Niger delta avengers use the hammer again

MILITANTS have taken on Nigerian state oil and gas pipelines in the Niger delta, the second sabotage in two days, following an attack on Chevron infrastructure, a state official said Friday.

The attack on a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline took place late Thursday near Warri, a city in Nigeria’s increasingly volatile oil-producing south.

“Another crude pipeline was attacked on Thursday night near Batan oil field in Warri,” said Eric Omare, a Delta state governor aide and spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council.

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Some residents in warri said the sabotage had polluted the area around the pipeline, while soldiers had cordoned off the site. Militant group Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) appeared to claim the attack on Friday in a statement on a Twitter account bearing their name that said it had blown up the pipeline.

“This is the same pipeline that has already been attacked in February and May this year and which provides gas to Lagos for power generation,” said Dirk Steffen, from the Denmark-based Risk Intelligence firm. Recent attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria’s southern swamp lands have caused water supplies to be turned off in Lagos, the country’s biggest city.

Emmanuel Kachikwu, minister of state Petroleum resources after meeting with officials from Niger delta on Thursday gestured that the Federal Government is still open for Dialogue with the Niger delta avengers and hopes the Federal Government will revisit the amnesty scheme and welfare programme for the former insurgents and those dissatisfied in the region.

The amnesty scheme was introduced in 2009 after years of violence and rebellion, including kidnappings and assaults on oil and gas installations, by militants demanding a reasonable share of revenues for local people.

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There has been uncertainty over the scheme’s future since President Muhammadu Buhari took over office last May, with indications it would gradually die a slow death. The oil exports accounts for about 70% of the countries generated revenue, so an assault on it will inadvertently bring the country to its knees.