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Hope for peace fades in Niger Delta








The latest attack on the Bonny 48-inch crude oil
export line penultimate Saturday, effectively
reignited the existing danger to the Nigerian
economy.

The attack on the facility, oil pipeline, which is
believed to belong to Shell Petroleum
Development Company (SPDC), was the first of
such attacks since NDA unilaterally declared a
ceasefire over a month ago.

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NDA’s action was strategic and had a clear
purpose. It would be recalled that the attack took
place on September 23, shortly after President
Muhammadu Buhari, while attending the 71st
United Nations General Assembly, in the United
States, said: “Niger Deltans who had looted the
treasury are the ones sponsoring militancy.”

It would also be further recalled that the
President had assured the United States President,
Barak Obama, that his administration was
making steady progress towards resolving the
problem in the Niger Delta region.

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NDA’s spokesperson, “Brig. Gen” Mudoch
Agbinibo, in a statement posted on the group’s
website, claimed that on September 23rd, 2016, its
strike team at 20:40pm, destroyed the above
mentioned facility, adding that the action is a
signature to the over dramatisation of the so-
called dialogue and negotiation process on the
side of President Muhammadu Buhari, and his
government.

While the oil companies have not confirmed the
attack in Bonny, it is undeniable that NDA’s
attack had unfavourably affected the revenue
projection of the Federal Government for 2016.

It would be recalled that on the heels of the NDA
ceasefire, the Nigerian Army, launched an
exercise codenamed “Operation Crocodile Smile”,
In what many in the Niger Delta had presumed as
preparation for a full offensive against the backdrop militants.

Some persons, who are opposed to the militants’
action, had anticipated that a military drill by the
Nigeria Army would have been used to end the
crisis.

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But, the NDA’s attack in the midst of
militarisation has bolstered militants’ assertions
that they are determined to cripple oil
production, and deflate the army’s assertion to
flush them out of the creeks.

Adding, the recent attack has further
dimmed the possibility of a speedy resolution of
the conflict in the Niger Delta.

According to a lead fellow at 6th Column,
Eugene Abels, the blowing up of the Bonny 48-
inch crude pipeline came as a surprise.

“I was of the impression a ceasefire was in place
for the cessation of hostilities. I find it distasteful
that our strategic oil facilities are been destroyed
with attendant negative impact to our
environment, as funding for replacement might
be impossible. Most people in the region like me
have not been consulted, and don’t even know
what the objectives of the insurgency is all about
and that is the position of the old woman in
Ikensi and Finima,” said Abels.

He continued: “This signifies danger as our
capacity to produce our primary revenue product
is being depleted daily. The attack on the bonny
facility cripples our capacity  to sell and evacuate
the product, and becomes a cumulative
degrading of our crude oil architecture. It has
resulted to flight of investors from the region, a
state of uncertainty, and with it comes the
attendant negative impact on our national
finances and reserves,” he said.

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