A former presidential adviser, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa says she will be on the negotiation table for peace between Niger Delta militants and the Federal Government only if credible Nigerians are involved.
The former lawmaker was reacting to reports that she had agreed to negotiate with the government on behalf of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, for peace to return to the region.
In a statement released on yesterday, she stated that for the benefit of the Niger Delta people, she will be willing to be a part of the dialogue, but would only be a part of negotiations that would bring lasting peace to the Niger Delta region.
Ita-Giwa said the resettlement of thousands of Bakassi people displaced following the ceding of peninsula to Cameroon must be part of the negotiations.
The statement read, “Recently, my attention has been drawn to a widespread report in the national dailies that I have agreed to serve in dialogue team with the Federal Government.
“I was, however, contacted by a representative of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta asking if I will be part of an initiative to find ways to end the ongoing attacks through dialogue towards restoring peace in the region.
“In my response, I said that I will consider serving if the Federal Government is willing to engage in discussions with credible Nigerians that have genuine interest and sympathy for the people of the region.”
It would be recalled that the Federal Government had, on June 6, announced that a committee has been set up to negotiate with the militant group.
Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu said the team to engage the militants will be coordinated by the office of the national security adviser.
The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani Uguru as well as selected leaders, kings and influential individuals from the Niger Delta will join Kachikwu as part of the team.
Few days after, MEND announced that it had setup a team for talks with government over the Niger Delta crisis.
It listed members of the team to include Henry Odein Ajumogobia SAN (Rivers), Bismark Rewane (Delta), Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa (Cross River), Timipa Jenkins Okponipere (Bayelsa), Ibanga Isine (Akwa Ibom), Ledum Mitee (Rivers) and Lawson Omokhodion (Edo state).