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Update: pipeline bombings to resume in the Niger Delta?

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World Pipelines,

Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has recently announced that the country’s oil will not be as valuable within the next few decades. This comes down to the country’s oil and pipeline militants, and how they have caused clients to find alternative means of energy.

When visiting the Niger Delta area – the country’s primary region for producing oil – Osinbajo revealed: “America has stopped buying oil from us. All the countries of Asia that buy oil from us are building alternative means of power, China and Japan are developing electric cars. In fact, Japan has more charging stations than petrol stations. Solar power is getting cheaper … In another 20 - 30 years, our oil won’t be as precious as it is today and that is reality. We must be smart and act intelligently and fast.”

He continued to explain, during his trip, that the Niger Delta area has only a few schools and hospitals, and has detrimental pollution.

A reason for the region’s poor infrastructure is due to the abundance of pipeline vandalism. Osinbajo noted that over 3700 pipeline attacks had occurred in 2014 alone, with more than 20 000 people having died from fires that occurred from pipeline vandalism between 1998 and 2015.

The militant attacks have contributed to the decrease in oil sales. The groups responsible believe that the Niger Delta region should receive a greater share of the country’s energy wealth, as well as be included in the energy dialogues regarding the oil produced from the area.

Infamous militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), had previously threatened to renew pipeline attacks in the Niger Delta area. Their threat to resume bombings was fuelled by the delay of oil negotiations by Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari.

Since then, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) have tried to appeal to the NDA and other militants, explaining that continuing pipeline bombings would only be detrimental whilst negotiations are ongoing.

On 13 January, PANDEF issued the following statement, which was signed by Dr. Alfred Mulade on behalf of the Central Working Committee: “Pan Niger Delta Forum wishes to appeal to all agitators and stakeholders in the region to exercise restraint and remain calm so as to sustain the relative peace enjoyed in the region, as it will enable PANDEF to deepen its engagement process with the Federal Government. Peace remains the primary factor that can usher in sustainable development.

“However, in the face of all these provocations, there is imperative need for us to‎ continue to embrace peace and sustain the ceasefire deal. PANDEF will continue to engage the Federal Government to respond to the urgent need to initiate dialogue process without delay.

“In the light of Mr. President’s New Year message which he endorsed the primacy of dialogue as a sine qua non for the resolution of the issues in the Niger Delta, the Forum appeals to all aggrieved groups to remain calm and hopeful.”

No decision on resuming the bombings has yet been made by the militants.

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