Africa

Nigerian rebels say government not serious about talks

Niger Delta Avengers threaten to further hit oil output

Rafiu Oriyomi Ajakaye   | 27.07.2016
Nigerian rebels say government not serious about talks

Lagos

By Rafiu Ajakaye

LAGOS, Nigeria

Militants in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region have accused the government of not being serious about pursuing dialogue, warning that they will bring oil output from the region to zero if the administration does not change course.

“They [the government of Muhammadu Buhari] are not serious about any dialogue but [they] make it seem that the Niger Delta Avengers are the ones not ready for dialogue,” Mudoch Agbinibo, spokesman of the militant group, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group claimed that the government was purchasing drones to crush the militants while feigning readiness for dialogue.

“The said ‘peace talks’ or ‘dialogue’ by the federal government is a delay tactic employed by the federal government to enable their purchased drones arrive from the United States by the end of August at the latest,” according to the group’s spokesman.

“Mr. President you can purchase all the drones in Europe and Untied States but it won’t stop the Niger Delta Avengers from bringing the country’s economy to zero,” he added.

The militants have since January been conducting a campaign of pipeline bombing across the region, bringing oil output to the lowest in Nigeria’s history – below 700,000 barrels per day, down from the 2.2 million estimated in a 2016 fiscal plan.

Hit by over 50 percent slash in oil earnings, the Nigerian government has repeatedly said it would have dialogue with the militants, calling on them to stop the bombing.

Yesterday, another militant group – the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta – said they are officially in talks with the government, though the Avengers have proven to be the most dangerous group at the moment.

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