Niger Delta Avengers threaten to stop oil production

The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group has threatened to cripple oil production in Nigeria.

The NDA High Command expressed it's anger at what it describe as the government's failure to use the 2007 truce to broker a new vision for the people of the Niger Delta.

NDA spokesman Murdoch Agbinibo announced on the group website that the government was only interested in the oil wells and not the well-being of the host communities.

The militants lamented that elders of the region prevailed upon them not to "bring the Nigerian economy to our targeted zero daily production’’, but the former have been unable to make the government fulfil it promises to the people.

"Out of respect for elders and not the threat of Tompolo (another militant leader) we adhered to the call and halted our actions hoping you would keep your own side of the bargain.

"We are no longer ready to heed uninspiring advice from you or anyone else in the Niger Delta Region," Mr Agbinibo wrote.

"We have since lost faith in you and have vowed never to heed any such retrogressive call or advice from you in the future.’’

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Fierce militant groups took to the creeks in the wake of the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari in May 2015, destroying oil installations.

The menace quickened Nigeria’s slide into a recession, from which it was gradually recovering with the restoration of full potential in oil production.

The destruction of the oil infrastructure caused a dip to 800,000 barrels daily, against the 2.2 million barrels daily capacity. Gas supply was also cut, occasioning a deep hole in the treasury as well as a depletion in fortunes of vital infrastructure, especially electricity.

The militants warned all oil companies: "Our next line of operation will not be like the 2016 campaign which we operated successfully without any casualties; this outing will be brutish, brutal and bloody.

"We shall crush everything we meet on our path to completely put off the fires that burn in our communities and cut every pipe that moves crude away from our region."

But the Nigerian government has assured the militants of its commitment to improving the people's welfare.

The government reported that it had started work on the long-abandoned East West road, embarked on the clean-up of polluted Ogoni land, and approved a petroleum university.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others warned of grave consequences on the economy.

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The President of MAN, Dr Frank Jacobs, described the situation as unfortunate and noted that an attack on oil installations at a time when Nigeria was still recovering from its worst economic crisis would be a huge blow.

“It is unfortunate if that is what the NDA wants to do, especially at this time that the economy is getting out of recession, when oil production is becoming steady and price of oil is going up,'' he said.

The Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Muda Yusuf, said should the militants carry out their threats, “it will cause a setback for Nigeria”.

The President of Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, Dr Femi Egbesola, said attacks on oil facilities could once again lead to the closure of small businesses and loss of jobs.

“It means we will have less crude oil to produce and export, which will lead to a reduction in revenue and foreign exchange, " he said.

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