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Niger Delta: Before the attacks escalate

After blowing up Chevron oil platform and other subsequent attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta recently, the militants are back again, rekindling the no-love-lost posture with the Nigerian authorities.

Berated by some public policy analysts on their illegal activities in the region which have led to shutting down of oil facilities by the multi-nationals apparently, the country is heading for another year of merry go round even as economic policies of the Buhari administration bites harder on the masses.

Going by the reports, the masterminds of the attack on the oil installations in the Niger Delta are remnants of the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Egbesu, and other militant groups in the region, who have formed the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), agitating against what they see as government’s injustice. Among other demands, they are asking the present administration to abide by the terms and conditions reached at the last National Political Conference.

Another factor fingered is the persecution of the regional commander of the militant groups, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, who has been declared wanted by the security agencies.

Safeguarding the oil installation was one of their past work during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration but now times have changed for them. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua in 2009, granted amnesty to all the militants groups in the Niger Delta under the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which went a long way dousing the tension in the region and subsequent reorientation of the militants.

With President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC), the country seems to have been divided between ‘we and them’ and this may have led to the frustration of the militants who have threatened  fire and brimstone to disrupt activities of oil facilities in the country, bringing  untold hardship in oil and gas ministry.

Both sides are now at daggers-drawn strategising on how to outwit each other in firearms. There is nothing wrong if this government can borrow a leaf from the Yar’Adua government as days are gone when naked force and brutality was the way. All over the world, leaders rule by negotiation and not by force of gun. So, it will not be out of place or a sense of weakness if the Buhari administration engages the militants in dialogue. This is because any attempt to use force to subdue them may produce counter effect.

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