President Muhammadu Buhari has asked leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to help him pacify rampaging militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Lamenting the effect of attacks on oil installations, the president said the country does not need such a distraction at this point in time.
He said the militants were in possession of sophisticated equipment, adding that unlike the Boko Haram sect which has one faction, the militants are in so many groups, suggesting that government has been having challenges relating with them.
Buhari was speaking on Friday, at the breaking of fast dinner with the APC leadership at the presidential villa in Abuja.
“I honestly don’t know how many factions the militants are in the Niger Delta compared to the north-east where you have the Boko Haram,” he said.
“The technology being deployed by the militants to destroy oil installations is high-tech, the way they can go on high sea and international waters and target oil installations is a national problem. It is affecting development.
“No insurance company will want to insure installations that will end up being blown up and no banks will want to finance such installations.
“Those of you who have friends among the leadership or even the militants themselves should plead with them in the name of God Almighty to take it easy.
“We are in a very difficult time, so we have to organise ourselves. Anybody that says he has any other country than Nigeria should go out and see.”
He expressed delight that the primary election in Edo state was successful, and said close attention would be paid to Ondo state, which is next in line.
“The successful conduct of APC primaries in Edo state gave me a new hope,” he said.
“We are going to watch Ondo very closely, we have to ensure that the vote of the people count.”
John Oyegun, national chairman of the party, said the APC was pleased with the achievements of the president so far.
Oyegun, who acknowledged that Nigeria was passing through a difficult time, said “change does not come cheap or easily”.
“Things must change. Those things don’t come easily. Nigeria is clearly a difficult nation to govern,’’ he said.
Those at the event were former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; Ghali Na’aba, former speaker of the house of representatives; Segun Oni, the party’s deputy national chairman (south), and Timipre Sylva, former Bayelsa state governor.