Niger Delta leaders had on Tuesday, November 1, held a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to find a lasting solution to the violence in the region.
The leaders, in a 16-point request presented to the President, demanded oil blocks, the award of contracts to indigenes of the region, review of the amnesty programme, among others.
But the militants disowned the leaders present at the meeting, saying none of them is aware of the plight of the Niger Delta people.
The Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front and the Concerned Militant Leaders, in separate statements, lamented that no former militant leader was among those chosen to be part of representatives of the region at the meeting.
Leaders of the two groups, General Ben and General Playboy stressed that all the so-called Niger Delta leaders at the meeting cannot protect the interest of the people of the region unless recognised former militant leaders are part of such gathering.
The militant groups said: "Pipeline bombing cannot stop because the people going for the meeting do not know why they are going there. It is not the first, second, or third time and would not be the last. So, we cannot be deceived or bamboozled by whatever tag is given to the meeting.
"We insist on implementation of the report of the National Conference and other reports on the development of Niger Delta region. Anything short of this is insincere and will not be accepted. For a genuine peace, past reports of several commissions on Niger Delta must be visited."
General Playboy specifically said: "Our elders and leaders are not helping matters at all. They do not really know the plight of Niger Delta people because they are wealthy, quite rich and do not take issues about the region seriously.
"They do not know the common people in the region because they are not based in Niger Delta and cannot show holistic commitment to our struggle. Our elders represent themselves, and not the people in the rural areas.
"We don’t need people who will play politics with the genuine struggle of Niger Delta people. We don’t want people, who are not agitators. The real agitators are people like Alhaji Asari Dokubo, High Chief Government Tompolo, Egberipapa, General Africa, General Joshua and many others.
"These are the kind of people that can negotiate for our people. They know the plights of the Niger Delta people because they live in the same environment with them. They are not based abroad. They come down to the communities to know the feelings of the people. Such people should represent us."
President Buhari had assured the leaders that the government would look into their requests and act accordingly.