw opportunistic tribal assembly who were compromised to keep silent during the 6 years of Goodluck Jonathan’s misrule and neglect, pirates, pipeline vandals, oil thieves, commercial kidnappers, waterway robbers, political thugs and miscreants all fall under this
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