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Nigeria’s former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, tweeted on Thursday that President Muhammadu Buhari planned to break up Nigeria if oil is found in the north of the country—the north, which the Niger Delta Avengers have claimed are for now, unjustly tapping into the oil wealth of southern Nigeria.
Buhari has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to start drilling for oil in the northeastern part of Nigeria. In late July, the NNPC said in a statement that it was intensifying drilling in the Chad Basin and other parts of the Inland Sedimentary Basin in search of oil.
Fani-Kayode took to Twitter on Thursday to voice his opinion, tweeting:
“My prayer for Nigeria is that oil is found in commercial quantities in the core north. I am glad that @MBuhari is looking for it desperately. If he finds it he and the north will be the first to call for a break up of the country. If he fails to find it they will continue to be the greatest obstacle to the restructuring of our nation and they will continue to provide the greatest opposition to the peaceful division of our country. Why? Because without southern oil the north is nothing.”
Politicians in Nigeria are debating restructuring of the country.
Buhari has told a UN delegation visiting Nigeria that "suddenly we are a poor country", the BBC reported on Friday.
Related: Oil Prices React Stoically On Biggest Rig Count Rise In 2016
Nigeria’s economy is largely dependent on revenues from sales of crude oil. With the price rout and oil at around US$40 per barrel, Nigeria’s local currency, the naira, has lost one third of what it was worth at crude at US$100.
Fani-Kayode’s twitter rant comes just a few days after a Nigerian rebel group splintered from the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) accused ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and nineteen other politicians of supporting separatist attacks in the oil-rich nation.
And on Thursday, a new group appeared to have come on stage in the attacks on oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta. Various militant groups claim to be protecting the rights of the local communities to get a bigger portion of oil revenues and a cleaner environment.
Attacks in recent months have taken offline so many barrels that Nigeria’s production has dropped by as much as 45 percent.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.