Trouble is brewing in the Niger Delta swamplands, home to oil, the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, as the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators has said it will renew its attacks on oil installations in the region September 10, according to reports.
The coalition is miffed that government has never inaugurated a committee to handle the Niger Delta issue just as it has done on the recent Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike action, adding that it had not suspended the quit notice handed over to Yorubas and Hausas in the region.
“We are not talking only about the notice to quit; we are also talking about the Niger Delta Republic. We have seen that the Federal Government is not serious about the Niger Delta issue. Let me make a point here; the Academic Staff Union of Universities is on strike and the government has set up a committee to engage in a dialogue with ASUU,” the group told SUNDAY PUNCH in an interview.
“This has never happened in the case of the Niger Delta; the Federal Government has never inaugurated a committee to handle the Niger Delta issue. The only language the Federal Government seems to understand is violence.
“September 10 is the day we will resume attacks (on oil installations). By September 10, which is on Sunday, over 5,000 members of the Niger Delta Coalition of Agitators will shut down no less than over 20 platforms,” the group pointed out.
The impending attacks are coming at a time Nigeria desperately needs oil revenue to keep its battered economy running.
The threat if carried out would worsen Nigeria’s suboptimal oil production levels of 1.55 million barrels per day, which is about 30 percent percent below the 2017 budget benchmark of 2.2 million barrels per day.
According to analysts at FDC, production could well be a major challenge to the revenue expectations of government to prosecute the budget rather than prices at the international market.
The projected oil revenue of the recently signed 2017 budget at N1.99 trillion is premised on an average oil price of $44.5 per barrel and a production level of 2.2 million barrel per day.
Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria’s central bank chief had described Nigeria’s recovery from its worst recession in over two decades as “fragile,” warning the country “could relapse in a more protracted recession” if the right
policies are not put in place.
A charm offensive led by Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president in his acting capacity months back, which kept the uprising at bay, with renewed amnesty payments buying calm in the creeks, helping boost production to around 1.7 million barrels per day (bpd) from a low of 1.4 million bpd last year, seem to be waning on what is perceived as government’s lack of seriousness on the Niger Delta issue.