The leading militant group operating in the oil-rich region of southern Nigeria, the Niger Delta Avengers, in the late hours of Tuesday, November 25, 2016, blew up three major crude oil export pipelines, in Nembe, Bayelsa State.
The pipelines, Nembe 1, 2, 3, belong to Agip, Oando, and Shell respectively, a statement issued on the Avenger’s website by the group’s spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo, claiming responsibility for the attack said. The militants say that the supply capacity of the three pipelines is 300,000 barrels per day to Bonny expert terminal.
“This is in response to the so-called “Operations Sharkbite” an art of terrorism commissioned by the tyranny of the Nigerian Navy establishment and orchestrated by some elements of the ruling political class to continuously undermine any effort by the Nigerian state to addressing the legitimate demands of the people of the Niger Delta and as well a conspiracy to bloat the accounts of some security contractors and conflict merchants within the party structure of the All Progressives Congress, APC,” the group said.
“We are only reiterating our strong resolve that, time is running against the Nigerian government, that there is doom ahead.
“The Nigerian government need our cooperation more than we need the government as it concerns the extraction of the crude oil and hydrocarbon resources in our God-given land.
“We are determined to continue this war by all means necessary, until that environment prevails for a genuine dialogue and negotiations within the framework of the sixteen point key demands presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by PANDEF on the 1st of November 2016.
“We want the peace with honour, we don’t want the peace of our time. Since that moment military was drafted into the Niger Delta as an instrument of suppression to our fatherland against all peaceful protest and legitimate demands the fear had gone. The message is getting stronger with more messengers,” Agbinibo said.
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.