Avengers insist on restructuring, threaten fresh hostilities in Niger Delta


• Experts urge govt to avert attack on oil facilities

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) yesterday renewed call for restructuring of the country, threatening to resume hostilities in the oil-rich region if the demand is not carried out.

The militants said an agreement had been reached that the incessant killings and division of Nigeria along divergent lines made now the perfect time to restructure the country.

“We state in plain terms that anybody against restructuring is an enemy of this country and particularly an enemy of the Niger Delta Avengers. We shall not rest until such enemies are defeated by the Niger Delta people who earnestly seek to control their own resources.“”While promising a brutal outpour of our wrath, which shall shake the coffers of the failed Nigerian nation, our demand unambiguously is for the government to restructure this country,” the group said in a statement posted on its website yesterday.

Spokesman for the militants, Murdoch Agbinibo said in the statement that the group would target deep sea operations of the multinationals, including Bonga Platform, Agbami, EA Field, Britania-U Field and Akpo Field littered across the deep waters of the Niger Delta region. “We are advising that operators of the Egina FPSO should let it stay wherever it is right now as we are tracking its movement. We mean it when we say they (the oil installations) shall dance to the sound of the fury of the Niger Delta Avengers.”

The militants recalled that on November 3, 2017 they promised to reactivate “operation red economy” but as usual “some overzealous and over patriotic elders” intervened and appealed that they be given more time to attend to the demands of the Niger Delta as championed by the Avengers.

“That we have not achieved any meaningful results despite the opportunities we have availed the elders means that they are either irresponsible or the Nigerian government is not sincere with them as it is their trade in stock. “Because of the above, we have resolved not to listen to the Niger Delta elders as we unravel our New Year package to the failed Nigerian state this time around,” the statement further read.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders have decried the threat, saying fresh violence in Niger Delta would thwart the country’s efforts to woo investors back to the oil and gas industry and implement its budget. Noting that increasing oil price and rise in production capacity are helping Nigeria to stabilize, the expert said government’s inability to halt the looming hostilities would worsen the poor economic situation.

Chief Executive Officer, Oildata Energy GroupEmeka Ene, said unless a proactive measure was adopted to avert attacks on oil facilities, expected investment in the sector would remain elusive.

“All parties must understand that we are facing a global risk. Oil price hit $70 last week and that shows that the sector is building up again for investment. This is the time that all parties and stakeholders need to come together to take advantage of the situation. Also, we just came out recession so it is in our collective interest to work together to move the country out of poverty and move the sector forward,” he said.

According to him, the parties must understand that there won’t be anything to share if nothing is available.Chairman, South-South Forum and National Vice President, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Billy Harry said the government must do everything to honour its promises to the region.

Harry appealed to the militants to remain calm, stressing that any hostility against oil facility in the region would affect the country’s economy and worsen environmental challenges in the region.

“Government needs to avoid elusive promises. What is needed is honesty and transparency and pragmatic actions to resolving issues,” Harry said. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Idang Alibi said ending hostilities in the oil-producing region remained a major agenda of government.

Alibi appealed to the militants to avoid any action of that would cripple the country’s economy. “Government is doing its possible best to address challenges raised by the region. One of their demands is on the petroleum university and some money have already been allocated. Their demands are diverse in nature and may not work as fast as expected,” Alibi told The Guardian.

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