Niger Delta Avengers Declare Ceasefire with a Condition
Militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has declared a ceasefire. The NDA ceasefire comes hours after revelations of new fighter jets procured by the military to combat militancy.
The group which has claimed responsibility for many attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta resulting in production cuts announced the ceasefire Saturday night.
While government officials and many observers will undoubtedly see the NDA ceasefire as a possible lifeline for Nigeria’s ailing oil-dependent economy, the militant group gave a condition on which peace is to be maintained.
In a message posted on the group’s website late on Saturday, the NDA said it would “observe a cessation of hostilities” in the Niger delta.
It added it would support any effort to negotiate with “the federal government of Nigeria, representatives from the home countries of all multinational oil corporations and neutral international mediators.”
The group however added a caveat: “our cessation of hostilities … unless the ruling political APC (All Progressives Congress party) continues … to arrest, intimidate, invade and harass innocent citizens and invade especially Ijaw communities.”
It is worthy of note that the NDA ceasefire declaration has been preceded, in recent weeks, by arguments between a splinter group – the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers – and the major group on the need to end violent attacks.
The splinter group also named a number of politicians including Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, and other notable faces from the South-South as NDA sponsors.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan was similarly accused of being behind the emergence of the militant group, an allegation he has denied and attributed to the handiwork of his detractors.
It is yet unclear if the NDA ceasefire would bring about complete silence in the creeks of the oil-rich region as smaller groups are believed to have emerged. A new cluster claimed responsibility for a Friday attack on a pipeline in Delta state.
According to AFP, all multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria including Shell, Exxon, Chevron, Eni have suffered attacks in 2016, a possible indication that there are multiple groups responsible for the attacks.
The oil sector accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of government revenue. The NDA ceasefire may be a major turning point for the economy just as oil prices appear to remain steady above $50.
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