An oil pipeline belonging to the Italian oil company Agip came under several attacks in Nigeria’s oil-rich Bayelsa state. On Friday, the oil militants, the Niger Delta Avengers, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Nigeria’s Niger Delta Avengers carried out several attacks on an oil pipeline in the country’s oil-rich Bayelsa state on Friday. The oil pipelines were operated by Agip Oil, a subsidiary of Eni, an Italian multi-national oil and gas company.
The armed group, based in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, has been calling for a share of profits from oil production with the local population. They also demand regional self-government.
Friday’s attacks came days after president Muhammadu Buhari issued strong remarks against the militants. “Please pass this on to the militants that Nigeria is not negotiable and they had better accept this,” Buhari said.
“The Nigerian constitution is clear as to what they should get and I assure them there will be justice,” Buhari added.
The Nigerian leader agreed to negotiate with the oil militants but has ruled out any talks of secession.
In an interview with DW, Eric Omare, spokesman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), a youth movement in the Niger Delta, said the government is partly to blame for the increasing militancy of the so-called Avengers.
“The recent attacks by the Avengers are as a result of lack of sincerity and commitment to resolve the issues that gave birth to the present militancy,” Omare said.
Omare added that it was wrong for President Buhari to say that Nigeria’s sovereignty is non-negotiable.
“There is need for Nigeria to re-negotiate the basis of their togetherness, being together is not by force. The terms of our existence as a country have not been mutually agreed. Nigeria today is a forced entity; people are forced to live together,” Omare said.
Oil revenue accounts for around 70 percent of Nigeria’s income. These attacks have led to a reduction in oil production, forcing Nigeria to fall behind Angola as Africa’s largest crude oil producer.