- Minister engages youths to end militancy
NIGER Delta Avengers (NDA), a militant group, says its men have blown up the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line in Port Harcourt. aAstatement released on the NDA
website on Saturday by Mudoch Agbinibo, its spokesperson states, “On the 23rd September 2016, our strike team at 20:40PM hours time has brought down oil productions activities at the bonny 48 inches crude oil export Line,” read the statement. “This 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. “Since, the cessation of hostilities and the commitment of the PAN Niger Delta Elders and stakeholders team, the Nigerian government and her agents are turning the expectations of the Niger Delta to shameful scenes obtainable in Nollywood acts and as well intimidation, blackmails and continuous profiling of Niger Delta sons and daughters. This is only a wakeup call; we may not have other way to say it better. “We are still in favour of the dialogue and negotiations but we are warning against the peace of our time! We want the peace with honour. We will resist all actions undermining the ceasefire from side of the government and it security agents/ agencies. The world is watching, time is running against the Nigerian state. “While we were promised that the concerns of Niger Delta will be addresses once a truce is declared, the activities of the government and her agents are not assuring enough, there has been no progress and no breakthrough. We cannot be continuously fooled, the government cannot justify the indiscriminate targeting of Niger Delta youths while glorifying on these victimization of law abiding citizens of the region.” Bonny is Nigeria’s third largest crude oil export terminal, with a production capacity of 5.7million barrels — second only to Forcados (6,289,832 barrels) and Qua Iboe (8,520,000 barrels). Meanwhile, Worried by the lingering cases of militancy and restiveness in the region, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Uguru Usani, has engaged youths in a dialogue with a view to finding solution to the crisis in the region Usani who stated this recently in Abuja, noted that “the youths are critical to the process of restoring peace to the region; saying that any effort to shop for peace without carrying the youths along will be an exercise in futility,” hence the need to constructively engage the youths in a meaningful dialogue. He said the damage to the environment and the economy of the people of Niger Delta is great; and the need for remediation and reconstruction is an urgency that cannot await the political “padding” and grandstanding of our political gladiators in the cosy chambers of the National Assembly. According to him, “ the solution cannot be achieved through undue militancy and confrontations that can only lead to further damage to a fragile environment and trauma to the people of Niger Delta. “The current face-off between
the militants and the Federal Govern¬ment may worsen the already prostrate econo¬my. He said, “Over the past few months since the militants began renewed agitation, there has been a dras¬tic fall in the quantum of oil production, putting further strain on the economy. The Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Ikachukwu, recently disclosed that the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers had cut down oil production by 800,000 barrel per day.” Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting with Global Director of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Mr. Andrew Brown, in Abuja, expressed concern over this development, saying “We have to be very seri¬ous with the situation in the Niger Delta because it threatens the national economy.” He, therefore, urged aggrieved persons, militants and commu¬nities in the Niger Delta to have a change of mind and work with those who had been charged by the Federal Government to review the amnesty programme initiated by the late President Umar Yar’Adua. However, many people and the International community are of the opinion that military confrontation may not be the solution to the crisis. British Foreign Minister, Philip Ham¬mond, said this in his advice to President Buhari. He stressed the need for government to deal with the root causes of the conflict because, in his opinion, a military confrontation could end in disaster. “History teaches that nation building is a journey of dedication; fence mending, commitment, diligence, perseverance, and patriotic vision. “In the past eight months or so, there has been a proliferation of militant groups in the creeks, with the Niger Delta Avengers NDA, being the most prominent. These groups have been destroying the oil infrastructure and thus crippling the capacity of Nigeria to meet her 2.4 million barrels per day OPEC quota. All the oil producing companies have suffered setbacks and huge losses. Nigeria has lost huge sums of money since the resurgence of militant activity. “The Monthly Financial and Operations Report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC, indicated that in April 2016 alone, 34 billion Naira was spent on pipeline repairs. The gas supply to the thermal electricity generation companies GENCO’s,has plunged, thus worsening the power supply outlook in the country. With the gloomy statistics breathing down on the Nigerian economy as a result of these disruptive sabotages, the 2016 budget may be difficult to achieve, and efforts to revamp the economy may miss the mark.