Apparently jolted by Monday attack on oil facilities by men believed to militants in the Niger Delta, the Presidency has concluded plans that will see the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, undertake another peace move to the oil-rch region.
The pipeline attack, which forced Shell Petroleum to shut down its major oil facilities in Ogoni Land may need a visit of the office of the President to douse the new tension, said an official.
It is speculated that Nigeria may lose an estimated 200,000 barrels per day as a result of the sabotage.
The attack came on the heels of warnings by Niger Delta chieftain, Chief Edwin Clark, that youths from the area had become restive after waiting 6 months without appreciable redemption of promises made soon after after Osinbajo’s tour of the communities.
The eruption of fresh hostility in the Niger Delta might see Nigeria suffering a shortfall from the exemption it is enjoying from OPEC oil output cut till March 2018.
Reports say Nigeria’s oil exports were set to exceed 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, the highest in 17 months, which was a little over one million bpd, in greater part of 2016.
A reliable Presidency source confirmed that the second visit by the Osinbajo, billed to hold first week of August would seek to assuage frayed nerves.
“He (Osinbajo) made the first visit as a vice president, the current one is as Acting President, which gives him a better opportunity to fulfill any promise that he may make to the people now, ” the source stated.
“Next week there is going to be a follow-up meeting between the acting president and the stakeholders of the Niger Delta,” Laolu Akande, the Media Adviser to Osinbajo was quoted as having said .
Expected to be discussed at the Proposed August meeting are key issues such as legalizing illicit refineries and turning them into so-called “modular refineries”, which the administration hopes to start from next month.
The contentious clean-up of the heavily polluted Ogoni region and plans to open a Maritime University in October, which many community leaders have voiced support for, could also feature at the talks.
Many years of neglect, failed promises and killing of prominent Nigerian Delta leaders have left the people of the Niger Delta region fiercely opposed to hand-outs from the Federal Government, insisting on total resource control.
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