The Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group in Nigeria’s oil-producing Delta region on Saturday announced it return and threatened to resume attacks amid rising insecurity and disagreements over the share of oil wealth communities should get.
To this end, when history of similar event is considered, it is pertinent that the federal government gives listening ears to the grievances of the group before it becomes too late.
It will be recalled that the militant group almost halved Nigeria’s oil production in 2016, a year into the first tenure of President Muhamadu Buhari, with recurring attacks on underwater pipeline.
The 2016 attacks cut oil production from a peak of 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) to near 1 mbpd, the lowest level in Africa’s top oil producer in decades, forcing the country into into recession at that time.
Unfortunately, in a statement on Saturday, the militant group who revealed that it has exhausted the very last iota of patience, said it had launched ‘Operation Humble’ which is targeted at crippling the Nigerian economy because government has allegedly failed to meet its demand.
It also added that it has lost confidence in the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), which played a critical role to make the group accept ceasefire in 2017 and consequently threatened to attack politicians who are working with the Federal Government “to undermine the Niger Delta region”.
We have lost total confidence on all socio-cultural groups like PANDEF, the elders of Niger Delta and the bunch of so-called ex-agitators frolicking with the Government at our detriment.
“This operation shall be coded ‘Operation Humble’‚ aimed at bringing down targeted oil installations in the Niger Delta Region, capable of humbling the economy into permanent recession.”
We shall spare no single oil installation within our range of strategic targets marked for destruction in the coming days and we bet the Nigerian Government will be humbled to return to the drawing board and chart an all-inclusive course by the time we are done with our action plan; the group added.
Nigeria’s security nationwide is passing through a tough time, with kidnappings for ransom in the northwest, deadly Islamist insurgencies in the northeast and a string of deadly attacks on police in the southeast.
Although, the military is deployed across most of Nigeria’s states, however, the violence in those state is yet to be over.
To this end, it wise that the federal government do not allow the escalating insecurity situation in the country to slip further into chaos by allowing this militant group to start wreaking havoc in the Niger Delta region.
Hence, the Buhari-led administration is advised to engage the militant in talks before they make reality of their threat, and also to avoid compounding the work of military and other security operatives who are already battling other forms of criminality across the country.
Additionally, worthy of note is that the Niger Delta Avengers are known to be in the business of destroying oil infrastructure, working in teams, carrying small arms and explosives, blowing up pipelines and sabotaging facilities, as they take advantage of the Delta’s complex, creek-filled terrain to stay one step ahead of the Nigerian soldiers chasing them.
Consequently, it is important that the Federal Government take the threat by the group seriously, to prevent any form of setback to the nation’s economy, particularly at a time like this when the economy is barely striving hard to stay afloat.
Already, the Dollar exchange rate to our currency is almost N500 to a dollar, thus, any setback it attack bon the major revenue (crude oil) of the country, may spend soon for the nation.