— Niger Delta militants give signal for economic war –
Niger Delta militants have indicated they will soon resume hostilities in the region, a move capable of crippling Nigeria’s tottering economy.
Nigerian crude is selling above $70 per barrel; 2.3 million barrels are officially pumped each day.
In a statement published Wednesday, the Niger Delta Avengers said they will resume attacks on oil installations and facilities in a manner not seen before.
Their grouse: killings around the country, divisions in the polity, and failure to restructure Nigeria.
They also accused the Nigerian Army of releasing 244 members of the Boko Haram sect to the Borno State government while thousands of innocent Niger Delta youths suffer in various prisons across the country. They demanded the release of Niger Delta activists held captive: “It is on the above premise that we are demanding the immediate release of all Niger Deltan activists and freedom fighters that are held captive by the Nigeria Armed Forces.”
The militant group had threatened to resume attacks last November but the region’s elders intervened.
The statement reads in part: “On the 15th of January 2018, being the 62nd historic Remembrance Day of the 1956 discovery of commercial oil by Shell Darcy in the now forgotten and dejected Oloibiri community in the Niger Delta, the high command of the ND Avengers summoned a meeting of all our operatives from across the Niger Delta to review the progress of our operations so far and deliberate on the planned actions for the future.
“It was agreed in that meeting that the killings and division presently playing out in Nigeria along divergent grounds makes this the perfect time to restructure this country. Our demand unambiguously is for the government to restructure this country…
“On the 3rd of November 2017 we promised to reactivate ‘operation red economy’ but as usual some over-patriotic elders intervened and appealed as they have done twice before then for us to avail them some more time to attend to the demands of the Niger Delta as championed by the Niger Delta Avengers.
“That we have not achieved any meaningful results despite the opportunities we have availed the Niger Delta elders means that they are either irresponsible or the Nigerian government is not sincere with them as it is their stock-in-trade…
“We wish to state in plain terms that anybody against restructuring is an enemy of this country and particularly an enemy of the Niger Delta Avengers. We want to control our resources and directly use them to better our lot instead of being enslaved and made to beg before crumbs are released in a dress rehearsal-like manner to intervention agencies that are ineffective.
“While One Billion Dollars from the excess crude account is being released to fight a Boko Haram in the North, successive government acts blind to the very bold array of challenges our region from which this wealth is generated is facing.”