Militancy: Govt, Avengers dialogue amidst protest, threat from other groups
Since the resurgence of militancy in the Niger-Delta region, several allegations have been made against the new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), its motives and implications of its actions. Prominent among such allegations was that the group was not fighting the Niger-Delta cause, but that of Ijaw people, who were alleged to be their members.
It was also alleged that the group is being sponsored by the beneficiaries of the immediate past administration mainly from the Niger Delta region, who are being tried for alleged corrupt practices now.
In the light of this development and seeming move by the Federal Government to dialogue with the group to restore peace in the region, other ethnic groups from the oil producing areas have been threatening fire and brimstone.
They warned the government against engaging in a selective dialogue with the Avengers, stressing if there is anything contrary, they will soon start destroying oil pipelines in their areas. They argued that if there should ever be dialogue with the Avengers, other oil producing communities in the country must be carried along.
It appeared that not many including the Federal Government took their warnings and agitations, considering its silence since then. In what looked like living up to threat, a new militant group named Niger Delta Red Squad (NDRS) recently surfaced in Imo State. They have claimed responsibility for the bombing of two pipelines belonging to Elf Oil Company at Awara, Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area and threatened to attack Shell pipelines in Oguta Local Government Area and shut down all oil wells in the State. This is coming barely two weeks after lawmakers queried the exclusion of the state from Federal Government’s proposed dialogue with oil producing states in Niger Delta to quell the current hostilities by Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
The lawmakers, during plenary marking the beginning of the new legislative year, argued that the state had been deliberately sidelined by the facilitators of the dialogue because of its youths’ disposition to peace.
They expressed worry that the exclusion might trigger militancy similar to what was happening in other Niger Delta states.
There is urgent need for government to finding solution to the resurgence of militancy in the oil producing areas now, stakeholders say the situation may spell more doom on the country’s economy in the days ahead.