Niger Delta AvengersThe Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is a new militant outfit which announced its formation in February 2016. The group claimed responsibility for attacks on oil and gas pipelines and installations in early 2016. The Niger Delta Avengers claimed that on 28 May 2016 they had blown up the trunkline linking the Dutch-British Shell company's Bonny terminal and the Brass export terminal of the Italian company Agip.
Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said in May 2016 that production had fallen by 800,000 bpd to 1.4 million bpd, the lowest in two decades. The key to Nigeria’s economic progress is stability in the Niger River Delta, where the bulk of the country’s oil and natural gas is produced and where a smoldering militancy and sabotage of production facilities threaten progress for the region’s 30 million residents.
From 2005 to 2010, oil production was significantly cut, with more than $50 billion lost, much of it revenue to the Nigerian government, through theft, called bunkering, and sabotage by militant groups claiming the region has been environmentally devastated by oil companies without receiving a fair share of revenues. After negotiating principally with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Nigerian government announced an amnesty late in 2009 that had some success in getting militants to hand over their arms, but violence continued in the region.
The group reiterated its threat to carry out an activity that will shock the world. The group spokesman, Colonel Mudoch Agbinibo, said “To the IOCs, indigenous oil companies and Nigerian military, watch out, something big is about to happen and it will shock the whole world.” The group said “This is just the beginning and you have not seen anything yet. We will make you suffer as you have made the people of Niger Delta suffered over the years from environmental degradation, and environment pollution”.
The Avengers had launched several attacks on oil and gas infrastructure since February 2016, demanding a sovereign nation of the Niger Delta people. The group said it’s aim is to cripple Nigeria’s economy while demanding the secession of the Niger-Delta region. The NDA avowed its support for Nnamdi Kanu, the head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who has been in detention in Nigeria since October 2015. On 07 May 2016 Niger Delta Avengers release 12 Point Agenda for Peace in Nigeria:
- Immediate implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference. Otherwise, this country will break-up forcefully.
- President Buhari, the DS SSS and Timipre Sylva should apologize to the people of the Niger Delta region and family of Late Chief DSP Alamieyesegha for killing him with intimidation and harassment because of his party affiliation.
- The ownership of oil blocks must reflect 60% for the oil producing people and 40% for the non-oil producing people.
- The only Nigerian Maritime University sited in the most appropriate and befitting place Okerenkoko must start the 2015/2016 academic session immediately.
- The minister of transportation, Mr Rotimi Amechi should apologize to the Ijaws and the entire Niger Delta people for his careless and reckless statement about the siting of the Maritime University.
- The Ogoniland and indeed ll oil polluted lands in the Niger Delta must be cleaned up and compensation be paid to all oil producing communities.
- Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the Leader of IPOB must be released unconditionally as the court said.
- The Niger Delta Amnesty programme must be well funded and let it continue to run effectively.
- All APC members that are indicted in any corruption related cases should be made to face trial like the PDP members. Otherwise Buhari should shamefully forget about this nonsense anti-corruption fight.
- All oil multi-nationals and foreign investors should observe this ultimatum, as their business interest in the country must be first target.
- A word is enough for the wise.
- Give Biafra her freedom unconditionally.
The Nigerian Army on 29 May 2016 said it arrested 10 suspected militants and pipeline vandals in the Niger Delta region. The Commander, 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Benin City, Farouk Yahaya, said the suspects were arrested during a cordon and search exercise conducted in Oporozoa community and its environs in Delta State. Nigerian authorities are ready to sit down at the negotiating table with militants from the Niger Delta Avengers movement that are sabotaging the oil industry in the country, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari told journalists. At the same time, the Nigerian leader said: “All criminals and their sponsors will be caught and brought to justice”.
Community leaders in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta voiced support for a new group of violent militants, saying their demands for a greater share of oil wealth match the aspirations of local people to protest decades of abuse and pollution. They accused Nigeria's government of a heavy-handed military response and warned such a campaign will not stop attacks that have cut oil production by more than 40 percent. Another group calling itself the Red Egbesu Water Lions vowed to join the fight if some of the Avengers' demands were not met.
The recent activities of the militants were blamed for the worsening power situation in the country as pipelines which transport gas to power generating stations were blown up. Their activities also led to a reduction in Nigeria’s oil production, leading to less money available for all tiers of government in a period of economic downturn. They describe themselves as " young, educated, well traveled and most of us were educated in east Europe".
The group may include disaffected ex-militants who had not benefited from the presidential amnesty program that brought the previous campaign to a close in 2009. The Avengers criticize the older groups of militants for kidnapping people, killing Nigerian soldiers and allegedly enriching themselves after the 2009 amnesty program. The older alliance of militants had a diverse group of leaders who contracted out attacks on oil infrastructure.
The Avengers claim that 90% oil blocs are allocated to individuals from northern Nigeria. Over "80% of the oil blocs are allocated to northerners and the rest 20% is spread among the Easterners and westerners."
"The Niger Delta has been neglected for more than 50 years which gave birth to the arm struggle in the region but after the proclamation of the the presidential amnesty to all agitators by President Umaru Musa Yara- duha little or none has been done about the Niger delta ... After looking at all these injustices and devilish acts going on in Nigeria the Niger Delta Avengers concludes that nobody is loyal to this entity called Nigeria instead, we are insisting that the entity called Nigeria should break up and lets the South, East, West and North be govern by their own."
"To the United Nations, we are not asking for much but to free the people of the Niger Delta from environmental pollution, slavery, and oppression. We want a country that will turn the creeks of the Niger delta to a tourism heaven, a country that will achieve its full potentials, a country that will make health care system accessible by everyone. ... By October 2016 we will display our Currency, Flag, Passport, our ruling Council and our Territory to the world.... The recent happenings in the country is clear eye opener to how the Nigeria state has derailed and its heading to nowhere."
In late May 2016 a new currency was unveiled by militants in the Niger Delta. The new currency was said to have started circulating with the Niger Delta, and militants in the oil rich region are using it to inform the government of their demands for sovereignty in the region. According to The Daily Globe Watch, the separatist feelings and aspirations which resulted in the ongoing bombing of oil and gas facilities in the region eventually found expression in unveiling its ‘national’ currency.
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