LAGOS — A militant group notorious for devastating attacks on Nigeria’s oil industry in the 2000s on Sunday called for dialogue to end renewed violence that has cut oil output.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said its previous attempts to cripple Nigeria’s oil industry did not work and appealed to another armed group, Niger Delta Avengers, to give peace a chance.
"Our message to the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is simple: The Niger Delta struggle is beyond attacks on oil installations," MEND said in a statement.
MEND urged the Avengers, who rejected on Wednesday a government truce offer, to join negotiations with authorities and to put down their weapons.
Despite the "euphoria of each successful attack", said Jomo Gbomo, who claims to be a spokesman for MEND, the group realised "the gargantuan problems which confront our region" like corruption and pollution continued to grow.
Most of the recent attacks on oil facilities in the oil-rich south have been claimed by the NDA, who want a fairer share of revenue from the sector for local people.
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered enhanced security in the delta as NDA sabotage of pipelines and attacks on installations have reduced crude production to 1.4 million barrels per day.
The emergence of militant outfits recalls the situation in the 2000s, when groups with broadly similar aims came together under the MEND banner.
The rebels were bought off in the government-brokered amnesty deal but Buhari’s initial announcement to wind down the programme by 2018 is said to have contributed to the re-emergence of militancy.
NDA rebels are also thought to be sympathetic to the prominent former MEND leader Government "Tompolo" Ekpemupolo, who is wanted on multi-million dollar corruption charges. — AFP