…Urges Buhari to withdraw military from region
30 August 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Niger Delta Avengers militant group, which has carried out a series of attacks on oil and gas installations in Nigeria’s Delta energy hub in the last few months, said on Monday it had halted hostilities.
In a statement on its website addressed to Nigeria’s president, the group said it expected “a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria.”
The statement by the Niger Delta Avengers comes just over a week after the militant group said it was ready for a ceasefire and talks with the government.
Also, only yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari while speaking at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, declared that the government would begin treating the militants like Boko Haram, if they fail to embrace dialogue and a pathway to peaceful resolution.
The region, which produces most of the oil that makes up 70 percent of government revenue, has been hit by pipeline attacks since January which have cut the OPEC member’s output by 700,000 barrels a day to 1.56 million bpd.
“We have listened carefully and halted hostilities in the Niger Delta,” said the Avengers in the statement, presented as an “open letter” to President Muhammadu Buhari on the group’s website.
“We expect a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria,” the group said. It added that “no amount of troop surge and simulation exercises will make you win the oil war.”
The group, which has claimed responsibility for several attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw the military presence in the region.
Nigeria’s military on Saturday said that it had launched a new offensive against militants in the Delta, killing five and arresting 23, to crack down on criminal activities.
Recurring attacks on oil and gas facilities by militants in the Niger Delta region has cut the country’s crude production — which stood at 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) at the start of the year — to around 700,000 bpd.
The attacks have slashed output at a time when Nigeria is grappling with low global crude prices, which have hammered government revenues, weakening the naira currency and pushing up inflation to near 11-year highs.
See the full statement below:
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to put away the garb of a stooge to the imperialists, whenever he speaks outside Nigeria. We have listened carefully and halted hostilities in the Niger Delta; we expect a genuine and positive attitude to restructuring and self-determination for every component unit of Nigeria. Dear president, what makes those countries (Japan, Germany, France, USA, Britain etc.) great is the ability of their governments to accommodate internal protestations and conflicts for the greater good of their nations over the years. Please stop presenting your government as pawn to the web of military industrialists complex, whenever you leave the shores of Nigeria.
“Nigeria is not a one-man personal property we must have these talks every time if this union must continue to work as one. The people of the Niger Delta have been living here from time immemorial, so we have the secret of the terrain and survival of amphibious operations. No amount of troop surge and simulation exercises will make you win the oil war, you can only win battles. You cannot apply the might of the state to restore the people’s confidence in your leadership when you cannot differentiate between genuine demands and being mismanaged by disorganized characters and tribal lords around you in your government that are playing the court jesters role as well as counting the days that is left in your four years term. You can deceive the whole world but We cannot be deceived by the so glamorized ongoing military operations in the creeks Of Ijaw communities in the Delta coded “Operation Crocodile Smiles”… the world should know that with your pronouncement in Kenya and your attitude to the military build up in the Niger Delta, it is crystal clear that the military has nothing less than a pre-determined genocide in Niger Delta and burn more already scarce national resources to the pockets of those that have failed to locate the missing Chiboks School Girls.
“Conclusively, dear President Muhammadu Buhari please also tell those foreign nations that you are always at ease talking to, while refusing to listen to Nigerians that your troops are about to carrying out extra judicial killings in the Niger Delta in violation of article four of the Geneva Convention with “OPERATION CROCODILE SMILES”. All sane minds knows the meaning of “CROCODILE TEARS” so by code-naming your military operation CROCODILE SMILES only betrays your motives and attitude to the whole world about the Niger Delta question. The whole world will surely applaud you in The Hague when you leave office! This is not the Nigeria and the world of the 1980s and 1990s under General Sani Abacha and your watch.”