New attacks threatened in Niger Delta

ABUJA, August 1, 2017 – The Niger Delta Revolutionary Crusaders (NDRC) will resume attacks on oil facilities at the end of September, the group announced over the weekend as an umbrella platform representing the region threatened to end negotiations with the government. 

“We have resolved and are more determined to use all necessary means to take back our heritage by stopping all oil and gas exploration and exportation in Niger Delta come September 31, 2017. [sic] And when that time comes, heaven will not fall,” NDRC spokesperson Izon Ebi said in a statement. “We have resolved that resource control, fiscal federalism and devolution of powers are the only panacea. Anything short of that will not be acceptable to NDRC and the 21st century agitators of the Niger Delta.”

Shortly after the statement, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (Pandef), an umbrella group of leaders and traditional elders representing militants and other stakeholders in the region, threatened to pull out of peace talks that have gone on for about a year, saying insufficient action had been taken. 

The group had met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1, 2016. Back then, it presented a list of 16 demands, giving the government until November 1, 2017, to comply.

 

“If, at the expiration of the November 1, 2017 ultimatum, the federal government fails and or refuses to accede to these lawful and legitimate demands of the Niger Delta people, Pandef may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process in the Niger Delta,” forum leader Edwin Clark told the media Monday. “As a consequence of the federal government’s casual and sluggish approach to the immediate resolution of the current Niger Delta crisis, the patience of the youths and other critical stakeholders in the region was running out.”

Following an insurgency that lasted from 2005 to 2009, the Niger Delta, one of the world’s regions richest in oil, was relatively peaceful until early 2016.

By May 2016, attacks by militants on oil facilities, including those of Chevron, ExxonMobil, Eni, and Shell, had led both ExxonMobil and Shell to declare force majeure and the country’s oil output to drop 40% to 1.4 million bopd.

Attacks slowed as peace talks began in the Autumn of 2016, and an amnesty programme was extended to December 2017.

Since then, the country has been able to increase output, with expectations of 2 million bopd in August 2017.

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