There was palpable tension on Saturday within the Niger Delta region of Nigeria following a renewed threat by a volatile militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), to resume hostilities on oil facilities.
As a result, many oil firms and contractors were seen in panic mood, a situation that the locals said was worse than the situation in September 2016 before the group declared a cease fire.
Before declaration of the ceasefire last year, the group’s activities had shut down Nigeria’s oil output by nearly 50 percent, effectively driving the economy towards recession.
An NDA spokesman, self-style Brig.Gen Mudoch Agbinib, said the Federal Government had been taking the group for granted.
“It has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation.
“All fighters and commands are hereby placed on high readiness in your webs of operations to hit and knock the enemy very hard,” he stated.
According to the group, nobody should be surprised with the way the renewed hostility could take.
The group, which code-named the new hostility as “Operations Walls of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua,” further stated, ”We will not agree to any cease fire until we reclaim our motherland”.
Reports say other militant groups in the region , except the Avengers, had split into different factions, making control of their struggle uncoordinated.
But what is said to have spurred the militants into action was the latest publication of NNPC list of about 40 firms given the contracts to lift crude oil from the oil-rich region.
Another former militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which had agreed to lay down arms in 2009, had also announced its loss of confidence in the government to bring peace to the region.
The two groups were alleged to be the main brain behind pipeline attacks, which began in early 2015, reducing greater share of Nigeria’s economy.
And, in what appears a coordinated response, Pan- Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), an umbrella body of some very senior citizens in the Niger Delta led by Edwin Clarke had also warned that the patience of the different interest groups in the region was thinning and that peace might no longer be guaranteed.
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