Buhari Holds Emergency Security Meeting, Chevron in Talks With Niger Delta Avengers

by on May 11, 2016

The Presidency yesterday summoned an emer­gency meeting on the security situation in the Niger Delta where a new militant group has virtually paralysed oil production through mass attacks on pipelines and other facilities.

Vice President Yemi Osin­bajo chaired the meeting, which was attended by security chiefs, CEOs of oil firms and other rel­evant stakeholders from the Ni­ger Delta.
The meeting was called by the Federal Government to seek ways to contain the growing at­tacks on oil facilities by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which has given 12 conditions to be met by President Muhammadu Buhari before it lays down arms.
The group has threatened to cripple the nation’s oil exports if its demands are not met.
Osinbajo first met with some security chiefs from the Nigerian
 Navy and Nigerian Army, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and other top government functionaries.
He also met separately with the Bayelsa State Governor Seri­ake Dickson and a renowned tra­ditional ruler in the state, Ama­yanabo of Toun Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff.
Along with Diete-Spiff and Dickson, Osinbajo met with some oil companies including Shell, To­tal, AGIP, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) and Chev­ron.
The meeting came a day af­ter the Federal Government sent gunboats and troops to some parts of the Niger Delta, especial­ly Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State to crush the militants.
Meanwhile, there are indi­cations that Chevron, which is among the oil firms worst hit by the renewed attacks, has opened talks with the Niger Delta Avengers.
It was learnt that the Amer­ican oil company is secretly ne­gotiating with the representatives of the Niger Delta Avengers to gain access to its damaged facilities at Escravos.
Chevron and the Niger Delta Avengers are meet­ing in Malta, an Island in South It­aly, where the American oil giant is trying to reach an agreement with Niger Delta Avengers for the company to gain access and repair its dam­aged facilities.
Attempts to get a response on the matter failed as Mr. Deji Haastrup, Chevron’s Group Man­aging Director (Public Affairs Di­vision), did not pick calls put to his cell phone.
Prior to this development, the Nigerian Navy had last Thurs­day confirmed that the militants attacked an offshore facility be­longing to Chevron.
The Voice of America (VOA) reported that the latest attack stoked the embers of a renewed militancy in the Niger Delta, which was the site of an insur­gency by communities demand­ing a greater share of oil wealth.
Citing the Nigeria Navy spokesman, Chris Ezekobe, VOA said the attackers used explosive devices to blow up a facility that collected oil and gas near the ma­jor Escravos export terminal in Delta State.
There were no casualties, Eze­kobe said. He didn’t know if any oil had spilled.
Indeed, tension has been mounting in the Niger Delta fol­lowing the resurgence of militant activities resulting in the coordi­nated bombings of oil and gas fa­cilities in the region.
The NDA has claimed re­sponsibility for the recent attacks on a Shell facility at Forcados, Chevron Okan platform at Abit­eye in Escravos as well as pipe­lines transporting oil to the War­ri and Kaduna refineries.
Yesterday, three soldiers at­tached to the Joint military Force in the Niger Delta code-named Operation Pulo Shield were feared to have been killed in an ambush by a gang of unknown gunmen in Bayelsa State.
The new developments have prompted President Muham­madu Buhari to threaten to deal with the militants like the Federal Government is dealing with Boko Haram insurgents.
As part of his plans to make good his threat, President Buha­ri has directed the military to un­cover those behind the bombing of oil and gas installations in the oil-bearing and producing Niger Delta region.

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