Nigeria may lose $8.64m daily due to fresh attack by Avengers •Niger Delta leaders sends US to Buhari

There are indications that Nigeria may be losing up to $8.64 million daily due to fresh attacks on the Bonny 48-inch pipeline, which connects the major 180,000 barrel per day Trans Niger Pipeline.

The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), said in a statement on its website on Saturday that it had attacked the Bonny crude export line on Friday night.

Previous attacks in past months have cut Nigeria’s daily crude oil output to less than one million barrels per day from the targeted 2.1 million barrels per day in the 2016 budget.

Crude oil is selling at an average of $45 per barrel recently and by implications, Nigeria may be losing $8.64 million due to the latest attack should the Trans Niger Pipeline be closed down.

Shell spokesman in Nigeria, Mr. Precious Okolobo, responding through a text message to Sunday Tribune, said that “we cannot comment on the reported incident; we will communicate relevant operational updates as necessary.”

The attack came barely 24 hours after members of the Pan-Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum expressed worries over possible resumption of hostilities by militants because of perceived lack of commitment by the Federal Government towards the proposed dialogue.

“On the 23rd September 2016, our strike team at 20:40 p.m. brought down oil production activities at the Bonny 48 inches crude oil Export Line as a wake-up call to the Nigerian government.

“This action is a signature to the overdramatisation of the so-called dialogue and negotiation process on the side of President Muhammadu Buhari and his government,” ‘Brigadier General’ Mudoch Agbinibo, spokesman of the group stated.

The militant group chided the Nigerian government for playing to the gallery with the proposed dialogue in spite of the commitment of elders and stakeholders from the region to bring peace.

“Since, the cessation of hostilities and the commitment of the Pan Niger Delta Elders and Stakeholders team, the Nigerian government and her agents are turning the expectations of the Niger Delta to shameful scenes obtainable in Nollywood acts, including intimidations, blackmails and continuous profiling of Niger Delta sons and daughters.

“This is only a wake-up call; we may not have other way to say it better,” the group warned.

While expressing faith in the long-awaited proposed dialogue and negotiations, NDA said “we are warning against ‘the peace of our term’! We want the peace with honour.”

It vowed to “resist all actions undermining the ceasefire, from side of the government and its security agents/ agencies.”

According to the militant group, “the world is watching, time is running against the Nigerian state; while we were promised that the concerns of Niger Delta will be addressed once a truce is declared, the activities of the government and its agents are not assuring enough, there has been no progress and no breakthrough.

“We cannot be continuously fooled, the government cannot justify the indiscriminate targeting of Niger Delta youths while glorifying on the victimisation of law abiding citizens of the region.”

Sunday Tribune recall that some notable leaders in the Niger Delta led by Chief Edwin Clark, on Friday in a statement issued in Abuja, had rejected the planned Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Summit slated for the 26th – 27th September, being organised by the Federal Government.

Clark and his colleagues said that a proposed parallel summit would be meaningless since the Federal Government had allegedly failed to initiate dialogue to negotiate with the region despite the cessation of hostilities by militants.

They noted that the summit, which is rumoured to have been postponed indefinitely, was contrary to the expectations of people around the world on the Niger Delta question.

Meanwhile, leaders in the region have called on the United States to prevail on President Buhari to initiate a genuine dialogue in order to halt the renewed militant hostilities in the region.

Chief Clark, on Saturday, told a three-man delegation of US officials to soften the heart of President Buhari on the proposed dialogue.

The officials had paid visit to Clark and his Pan Niger Delta team in Warri, Delta State.

The US officials including a Political Officer from its embassy in Abuja, an official from Washington and one security detail had a closed-door session with the stakeholders, avoiding the prying eyes of journalists.

But a former Minister of Police Affairs, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo, who represented Chief Clark, told the press at the end of the meeting that, “It is timely that the United States has come again on a fact-finding mission. We just told them that we want a dialogue and not the summit that Federal Government had intended to convene.

“It is equally a wise decision of government to have suspended  that inappropriate summit going by reports we have received. We believe that the answer is not summit. The answer is dialogue. The way forward is not these jamborees or endless summits, the reports of which we have a thousand and one in the shelves over past ones that have been held.

“So we have faith in the US fact-finding team. They have come to see things for themselves. And we take them for their word to take the feedback to their home government who will then be in position to advise the Federal Government in the overall goal of resolving the current situation.”

However,  one of the US officials, while fielding questions from journalists, said: “We can’t  talk to you on this visit. It is the Consul General or the Ambassador that could have spoken to you if they were here. We are sorry, don’t feel offended.”