Nigeria’s federal government and 12 militant groups ba sed in the country’s oil-rich state of Bayelsa have signed a cease-fire agreement to signal the end of hostage taking, pipeli ne vandalism and piracy in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.
But the deal has been weakened by the refusal of the region’s largest militant group to sign it.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has denounced the deal as a ‘ruse’ designed by some people to hoodwink the international communit y .
Under the agreement, signed in the Bayelsa capital, Yenagoa, Thursday, the gov ernment will police the creeks and bring to book anyone caught engaging in ‘nefarious acts’ in the oil region, while the government is expect ed to implement a seven-point development agenda for the region.
No time frame was set for the implementation of the agreement, which was broke red by a Senate committee on peace in the volatile oil region.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of nearby Rivers state, who stood in for Vice Presiden t Goodluck Jonathan, witnessed the signing of the agreement, which is expected to be replicated in Rivers and Delta states.
Amaechi said the panacea to the violence in the region was the massive creatio n of jobs to deter the youths from carrying arms out of frustration.
Attacks on oil facilities and abduction of oil workers in the region have comb ined to slash Nigeria’s oil production and forced some companies to relocate from the Niger Delta.
– Agency Report