Avengers threaten to attack oil facilities

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The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has warned it would resume attacks on oil installations and facilities in the region.

Mr. Murdoch Agbinibo, spokesperson of the militant group, said on Wednesday in a statement on their website that the attacks would be the “most deadly and will be targeting the deep sea operations of the multinationals.”

It said its targets, in the seas off the swampland delta region, would include the Bonga Platform and the Agbami, EA and Akpo fields. The militants also said they would target the Nigerian oil company Brittania-U.

Shell operates the Bonga and EA fields while Chevron is the operator of Agbami. Akpo stakeholders include Total, China’s CNOOC, Brazil’s Petrobras and Nigeria’s Sapetro.

Calling for the restructuring of Nigeria, the group said their plan to attack oil facilities in the oil-rich region of the country is due to killings and division happening in some parts of the country.

The high command of the Avengers, he said, summoned a meeting of all our operatives from across the Niger Delta to review the progress of our operations so far and deliberate on the planned actions for the future.

At the meeting held on Monday, he said: “It was agreed in that the killings and division presently playing out in Nigeria along divergent grounds makes this the perfect time to restructure this country.

“Our demand unambiguously is for the government to restructure this Country,” he said.

“On the 15th of January 2018 is the 62nd Remembrance Day of the 1956 discovery of commercial oil by Shell Darcy in the now forgotten and dejected Oloibiri Community in the Niger Delta.

Attacks on pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta in 2016 cut Nigeria’s crude production from a peak of 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) to near 1 mbpd – the lowest level seen in Nigeria in at least 30 years.

That, combined with low oil prices, pushed the OPEC member into its first recession in a quarter of a century – crude sales make up two-thirds of government revenue and most of its foreign exchange.

The militants agreed to a ceasefire in August 2016 – a development that helped pull Nigeria back out of recession in the second quarter of last year. But they called off the truce in November.

The government has held talks to address grievances over poverty and oil pollution in the Delta for more than a year but community groups say no progress has been made.

The militant group said talks “have not achieved any meaningful results”.

“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,” said the group, calling for the Niger Delta to have direct control over its resources.

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum, declined to comment.

The Niger Delta Avengers bombed the Forcados sub-sea pipeline in 2016, a strike which involved the use of divers. No substantial attacks have been carried out by any groups in the Delta region since January 2017.