The Niger Delta Avengers has called off its ceasefire with the Federal Government, more than a year after it announced an end to attacks on oil installations and facilities in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
Spokesperson of the militant group Murdoch Agbinibo announced the end to the ceasefire in a statement which was published on the group’s website on Friday.
In ending the ceasefire, it accused the Federal Government of working with a fraudulent group known as the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers which is bent on helping the government to jeopardise the “sincere efforts of the Niger Delta people” to achieve economic, social and political freedom.
The group also accused the government of being insincere in its efforts to address issues in the Niger Delta and blamed the elders for urging it to adopt a peaceful approach to drawing attention to the needs of people in the region.
“To the elders of the Niger Delta, PANDEF, we warned you against the antics of the Nigerian Government yet you requested a chance to broker a new vision for our people; we told you and the rest of the world that the Nigerian Government is only interested in our oil wells and not our wellbeing yet you told us the signs are different this time around,” the statement read in part.
“Instead of allowing us to continue our quest to bring the Nigerian economy to our targeted zero daily production, which recorded huge success; you threatened us with Tompolo to stop the struggle; out of respect for elders and not to the threat of Tompolo we adhered the call and halted our strike actions hoping you (PANDEF) would keep your own side of the bargain.”
Accusing the government of only being interested in the crude oil deposits in the region, the Avengers said, “We want to make it known to the PANDEF and the Nigeria government that our call for halt on “Operation Red Economy” is officially over.”
Having trashed the ceasefire, the Niger Delta Avengers plan to launch “brutish, brutal and bloody” attacks on “every oil installation” in the region.
The militant group had declared a ceasefire in August 2016 after PANDEF and others including Vice President Osinbajo appealed to them to embrace peace and dialogue.
Between January 2016 and August, the group claimed responsibility for more than 20 attacks on oil facilities and installations in the Niger Delta.
These attacks led to a significant drop in the Nigeria’s oil output and hurt the country’s economy which was at the time under the grip of a recession owing largely to a slump in oil prices.
As the attacks took a toll on the country’s oil output, many, including President Muhammadu Buhari, appealed to the group to embrace dialogue.
The Federal Government also promised to address issues raised by the militants and PANDEF and develop the region.
Beyond that, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo visited Niger Delta states in January and held meetings with PANDEF and community leaders.
The militants are, however, insisting that the government has not kept its promises and that it has not been insincere about its plans for the region.