FG offers to negotiate with Avengers following ceasefire cancellation

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The minister for Nigeria’s oil-producing Delta region said on Monday the government was ready to meet militants days after they called off a year-long ceasefire, Tribune Online reports.

Minister of Niger Delta, Usani Uguru Usani asked the Niger Delta Avengers to be patient and said the government was pushing through development schemes in the southern territory where rights groups have long complained about poverty and pollution. The Avengers – whose attacks on energy facilities in the Niger Delta last year helped push Africa’s biggest economy into recession – called off the ceasefire on Friday.

Reuters said the announcement threatened to push one of Nigeria’s economic heartlands further into turmoil and disrupt the country’s fragile recovery. It also piled pressure onto President Muhammadu Buhari who is already facing the jihadist Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast and rising calls for secession in the southeast.