There was palpable tension on Saturday
night, within the Niger Delta region, following a renewed threat by a
volatile militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, to resume
hostilities on oil facilities.
As a result, the Presidency, many oil
firms, and contractors, were seen in panic mood; a situation that the
locals said was worse than the scenario in September 2016, before the
group declared a cease fire.
Before the declaration of the ceasefire
last year, the group’s activities had shut down Nigeria’s oil output by
nearly 50 percent, effectively driving the economy towards recession.
An NDA Spokesman, self-style Brig.Gen Mudoch Agbinib, said the Federal Government had been taking the group for granted.
“It has been evidently clear that the Nigerian State, is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation.
“All fighters and commands, are hereby
placed on high readiness in your webs of operations, to hit and knock
the enemy very hard,” he stated.
According to the group, nobody should be surprised with the way the renewed hostility could take.
The group, which code-named the new
hostility as, “Operations Walls of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua,”
further stated, “We will not agree to any cease fire, until we reclaim
Reports, say other militant groups in
the region, except the Avengers, had split into different factions,
making control of their struggle uncoordinated.
However, what is said to have spurred
the militants into action, was the latest published list by the Nigerian
National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, of about 40 firms given the
contracts to lift crude oil from the oil-rich region, which majorly
excluded those from the Niger Delta region.
Another former militant group, the
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, which had agreed
to lay down arms, in 2009, had also announced its loss of confidence in
the government, to bring peace to the region.
The two groups were alleged to be the
main brain behind pipeline attacks, which began in early 2015, reducing
greater share of Nigeria’s economy.
Also, in what appears as a coordinated
response, Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, an umbrella body of some very
senior citizens in the Niger Delta region, led by Edwin Clark, had also
warned that the patience of the different interest groups in the region
was running out, and that peace might no longer be guaranteed.