The leading militant group operating in the oil-rich region of southern Nigeria, the Niger Delta Avengers, has warned oil giant ExxonMobil against repairs on its Qua Iboe 48″ crude oil export pipeline, which the group attacked on Monday, July 11, 2016.
Exxon Mobil had earlier denied claims that the facility was attacked, but the militant group insists it carried out the attack. Qua Iboe terminal is located in Akwa Ibom State.
“When we published the Que Iboe 48-inches crude oil export line was blown by us, ExxonMobil denied it, but now ExxonMobil has admitted that the 48” pipeline we (Niger Delta Avengers) blow up is ‘System Anomaly’,” a statement by the Niger Delta Avengers spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo said on Sunday, July 17, 2016.
“We are urging them to follow the path of safety by admitting it was blown but them not admitting it to their traders/international refineries is none of our business. It will become our business when ExxonMobil carry out repair work on the blown pipeline.”
The group lampooned the Akwa Ibom State government on their claims that they (Niger Delta Avengers) are not present in the state, stressing that their “elite strike team” is based in the oil rich state.
“When that time comes it won’t be ExxonMobil declaring false Majeure but it’s going to be something worst. Exxonmobil and Akwa Ibom government can deny Niger Delta Avengers is not in Akwa Ibom state but we want them to know one of our elite strike team is based in Akwa Ibom State.
“We are warning Exxonmobil not to carry out any repair work on the blown pipeline if they refuse and go ahead with any repair work something big and worst will happen.
“To the traders/international refineries doing business with them, don’t let ExxonMobil deceive you that the repair work will take three to four weeks with the level of damage it will take them (ExxonMobil) months to fixed it.
“What happened to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) crude oil export pipeline in Forcados is an example to all International Oil Companies, no repair works until the federal government heed to our demands.
The militants also threatened to attack ExxonMobil staffs in their next attack, if the company refuses to heed their warnings.
“If ExxonMobil fails to listen to us (Niger Delta Avengers), your personnel are going to be our next casualties not pipelines,” 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.