Full-scale violence appears imminent in the Niger Delta region going by the flexing of muscle between the military and the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Unbending in its resolve to completely bring an already bleeding economy to its knees, NDA, which has claimed responsiblity for the numerous attacks on the pipelines in the region, has issued a fresh threat, declaring “Operation no flow of oil” in the region.
But the Navy has vowed to get the militants by all means region.
The avengers also cautioned new groups emerging in the struggle, including Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), to “dry their gunpowder” and keep their anti-aircraft missiles until the military warplanes deployed for aerial reconnaissance in the region kill anybody or destroy property.
The group enjoined affiliate bodies “in the struggle for the liberation of the Niger Delta” to limit their attacks only to oil facilities but spare oil workers and soldiers.
This came 20 hours after the destruction of Forcados crude oil export terminal trunkline in Delta State and another one in Bayelsa State, bringing estimated daily loss in revenue to about N14.4 billion.
In a statement entitled “Message to our Brothers in the Struggle”, signed by its spokesperson, ‘Brigadier General’ Mudoch Agbinibo and posted on its website, on Saturday afternoon, NDA reiterated its intention to grind the economy to a halt by ensuring that no oil flows from any of the export terminals.
“The liberation of the Niger Delta people has taken a new swing with the daily emergence of new groups all over the region. The avengers are calling on all groups in the region to be strong and resolute as it is obvious that God is on our side.
“The high command of the avengers is calling on you not to attack any soldier and those claiming to have anti-aircraft missiles should desist from targeting any aircraft.
“We must desist from any life threatening actions that will derail our genuine struggle for our people,” the statement read in part.
The group affirmed, contrary to reports from some quarters, that in spite of the aerial surveillance ongoing in some Ijaw communities in the region, no soul had been lost to the military siege.
“The military warplanes hovering round our towns and villages have not struck a soul or destroyed any property, so those groups with anti-aircraft missiles should dry their gunpowder.”
“When it is time to engage the military in combat, the whole world will know they start the war and not the avengers.
The group boasted that in spite of heavy presence of soldiers around oil and gas pipelines, “we still find way to carry out our actions without attacking soldiers.The avengers will deal with any group that refuses and attack military.”
Meanwhile, the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS DELTA), Warri Naval Base, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, has vowed to unmask those who destroyed the Forcados 48-inch crude oil export terminal pipeline in the early hours of Friday.
The naval chief, who visited the site on Friday, also warned Odimodi and Ogulagha communities, which are hosts to the export terminal pipelines, to prepare for the consequences of allowing the destruction to take place in spite of their earlier promise to the navy in April to take ownership of the facility.
It will be recalled that the crude oil export trunkline was repaired between April and May, after it was bombed in February and the members of the NDA had claimed responsibility for the destructions.