Every Nigerian knows not to give praise prematurely. The minute you give thanks for being supplied electricity, you suffer a power outage. It is a science.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) seems to not be aware of this rule.
Last week, NNPC claimed Nigeria’s oil output which was at a 30-year low, was on the rise following repairs and cessation of attacks by Niger Delta Avengers.
In response, the Avengers -whose origin you can read all about here – took to Twitter on Sunday to announce what their ‘strikers’ had been up to during the week. Their account, @NDAvengers has since been suspended.
On Friday, to celebrate the start of the weekend, an NNPC owned pipeline connected to the Warri refinery was blown.
Saturday night saw NPDC -an NNPC subsidiary – operated Batan Flow Station lose two lines to the militants.
And although the Lord rested on Sunday, the Niger Delta Avengers didn’t. Chevron facilities close to Abiteye flow station were the victims of the group’s Sunday attacks.
All of these attacks were confirmed by NNPC spokesman Garba Deen Muhammad. In a classic non helpful spokesman statement, he said, “Government will not be detterred in finding a lasting solution to this problem”.
On Thursday, a meeting between President Muhammad Buhari and Niger Delta community leaders was held. Following that, Ijaw Youth Council’s Eric Omare said “the government has not taken any practical steps towards resolving the issue”. He also urged the Avengers not to carry out any more attacks to give room for constructive dialogue.
The Niger Delta Avengers have previously stated that they would only engage in dialogue when their demands are met. Chief amongst which is a larger appropriation of oil generated revenue to host communities and a clean up of the polluted region.
The clean up of polluted Niger Delta regions flagged off in May 2016 by a typical Nigerian speech giving, ribbon cutting ceremony in Ogoni land will not commence until 2017 or later.
Legborsi Pyagbara, President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) told Guardian Nigeria, logistics challenge and infrastructural gaps, were reasons for the delay. The training of indigenes to take part in the clean up was cited as another reason for the delay.
The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, meanwhile, has called for patience, as government sets about laying the foundation for the clean up.
Whether this delay will result in more victory tweets by the militant group and a further decline of the nation’s oil production remains unseen.