Niger Delta Avengers threat to Nigerian oil industry

As reported by Trade Winds in a statement, the ‘high command’ of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) said it was willing to enter peace talks with the government, but only if independent mediators are appointed. The statement added: “the NDA high command is restating our commitment to attack the interests of oil corporations and international refinery operators that bring in vessels to the Niger Delta Territory to buy our oil that every successive government have refused to use and reapply the proceeds towards any development in the region since 1958.” If demands are not met, the NDA said it will sink two of their ‘mother vessels’ as an example to others.

To date NDA have focused their attacks on fixed oil infrastructure, however, the successful sabotage of Chevron’s offshore platform demonstrates that they do possess a maritime capability. The reference to ‘mother vessels’ could imply an attack on an oil tanker is a likely.

The NDA appear to be taking the place of Tompolo’s terrorist organization, Members of the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). There is a critical difference between MEND and the NDA: MEND’s aim was redistribute oil wealth more effectively; the NDA’s aim is to create a sovereign state in the Niger Delta. In the case of the warning given it is likely the NDA are seeking the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the Biafran independence activist who was arrested in October last year, and who they have declared an affiliation with. Given his previous record President Buhari is unlikely to want to negotiate.

Further violence mainly targeting oil and gas infrastructure and support logistics should be expected in the Niger Delta over the coming weeks.

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