According to Vanguard, three militant groups in the Niger Delta region – Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, Egbesu Red Water Lions and Egbesu Mightier Fraternity – have backpedalled on their earlier decision not to allow the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group (NDDCG) to represent them in the ongoing dialogue with the federal government. Confirming their part in the dialogue, the leadership of Reformed Egbesu Boys of Niger Delta in an electronic mail on behalf of other affiliate groups, said:
“A fortnight ago, we responded to this subject matter wherein we stated emphatically that the Niger Delta Dialogue and Contact Group had no mandate to negotiate on our behalf in respect of the renewed hostilities against oil and gas facilities.”
“We wish to state that the leadership of the Reformed Egbesu Boys of the Niger Delta, including the Egbesu Red Water Lions and the Egbesu Mightier Fraternity have been duly consulted and our mandate secured for the negotiation by the Diette- Spiff- led committee.”
The federal government has been making frantic efforts to get militants to the dialogue table in the wake of recent bombing of oil and gas facilities which have reduced Nigeria’s crude oil export to an all-time low. However, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the foremost militant group in the region, has counted itself out of the NDDCG talks with the government. MEND spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, who also confirmed the talks, said groups like Avengers and other internet-based militants were not part of it.