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Despite an earlier report in which the Nigerian government stated that it had reached a one-month cease-fire with the Niger Delta Avengers, the group now says it has not agreed to such a deal.
The announcement came on Tuesday, and was it was reported by the country’s media that the agreement was reached last week. Reportedly, Ibe Kachikwu, who is the Nigerian minister for State Petroleum Resources met with representatives from the militants in the Delta, which included members of the Avengers.
Mohammed Barkindo, who is the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), stated on Tuesday that he was hopeful that the government would be able to negotiate a permanent solution to the crisis in the delta.
Barkindo suggested that the government use a “carrot and stick” strategy to come to terms with the militants. Barkindo said that according to his sources, production is on the rise in the region, and that the situation in the area was returning to normal. Barkindo expressed his confidence that the negotiations would produce “stable and permanent solutions” to the conflict.
While the Nigerian government announced a ceasefire and Barkindo asserted his confidence in the potential for successful negotiations, the Niger Delta Avengers claimed that they had not agreed to a ceasefire, stating on Twitter that they do not remember a ceasefire agreement with the government.
The group has claimed responsibility for an attack on the 15th of June, and has been blamed for attacks that shuttered Chevron and Shell plants.
The Avengers have said that they will reduce Nigeria oil production to zero. So far, Nigeria has seen its production drop from 2.2 million barrels per day to 1.4 million. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari has accused the Avengers of vandalism and stated that the government would deal with them as it is coping with Boko Haram.
Earlier in the month, the government had said that it would scale back military action in the delta in an effort to encourage negotiations with the group. The Avengers had agreed to the talks on the condition that the government first meet its demands.
By Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com
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Lincoln Brown is the former News and Program Director for KVEL radio in Vernal, Utah. He hosted “The Lincoln Brown Show” and was penned a…