– There is tension brewing in the Niger Delta
– A 7-day ultimatum set by the Niger Delta Avengers has elapsed
– The demand of the militant group are yet to be met
– Talks between the militants and the government have collapsed
Some tension hangs in the air over the Niger Delta as the two-week ultimatum given owners of oil blocs in the region by Niger Delta Avengers to evacuate their staff and shut down operations ends today, May 26.
The secret talks with the militant group have run into a hitch, says sources. The militant group in a statement by its spokesperson, Col Murdoch Agbinibo on May 12, gave the former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other declared oil bloc owners two weeks to shut down operations or have themselves to blame.
Meanwhile, alleged talks between the Federal Government and an intermediary of Niger Delta Avengers on how to end hostilities in the region by the militant group have collapsed, while security agencies have allegedly concluded plans to infiltrate the meeting of Ijaw youths today in Warri to take a collective position on the Niger Delta Avengers. A security source told our reporter: “All security operatives in the country are currently on their toes following security reports that the Niger Delta Avengers has promised to resume hostilities after the expiration of its two-week ultimatum.”
This came as the people of Egbema ethnic nationality in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State have refuted media reports that the new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers has its base in Egbema Kingdom, saying there was no iota of truth in the said publication.
Egbema people in a statement by Mr Jude Ukori, yesterday, said whoever, said the base of the Niger Delta Avengers was in Egbema Kingdom should identify the location. He noted that despite the fact that they were not getting benefits politically and economically from successive government as a major oil producing kingdom, they will never resort to unlawful acts.
According to him: “The author of the story could have at least mentioned one of the communities in Egbema Kingdom where such a base was situated. Since he failed to mention any, the publication was a wild allegation generated by criminals and mischievous persons in an attempt to drag the good name of Egbema people to the mud.”
Also, Niger Delta Peace Movement in Delta State, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to disregard the accusation by self-acclaimed whistle blowers that ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, was behind the Niger Delta Avengers and explore a pragmatic solution to develop Niger Delta.
Buhari being misinformed A statement by its president, Mr Tonfa Cyprian, said: “These informants are misinforming Mr President out of hatred for Tompolo and their bid to curry favour from him for their personal aggrandizement, but Mr President can end the resurgence of militancy if he makes development of the region his priority.
“From careful observation of the pattern of attack by the militants’ on oil installations, it is obvious that it will be very difficult to contain their operations with force because they are very conversant with the terrain. The weapon to use is not force but development.”
The Niger Delta Avengers, says it has bombed the main pipeline supplying gas that provides electricity to the Escravos tank farm in Delta state owned by Chevron. The militants who have renew their onslaught against oil facilities made this known via its Twitter account, @NDAvengers.
The group said their action was because Chevron’s refused to listen to its May 12 warning not to fix a major crude pipeline blown up by the group early in the month.
The group did not disclose if the latest attack led to human casualties.