Barring last minute change, President Muhammadu Buhari will soon name his immediate predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan as the Federal Government envoy in latest move to quell the hostility in the region, News Punch has reliably informed.
Buhari's latest trip to London is not only for medical reasons but also there to find a way around the onslaught against oil installations in the Niger Delta, which has reduced oil output from 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to less than 1.3 million bpd, some senior government officials confided in our source, TheNiche Newspaper
That may lead to Buhari appointing former President Goodluck Jonathan his special envoy on Niger Delta affairs.
He has been conferring with Jonathan, representatives of international oil companies (IOCs), British government officials, and a faction of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) since he arrived London on June 6.
“For the record, Buhari is not coming to London for ear infection treatment but for a secret negotiation meeting with the Niger Delta Avengers,” an insider who is privy to the behind the scene arrangement told TheNiche on the condition of anonymity.
Jonathan met with Buhari in Aso Rock on June 3, and flew to London on June 6 to deliver a lecture organised by Bloomberg.
Buhari, who is expected into the country on Friday, June 17, may also announce the appointment of Jonathan as his special envoy on Niger Delta affairs, sources said.
They added that this proposition became crucial following the rejection of the peace deal by the NDA which was brokered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the governors of oil producing states last week.
The militants insisted in a tweet that “we are not negotiating with any committee. If the federal government is discussing with any group, they are doing that on their own.”
They announced in the same tweet that at 10: a.m. on Wednesday, June 8 they blew up an oil well (Well RMP 20) belonging to Chevron located 20 metres away from Dibi flow station in Warri North Council, Delta State.
It was learnt that the IOCs and the British government prevailed on Buhari to leverage on the goodwill of Jonathan in the Niger Delta and use him to stabilise things there, otherwise it would be bad business for everyone.
How Abuja intends to fund the N6.07 trillion 2016 budget remains tricky if it fails to resolve the impasse which has left the treasury broke.