Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and truly has enough reserves to become a major exporter which could earn it the revenues necessary to transform the country and truly develop its economy. Unfortunately it is held back by constant violence, piracy, and theft of oil products.
Bloomberg concluded that between 2006 and 2009 Nigeria’s oil output was reduced by 28% due to attacks, such as kidnappings, and bombings of oil installations. The violence was drastically reduced after thousands of fighters threw down their arms and accepted a government amnesty offer in 2009.
There are a few groups, however, which still threaten and carry out attacks, successfully disrupting oil production in the area.
The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) is the largest rebel group in the oil-rich region of the Niger Delta, and it has promised to resume assaults against the petroleum industry after its suspected leader was imprisoned in South Africa.
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Henry Okah was found guilty of 13 counts of terrorism, including a bombing in the capital city of Abuja in 2010 which killed 12 people, and sentenced to 24 years in jail. Officials have always suspected that he is the leader of MEND, a claim that Okah himself has always denied. He does however boast to command the support of various armed factions within Nigeria.
Jomo Gbomo, a spokesman for MEND, stated that a “plague of attacks” will begin on the 5th of April, and “will be sustained until an unreserved apology is offered to MEND and the Nigerian government shows their willingness to dialogue.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com