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The Niger Delta Avengers announced yesterday that they have bombed the Bonny pipeline, which carries crude to the Shell-operated Forcados terminal. The militant group had agreed a ceasefire with the Nigerian government and was about to begin negotiations on a more permanent solution to the situation in the Delta.
According to the NDA, the pipeline was bombed in response to government attempts of “over dramatisation of the so-called dialogue and negotiation process on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government.” The group added in its statement that the government will have to work harder to convince them it has the best interests of the Delta communities at heart during the negotiations.
Shell, which operates the pipeline, declined to comment on the NDA announcement, but recently said it was preparing to restart the operation of the Forcados terminal following seven months of force majeure. The force majeure was declared after the NDA bombed an underwater pipeline feeding oil into the terminal.
The Financial Times cites Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari as saying at a meeting with Barrack Obama that the army might need to get involved in the Delta. It is possible, according to Western diplomatic sources who talked to the FT, that Buhari’s words reached the NDA and the group reacted swiftly.
The attack was condemned by the Pan-Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum, which represents the elders of the communities living in the Delta. The forum’s leader, Chief Edwin Clark, said in a statement following NDA’s announcement of the attack that the NDA had violated the 60-day ceasefire and had no justification. Clark appealed to the militants to lay down their arms and “remain calm and peaceful, even in the face of obvious provocation.”
The NDA claims it is fighting for a fairer distribution of the oil wealth generated by the crude reserves in the Niger Delta, with a bigger portion of it remaining in the region, where poverty and unemployment are rife.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.