Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group that had claimed responsibility for many sabotage attacks in Niger Delta last year, said that it has asked its fighters to prepare to fight the “enemy” as it claimed Nigerian authorities were not ready for dialogue.
The militant group had been out of operation since last year, when it said it was giving room for the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to dialogue for peace.
The attacks cut Nigeria’s oil production, which stood at 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) at the start of 2016, by more than a third in June 2016, although the oil minister said in December pipeline repairs lifted output to nearly 1.8 million bpd.
“It has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation,” the Niger Delta Avengers said in a statement posted on the militants’ website on Friday, January 6, 2016.
“All fighters and commands are hereby placed on high readiness in your webs of operations to hit and knock the enemy very hard,” the group said.
It declared the start of an “Operations Walls of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua … to reclaim our motherland” but did not say whether this meant an end of the ceasefire or gave any details
In the past six months, government has held talks with Niger Delta leaders to address grievances of poverty and oil pollution. In his New Year speech, President Muhammadu Buhari also spoke about government’s readiness to forge peace in the region.
But the militants have complained that no progress has been made.
The Avengers, like other militant groups, has split into different factions, which struggle to control their fighters, unemployed young men who work for anybody who pays them.
Another former militant group, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which had agreed to lay down arms in 2009, had said a week ago it had lost trust in the government to bring peace to the region.
Those behind the pipeline attacks, which began in early 2016, say they want a greater share of Nigeria’s energy wealth to go to the southern region.
The frequency of attacks has diminished since President Muhammadu Buhari held talks with community leaders but there are sporadic attacks, most recently in late November.
The full statement by the Avengers is reproduced, unedited, below:
OPERATIONS WALLS OF JERICHO AND HURRICANE JOSHUA
The High Command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), felicitate with all fighters and commands for job well done in 2016 and welcome us all to the year 2017! We earnestly praise the people of the Niger Delta for your prayers and support to the liberation movement. We thank the local and international press community for telling our story.
As we get prepared for the challenges ahead 2017, We make bold to tell the people of our Niger Delta, sane minds in Nigeria and the comity of nations that the remaining 11 months and couples of weeks in 2017 will be filled with surprises and a reconfiguration of the struggle for the liberation of our motherland.
Since, the declaration of cessation of hostilities in the region by all fighters and affiliates, it has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation with our people to addressing the issues sustaining the unending sufferings and deprivation of the people of the Niger Delta. The world is aware that, after listening to calls from our Royal Fathers, Community Leaders, Stakeholders and members of the comity of nations especially the governments of the United States of America, Great Britain and the European Union, we halted all actions.
This prospect for hope for a genuine dialogue and negotiations have been dashed and rejected. The world knows that PANDEF as team of critical stakeholders was mandated to engender a genuine dialogue and negotiations process that will be made of apolitical committed Niger Deltans to engage with the government and people of Nigeria, representatives of the International Oil Corporations and neutral observers. But this government decides to go around to politicising and blackmailing the process to forestall any genuine dialogue and negotiations.
The world should be assured that, our next line of actions to redeem Operations Red Economy will be unannounced with surely overwhelming signatures to this government and humanity. The world is aware that, the government of Nigeria has ear problems but we never knew that it has taken a detoriating deaf level dimensions. It is only through hard knocks we can speak to the Nigerian government henceforth.
It is our believes that, the 2017 national budget of the federal republic of Nigeria is not based on the crude oil production output from the Niger Delta but it is based on the newly found oil deposits in the North and the new pipelines construction from the Niger Republic. It is also worthy to inform the IOCS and their partners that have been awarded the 2017/2018 crude oil term contracts by the Nigerian state as listed below
- Sonara Refinery
- Hindustan Refinery
- Cepsa Refinery
- Bharat Retroleum
- Varo Energy
- ENOC Trading
- BP Trading
- Total Trading
- UCL Petrol Energy
- Tevier Petroleum
- Heritage Oil
- Levene Energy
- Litasco Supply and Trading
Government to Government (G to G)
- India (Indian Oil Company)
- China ( Sinopec)
- South Africa ( Saccoil)
- Sahara Energy
- MRS Oil and Gas
- A.A Rano
- Masters Energy
- Etarna Oil and Gas
- Cassiva Energy
- Hyde Energy
- Britania U
- Northwest Petroleum
- Optima Energy
- AMG Petroenergy
- Arkleen Oil & Gas Ltd
- Shoreline Limited
- Emo Oil
- Setana Energy
- Prudent Energy
NNPC TRADING COMPANIES
- Duke Oil Limited
- Carlson Hyson
That their contract at a time when the Nigerian State has turn deaf ears to the Niger Delta Agitation is seen as a conspiracy against our people that will fail. These contracts will make or mare the destinies of your companies in our Niger Delta.
To our Niger Delta people, we feel your pains from these dashed hopes of a genuine talk once again. All fighters and commands are hereby placed on high readiness in your webs of operations to hit and knock the enemy very hard. That is the way to discuss with a deaf, when he cannot understand your soft massage. We are determined to hit him very hard and deadly that even his eyes will shed blood, his ear will be more deafened and his heart shall quake; when he sees, hear and feel the outcome of our next activities.
On this note, we are declaring “Operations Walls of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua” simultaneously to reclaim our motherland and dislodge all cleavages the Nigerian Ruling oligarchy has foisted on the region that is sustaining the ongoing primitive accumulation by dispossession.
Brig.Gen Mudoch Agbinibo
Additional reports from NAN.