The leading militant group operating in the oil rich region of southern Nigeria, the Niger Delta Avengers, has denounced a report that its members met with Nigeria’s youth minister, Mr. Solomon Dalung in Delta State over the weekend.
In a statement issued on the Avengers’ website on Monday, July 18, 2016, the militants said that Mr. Solomon Dalung is incompetent and claims that he met with members of the group in Delta State are false.
The group’s spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo said that the people who met with the youth and sports minister claiming to be members of the Niger Delta Avengers are fraudsters
“The minister of youths and sports, Solomon Dalung narrated how he met with some self-claimed Niger Delta Avengers in Oporoza, Gbaramatu Kingdom,” Agbinibo said.
“We are here to let the general public know that Niger Delta fraudsters has defrauded the minister. Niger Delta Avengers can’t stoop so low as to send representatives to meet with a common minister of youths that doesn’t know his work.
“Minister of youths and sports, Solomon Dalung has been defrauded and played by Niger Delta Fraudsters he didn’t had any meeting with us, Niger Delta Avengers.”
The militants reiterated that they will not be part of any dialogue with the Nigerian government unless the international community gets involved in the process.
“Let’s make this clear, any meeting with Niger Delta Avengers that the International communities are not part to witness, we, Niger Delta Avengers, will not be part of any such dialogue as well,” the statement concluded.
Who Are The Niger Delta Avengers?
Niger Delta Avengers is a new militancy group that is operating in the oil-rich region of Southern Nigeria. In the second quarter of 2016, the group emerged as the leading militant group mounting attacks on crude oil and gas installations in the troubled region.
The militant group say it is waging a war for a free Niger Delta Republic in what it tags, Operation Red Economy, with a view of halting crude oil production in Nigeria to force the government to grant the group’s demands.
The Avengers claims it has reduced oil production in the country to less than one million barrels a day. An analyst at VOA News corroborates the militants’ claims saying that oil production has dropped below one million barrels a day due to the waves of attacks on pipelines and oil installations.
The militant group has released its rules of engagement and says that it doesn’t kill anybody or attack oil workers or soldiers. The Delta Avengers called on all other groups operating in the region to abide by these rules of engagement. “We need God now, more than ever,” the group said in a statement.
The Niger Delta Avengers has presented an 11-point demand to President Muhammadu Buhari and the first is the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. [Download Conference report HERE.]
President Muhammadu Buhari recently rejected the Avengers’ demands saying that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. The president’s first reaction to the Avengers was to declare war against them. He later promised to “crush them” as he did Boko Haram. That position has shifted to begging them in the ‘name of Almighty God’ to stop the attacks.
Pro-Biafra secessionist group, Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, has pledged “total allegiance” to the Niger Delta Avengers extolling the militant group for supporting the cause of a free Biafra. MASSOB embraces the tenets of nonviolence. It is led by Ralph Uwazuruike, a lawyer.
In June, 2016 the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, another secessionist group pledged its support for the Niger Delta Avengers, saying the groups’ ideal of freedom align.