The Federal Government has opened up covert talks with Niger Delta Avengers and other militants in the region.
The FG, in its wisdom, refused to officially set up a negotiating committee to hold talks with the militants in the restive region.
At least three meetings have taken place in the last few months between the militants and the federal government.
The negotiations are coordinated by emissaries from National Security Adviser, Major General Moh’d Moguno.
The backroom discussions, which have incorporated other smaller aggrieved groups, are continuing.
However, leaders across the region are anxious over the FG’s refusal to name an official negotiating team.
A source privy to close to the goings-on said government agents reached out directly to the groups.
The government refused to use third parties so as to learn first-hand the underlying reasons for their agitations.
The FG reached out to Avengers, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) and other smaller groups.
The source added that security agents subjected the groups to serious scrutiny which ensured that ‘portfolio militants’ were screened out.
According to the source, “Most of the issues being discussed still bordered on the 16-point demand led by Chief Edwin Clark.
“However, the Iduwini Volunteer Force (IVF), insisted on the direct payment of 13% derivation monies to host communities, not the states.”
One militant privy to the talks said “We have been meeting with the government through the office of the NSA.
“We have told them that the last amnesty program did not carry many genuine groups along.
“As far as you are cleared by the JTF, you are allowed to be part of those they are talking to.
“If they want peace, let them follow through with the withdrawal of soldiers from the creeks.
“They cannot be looking for peace and deploying soldiers to harass innocent people at the same time,” it added.
The source disclosed that the FG has not made any particular concession except to allow the Marine University in Okerenkoko, Tompolo’s town, to continue.