Niger Delta Avengers, the militant group that had claimed responsibility for many sabotage attacks on Oil installations in the Niger Delta Region in 2016, has asked its fighters to prepare to fight the “enemy” as it claimed Nigerian authorities were not ready for dialogue.
The Avengers declared a ceasefire last year after staging major attacks on oil facilities crippling Nigeria’s oil output.
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.
An excerpt from the Avengers website read thus, “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 dimension. 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.
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.”
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.