say the poor swampland region fails to reap any benefit from the wealth
on which it sits.
militants, whose activities have hammered Nigeria’s crude output,
posted a warning on Twitter to the army and oil firms: “Watch out
something big is about to happen and it will shock the whole world “.
Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu this week said the country’s oil production has fallen by 800,000 barrels per day — to 1.4 million barrels per day — due to attacks on the nation’s infrastructure, local news reported, many or perhaps most of them at the hands of the Avengers.
“We don’t see this being a huge group, but at the same time, they do seem very effective,” said Matthew Bey, energy and technology analyst at geopolitical research firm Stratfor.
militants in the north, the new radical group has emerged from the
southern swamplands, threatening to wage war on one of the world’s
largest oil supplies.
group calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers, and it has claimed
responsibility for a spate of recent attacks and bombings on oil
pipelines and terminals in Nigeria’s southern region, the Niger Delta, a
top oil-producing region.
group has targeted major platforms belonging to Shell and Chevron in
the past few weeks, and its attacks have driven the country’s oil output
to a near 22-year low.
much is known about who is behind the Niger Delta Avengers. But the
militants are making their mark on Nigeria’s southern infrastructure,
and there are calls for President Muhammadu Buhari to take steps to
prevent the militant group from growing.
Niger Delta Avengers have obviously proven themselves to be very
effective in this one area of Niger Delta,” said Matthew Bey, an Africa
energy analyst at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm in Austin, Texas. “It seems to be a new generation of militant groups.”
Niger Delta Avengers emerged in February, after claiming responsibility
for an attack on an underwater pipeline run by Shell, forcing the oil
giant to halt its 250,000-barrel-per-day Forcados terminal for weeks.
The militant group has since taken responsibility for several other
attacks in the southern Delta state, including one earlier this month at
an offshore oil platform run by Chevron, which produces tens of
thousands of barrels a day.
attacks showed a level of sophistication and technical expertise,
raising speculation that the new group consists of former members of the
long-running and powerful rebel group Movement for the Emancipation of
the Niger Delta (MEND).
hard to say whether these guys are former militants, but they’re
definitely tapping into the established knowledge base,” Bey told ABC
wreaked havoc on the six states in the Niger Delta from 2006 to 2009,
costing the nation roughly one-third of its oil production, until
then-President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua offered a multimillion-dollar amnesty
program that had thousands of rebels agree to lay down their arms in
exchange for an unconditional pardon and stipend.
MEND, the Niger Delta Avengers demand greater ownership of lucrative
oil resources for residents in crude-producing areas. The new group also
seeks environmental restoration, compensation for damage caused by oil
producers and sustained government funding for the amnesty program. The
group has threatened to shut down the West African nation’s production
of oil and gas if its demands are not met.
Niger Delta Avengers’ attacks have led Nigeria’s oil output to plummet
by nearly 40 percent since before the campaign began, the country’s Oil
Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said while addressing parliament last
week, according to Reuters. The loss dethroned Nigeria as Africa’s top
group, the Red Egbesu Water Lions, which emerged last Wednesday, has
vowed to join the Niger Delta Avengers if their demands are not met
within the next seven days, local media reported.
on the other hand, has distanced itself from the Niger Delta Avengers
and the recent attacks on the region’s oil installations. In a statement
reportedly signed by its representative and published by local media,
MEND said Sunday it “wishes to condemn and dissociate itself from the
recent activities carried out by the group known as the Niger Delta
sudden emergence has absolutely nothing to do with the Niger Delta
struggle but is rather a tool by certain elements to destabilize the
current government,” MEND continued.
condemnation of the Niger Delta Avengers came as no surprise to Akin
Iwilade, a research student at Oxford University who studies youth,
violence and the politics of amnesty in Nigeria’s oil-producing region.
The newly formed group threatens to disrupt the profitable amnesty deal
the former militants currently enjoy.
top leadership of MEND benefited from the patronage that came with the
amnesty,” said Iwilade, who has spoken with a number of former oil
militants in recent years. “It is very logical and, frankly, expected,
that they would condemn a group they obviously have little control
who took office in May last year, extended the amnesty program for two
years in February, shortly before the Niger Delta Avengers announced
themselves. But the former military ruler, who hails from the north,
angered former oil rebels by ending generous pipeline security contracts
and reducing the monthly stipends. Now he is faced with the possibility
of a revived insurgency in the south while fighting Islamic militant group Boko Haram, which has killed and displaced millions of people in the north in the past seven years.
is difficult to imagine that ex-militants have no hand whatsoever in
this,” Iwilade told ABC News. “There are very clear similarities in the
way the Niger Delta Avengers operates with what we knew of groups like
there are parallels between the two groups, such as language and
tactics, there are several differences. The Niger Delta Avengers have
criticized MEND and other older groups for killing Nigerian troops,
taking foreigners hostage and allegedly enriching themselves through the
Niger Delta Avengers have not yet shown whether they will wield the
same political influence that helped MEND become the most powerful
militant group in its time.
its latest assault on Friday, saying it blew up a gas and crude trunk
line belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in
Warri, Delta State, late Thursday.
the facility was “heavily guarded” by the Nigerian military, in an
apparent attempt to mock the Nigerian armed forces’ capacity to check
[email protected] blew up other #NNPC Gas and Crude trunkline close
to Warri. Pipeline that was heavily guarded by Military,” the group
meeting recently convened in Abuja by the federal government, warning
of its readiness to carry out an attack that will “shock the whole
stakeholder’s meeting is an insult to the people of Niger Delta. What we
need is a Sovereign State not pipeline Contracts.
Indigenous Oil Companies and Nigeria Military. Watch out something big
is about to happen and it will shock the whole world,” the group said.
launched several attacks on oil and gas infrastructure since February
2016, demanding a sovereign nation of the Niger Delta people.
the oil facilities were sabotaged following attempts by Chevron to carry
out repairs of main Escravos crude oil pipeline it blew up earlier.
the group, Mudoch Agbinibo, had earlier this month warned the Nigerian
government of further attacks if their demands were not met.
previous ones on the company’s facilities at Abiteye, Utunana and
Makaraba platforms in Warri South-West area of Delta State resulting in
the loss of over 40,000 barrels of oil per day.
Nigerian Army has described the Niger Delta Avengers as criminals, vowing to crush them.
The Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai who spoke after
commissioning an apartment for soldiers and a giant size generating set
at the 2 Amphibious Brigade in Port Harcourt said the army will not fold
its hands and allow the groups to continue to kill its soldiers on
locations in the region.
Major General Buratai also called on communities in the region to
help the military fish out members of the Niger Delta Avengers in their
“They have been attacking our troop locations, killing our soldiers.
We will not tolerate them. We will deal with them according to the
law. We will look for them wherever they are. They are not agitating for
anything , they are just into crime. Communities should be patriotic
enough to expose these criminals. They have noting to fear.
They should help fish out these criminals killing our soldiers, we will
not tolerate that. They must come out to help. They have noting to
fear. Everybody, every Nigerian should expose these criminals. They have
noting to fear,“ he said.
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, had
commissioned 12 refurbished gunboats at Okrika local government area and
a 40 bed space apartment for soldiers in the area.
General Olonisakin who was accompanied by other service chiefs to the
exercise said security agencies will no longer allow criminals destroy
national assets in the region.
downturn that has plunged Nigeria into economic crisis and stoked
runaway inflation. Now, assaults by the Avengers have helped send the
country’s crude output to its lowest level in decades.
Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest economy and one of the world’s biggest populations. Before this year’s supply disruptions, the OPEC member was also the continent’s top crude producer. The oil industry accounts for about 70 percent of government revenue.
The Niger Delta Avengers are in
the business of destroying oil infrastructure — working in teams,
carrying small arms and explosives, blowing up pipelines and sabotaging
facilities — taking advantage of the Delta’s complex, creek-filled
terrain to stay one step ahead of the Nigerian soldiers chasing them.
They’re driven by economic and
environmental grievances, and until those issues are addressed, the
Delta will remain in a cycle of sabotage, experts told CNBC. And
Nigeria’s oil output will remain under pressure.
shut down facilities owned by one of the world’s biggest oil companies.
People living near Chevron’s Escravos terminal in the oil-rich
southern Nigerian region of the Niger delta reported hearing a loud
blast during the night. Chevron
confirmed on Thursday morning that the attack, which was on its main
electricity power line, had shut down all its onshore activities.
“It is a crude line which means all activities in Chevron are grounded,” a company source told Reuters.
It was the latest in a string of attacks by the Avengers, who have
demanded that foreign oil companies leave the Niger delta before the end
of the month, and say they are fighting to protect the environment and
to win locals a bigger share of the profits.
The group has helped push the country’s oil output to its lowest
level in decades. According to Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, head of the
state-run oil company, the attacks have reduced the number of barrels
produced a day from 2.2m to 1.4m. As well as hitting Nigeria’s economy –
which, analysts have warned, is headed for a full-blown crisis – the
attacks on Africa’s biggest petroleum producer have led to a rise in
global oil prices.
The latest attack comes as Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari,
prepares to celebrate a year in office this Sunday. He won the 2015
election on a promise to fight corruption and the bloody conflict waged
by the Islamic militant group Boko Haram in the country’s north-east,
and took over when Nigeria
was in the midst of an economic crisis largely caused by the then
falling price of oil, which the government relies on for 70% of its
Although he said Boko Haram had been “technically defeated” and claimed the recent escape of one of the kidnapped Chibok girls as a victory for his government, Buhari has been struggling to revive the flailing economy.
Under an amnesty deal reached in 2009 with other militants who were
attacking oil facilities, the government paid millions of dollars to the
leaders to “guard” oil companies’ infrastructure – in effect paying
them not to attack it. Buhari has extended the deal, but cut its budget,
giving rise to a potential source of anger in the region.
It is not known who finances the Niger Delta Avengers, but it has issued threats via its website and social media.
“Be informed that if we decide to strike it [is] going to be bloody
… If you continue to undermine us and go ahead with the repair works
you won’t see us coming but we are coming for you,” the group’s
spokesman, Murdoch Agbinibo, said in a statement entitled “Chevron,
don’t dare the Avengers” two weeks ago.
In a follow-up tweet, the group said on Thursday: “We warned Chevron
but they didn’t listen. The Niger Delta Avengers just blew up the
Escravos tank farm main electricity feed pipeline.”
On its Twitter account, Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s
Democratic party, which was in power for 16 years prior to the 2015
election, accused Kachikwu of giving representatives of the Avengers a
$10m bribe and appealing to them to stop the attacks. These allegations
have not been substantiated.
It is pertinent to know that Biafra is on the other side agitating for secession. Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, an ancient
Kingdom in today’s Eastern Nigeria, Kingdom of Biafra was amalgamated
into Nigeria – Niger area, by Fredric Lugard during British conquest or
colonial rule in 1914, and was given 100 years to break away if the
people of Biafra desire, and 100 years of amalgamation expired 2013,
though the Republic Of Biafra was later re-declared and existed from the
30th of May, 1967, to January 1970. The inhabitants were mostly the
people of today’s Eastern Nigeria led the secession due to economic,
ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of
Nigeria. Other ethnic groups that constituted the republic were the Efik, Ibibio, Annang, Ejagham, Eket, Ibeno and the Ijaw among others.
The secession of the Biafran region was the primary cause of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Biafran War. The state was formally recognised by Gabon, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, and Zambia. Other nations which did not give official recognition, but provided support and assistance to Biafra included Israel, France, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Rhodesia, South Africa and the Vatican City. Biafra also received aid from non-state actors, including Joint Church Aid, Holy Ghost Fathers of Ireland, Caritas International, MarkPress and U.S. Catholic Relief Services.
After two-and-a-half years of war, during which over three million
Biafran civilians died in fighting and from starvation occasioned by the
total blockade of the region by the Nigerian government. Biafran forces
under the motto of ‘”No-victor, No-vanquished”‘ surrendered to the Nigerian Federal Military Government (FMG), and Biafra was reintegrated into Nigeria.
Today, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is leading IPOB – Indigenous People Of Biafra
to restore the Republic Of Biafra, though he have been arrested and
charged illegally for treason by Muhammad Buhari led APC – Nigerian
government, the group with International directorate office in Spain
continue to lead the struggle like never before with the slogan, ‘
Biafra or death.
The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) advocates a separate country for the people of south-eastern Nigeria. They accuse the state of marginalising the Igbo people. MASSOB says it is a peaceful group and advertises a 25-stage plan to achieve its goal peacefully. There are two arms to the government, the Biafra Government in Exile and Biafra Shadow Government. The Nigerian government accuses MASSOB of violence; MASSOB’s leader, Ralph Uwazuruike, was arrested in 2005 and is being detained on treason charges; MASSOB is calling for his release. MASSOB is also championing the release of oil militant Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, who is facing similar charges. In 2009, The MASSOB launched “the Biafran International Passport” in response to persistent demand by Biafrans in diaspora. On June 16, 2015, the Supreme Council of Elders of the Indigenous People of Biafra sued the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the right to self-determination within their region as a sovereign state.
Another group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Led by a United Kingdom-based Biafran, Nnamdi Kanu, has reinvigorated the quest for Biafran realisation since 2012. He recently set up a registered radio station, Radio Biafra, which has been broadcasting at various frequencies around the world. The Nigerian Government, through her broadcasting regulator, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigerian and Nigerian Communications Commission, has sought to clamp down on the UK based Radio Station without success. on November 17, 2015 the Abia police command seized an IPOB’s radion transmitter in Umuahia North, Abia State.
On October 19, 2015, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) disclosed that the Director of Radio Biafra and Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, does not belong to the movement and was sacked for indiscipline and for inciting violence among members.
During November 2015, Biafran independence protests have erupted in cities across Nigeria’s south-east; analysts believe the scale of these protests is unprecedented. Though peaceful, the protesters have been attacked by the Nigerian Police and army. Scores have been reportedly killed. Many others have been injured and others have been arrested.
On December 23, 2015, the federal government charged Nnamdi Kanu with treasonable felony in the Federal High court in Abuja.
There is an ongoing renewed killing of peaceful pro-Biafra agitators by Nigerian security agencies. According to the South-East Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs), security forces under the directive of the Federal Government has killed 80 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and their supporters between August 30, 2015 and February 9, 2016.