A new board of directors for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has been announced by the country’s President Muhammadu Buhari, focusing media attention further on the West African country and major global oil producer.
Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru will become the company’s new managing director, replacing oil minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. The former leader will remain on the board as chairman. The board will now include President Buhari’s chief of staff Abba Kyari as well.
Around the time of the announcement, militants from the Niger Delta Avengers claimed new attacks on the already severely weakened Nigerian oil infrastructure on Tuesday.
The group aims to extract commitments from the national government guaranteeing the development of the region the NDA represents. The group says the region will seek secession from Nigeria if its demands are not met.
The Sunday after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, the NDA took to social media to call for a similar referendum for the people of the Niger Delta.
The Avengers also asked President Buhari to visit the region so he could see firsthand how the communities there are faring.
‘Mr. President come and see for yourself what the host communities are going through in the hands of Nigeria government and the multinationals,” one of the group’s leaders, Brigadier General Mudoch Agbinibo, said.
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The call for a breakup of Nigeria was not unexpected in the wake of the Brexit vote, with some analysts saying that Brexit would “encourage separatists in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian government had previously said it was willing to work out an agreement with the militants for a ceasefire, though the group denied the authorities any such opportunity in an announcement the next day.
The militant group vows only to attack foreign and state-run oil properties, while sparing the lives of civilians, regardless of national or regional origin.
By James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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