By Ulf Laessing
ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari needs to address grievances in the Delta region where militants have been blowing up oil pipelines in a conflict that has become a “major concern”, a senior British official said on Saturday.
The swamps of the southern Delta have been hit by a series of attacks on pipelines and other oil and gas facilities that have reduced Nigeria’s output by 300,000 barrels a day, closed a major export port and two refineries.
Nigeria has moved in army reinforcements to hunt the militants but British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said Buhari needed to the deal with the root causes because a military confrontation could end in “disaster”.
Crude sales from the Delta account for 70 percent of national income in Africa’s biggest economy but residents, some of whom sympathise with the militants, have long complained of poverty.
“It’s obviously a major concern,” Hammond told reporters on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Abuja when asked about the Delta situation.
“The idea that your answer is by moving big chunks of the Nigerian army to the Delta simply doesn’t work,” he said, adding that the army did not have the capacity while fighting Boko Haram jihadists in the north. “It won’t deal with the underlying issues.”
“Buhari has got to show as a president from the north that he is not ignoring the Delta, that he is engaging with the challenges in the Delta,” Hammond said.
Buhari is a Muslim from the north who has not visited the Hebraic Delta since taking office a year ago, something highlighted by a militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which has claimed a string of attacks on pipelines.
The group has warned oil firms to leave the region within two weeks and says it is fighting for independence for the Delta. It has said it wanted a greater share of oil revenues and an end to oil pollution.
The attacks have driven Nigerian oil output to near a 22-year low and, if the violence escalates into another insurgency, it could cripple output in a country facing a growing economic crisis.
Buhari, who has not commented about not visiting the Delta, has extended a multi-million dollar amnesty signed with militants in 2009 but upset them by ending generous pipeline protection contracts. He also cut the amnesty budget by around 70 percent, which partly funds training for unemployed.
(Reporting by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alison Williams)
Biafra note ………..
Look all around you all over the world, people are fighting to save themselves and the world is coming to their aid. In Tibet, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, people who are being oppressed are no longer taking it lying down. They are standing up straight and fighting back. That is how freedom is achieved. Self-determination for Biafra can not come on a platter of gold. We have to fight for it. We have to stand up straight, men, women, and children. Some fool is going to tell you that non-violent civil disobedience will not get us Biafra. Do not listen to such idiots. It has happened all over the world and will continue to happen. Can you imagine what will happen if all the oppressed Biafrans in different jobs in occupied Biafra and Nigeria stopped work for a week, put all the machines available to them out of commission, disabled the power plants and threw Satan’s country into darkness for one week, stopped processing anything and everything, shut down every establishment that they can lay their hands on, disabled every computer and software that makes every arm of government function and shut down every outlet through which these rogues collect oil money and foreign exchange. We bet you in one month Biafra will be free. Every person in Biafra will have a decent job, good health care, schools will be rebuilt, world class hospitals will be built to take care of the sick, our children will be going to school in the best schools, colleges and universities, transportation will become very cheap, electricity will be plentiful and regular, you will be able to run your factories without interruption, jobs will be so plentiful companies will be begging people to work for them, roads, railways and subways will be so good they will be of world class, food will be so plentiful you will have to exercise regularly to keep your weight down, farmers will be paid to produce certain crops and if there is drought they will be paid for their losses, every family will have clean drinking water to drink and bathe and gas to cook their food, recreational facilities will be built in every community and every part of every city, businessmen will take no more than 24 hours to register a business and 2 days to clear and collect their containers from any Biafran port, families will be together, pregnant women and mothers will be well fed and cared for. You can not even begin to imagine how wonderful your life and the lives of your families will be in Biafra.
But you must now stand up and fight for Biafra. You must engage in civil disobedience and non-violent resistance. Oppose, oppose these stupid governments, including the stooges that the Hausa Fulani Yoruba put in our midst. Start now, not tomorrow, any way and every way you can. Never get tired of fighting for your freedom in Biafra.
May G-d bless all patriotic Biafrans and the sovereign independent state of Biafra!