Niger Delta Avengers ready to fight region’s enemies
Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) on Friday asked its fighters to prepare to hit the ‘enemy’ in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, claiming that the Nigerian government was not ready for sincere negotiations.
“All fighters and commands are hereby placed on high readiness in your webs of operations to hit and knock the enemy very hard,” said Avengers spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo in a statement posted on the group’s website. “That is the way to discuss with a deaf, when he cannot understand your soft massage.”
NDA announced a ceasefire on August 19, 2016, after crippling Nigeria’s oil production. But the ceasefire was ended on September 23 with an attack on Bonny pipeline in Rivers State, which Agbinibo then described as “a wake-up call”, expressing frustration with the negotiations the militants have been holding with authorities.
It launched another attack on Nembe Creek Trunk Line pipeline in Bayelsa State on November 15 before going quiet until Friday.
The group said its cessation of aggression was to allow for dialogue. But it claimed Nigeria had spurned the chance to ensure a peaceful resolution of the protracted crisis in the region.
“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,” Agbinibo said.
It declared the start of “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.”
Avengers statement came a day after Niger Delta leaders under the umbrella of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) warned the presidency to be concerned about the growing impatience in Nigeria’s crude oil belt as a result of the delay in the proposed dialogue between government and regional stakeholders.
Targeting oil giants including Shell, Exxon and Chevron, it had hammered the Nigerian economy with months of attacks on vital oil and gas infrastructure, reducing output by a third at a time when global prices are already punishingly low.
The NDA is seeking a fairer distribution of the oil revenues that make up 70 percent of state’s income and has vowed to fight for development in the Delta where many people remain desperately poor despite the huge wealth of local natural resources.