Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), yesterday, resumed its attack on oil facilities in the region by blowing up the Afiesere-Iwhrenene, a major delivery line in Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
The attack is coming about a month after the group carried out its last attack on oil facilities.
In January 2016, the militants began aggressive attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.
In response, President Muhammadu Buhari vowed to deal decisively with the resurgence of oil theft, sabotage of pipelines and general insecurity.
However, the president’s threat did not deter the emergence of a new militant separatist group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which proclaimed its formation on February, 3 2016. Since then, the group has carried out numerous high-profile attacks on oil facilities across the region
The latest breached Afiesere-Iwhrenene delivery line links the UPS/UQCC line operated by the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Claiming responsibility for the attack, spokesman of the NDGJM, Aldo Agbalaja, said the attack was “a mark of our faith to totally ground the Nigerian oil economy.”
Agbalaja reiterated the call on residents living close to marked pipelines to vacate without further delay, insisting that the marked facilities have been rigged with explosives waiting to be detonated.
“Our patience is running out on our people living close to major oil and gas facilities in the upland areas of our region, the more critical assets of the oil sector are still alive because we are being careful not to hurt our people. For the last time, leave these areas if you live around them and if you love your lives,” he stated.
Reacting to the presence of army, especially the recently deployed Operation Delta Smile, Agbalaja stated that the region was not a conquered territory, adding that, “our people have never succumbed to intimidation before, rather we match force with the oppressor’s brutality.
“The Nigerian government should already know that the people of this part are not fools, who will not be able to see when they are being treated with disdain
“The High Command of the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate once again says to the deceptive and untrustworthy Nigerian government and its cowardly armed forces: our people shall not deal with you on your terms, but on mutual terms.
“Until you drop these deceptive and master/servant pose, Operation Crocodile Tears shall persist.”
Some of the militants’ demands are that the ownership of oil blocs in Nigeria must reflect 60 per cent for the oil producing people and 40 per cent for the non-oil producing people and that the only Nigerian Maritime University cited in Okerenkoko in Delta State, must start the 2015/2016 academic session immediately.
The group also wants the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to apologise to the Ijaws and the entire Niger Delta people for his “careless” statement about the siting of the university in Okerenko. It said Ogoniland and all oil-polluted lands in the region must be cleaned up, and compensation paid to all oil-producing communities.
Others are that the Niger Delta Amnesty programme must be well funded and allowed to continue to run effectively, and all oil multi-nationals and foreign investors to observe its demands; otherwise, their business interests in the country would be first targeted
Unfortunately, the impact of the renewed militancy in the region does not only undermine Nigeria’s economic stability, but it is said to also risk exacerbating maritime insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea.
Owing to recent attacks on critical infrastructure, Nigeria’s oil production plummeted from 2.2 million barrel per day to about 1.4 million. Nigeria is already losing over a billion naira to the menace, which has compounded government revenue losses caused by the fall in global oil prices since mid 2014.
In addition to crippling oil exports, the new wave of militancy in the Delta has also choked the supply of gas to local power plants, thus hobbling Nigeria’s power grid. Electricity generation in Nigeria has declined from about 4,800 megawatts in August 2015 to 1,000 megawatts in June 2016, thereby seriously undermining overall productivity and service delivery in the economy.