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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Buhari: Militants want to colonise the economy but we’ll stop them

President Muhammadu Buhari says the objectives of the Niger Delta militants is to colonise the economy, but that his administration is up to the task of preventing that from happening.

Buhari said this on Monday during an audience with Frank-Walters Steinmeier, foreign minister of Germany, at the presidential villa in Abuja.

He said Germany could assist Nigeria to curb oil theft through assistance in the areas of equipment, training, and sharing of intelligence with the 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.

“The security challenge in the north-east is under control, with Boko Haram largely defeated, 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.”

Buhari said the Niger Delta situation was more complex, since the militants had no central command, and some of them were mere extortioners, but promised that a handle would be found to the unrest soon.

Steinmeier, in his response, said Germany was happy to hear of the strides taken by the Buhari administration against insurgents in the north-east, adding that they were equally willing to lend a helping hand in resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta.

Applauding the war against corruption, Steinmeier said it had his country’s support, adding that Germany was also interested in investing in renewable energy, gas exploration, mining, among others, to boost Nigeria’s economy.

“Germany will support development in Nigeria. We want closer cooperation on migration issues, urbanisation, and supporting the navy with equipment, training and intelligence,” he said.

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