With five warships, 100 gunboats, and a number of fighter jets besieging the Southern Ijaw communities of Delta Monday, President Muhammadu Buhari appears set to hammer the Niger Delta Avengers who, he said, are daring his government by sabotaging oil production in the region.
Nigeria has been losing over 800000 barrels of oil daily as the new vandals on the block keep blowing oil installation belonging to Shell and Chevron over the weeks.
They also plan to bomb oil blocs belonging to the northerners who are said to have been allocated about 90 percent of the oil blocks in the region.
Buhari, in his May 29 broadcast, said the government had reached a conclusion with militants to cease fire, thereby calling for peace. But his gunboat diplomacy has heightened fear among the locals who claim they don’t know whom the vandals are.
While the Air Force fighter birds fly about at low altitude in the area, the Army, according to reports, have fanned out into the villages in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area,
For now, the federal troops have occupied Oporoza, Kuruties—where the fugitive Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) comes from—Okerenkoko, Kokodigbane, and Benikruku.
While the Avengers have become heroes of sorts, many believe their actions are counterproductive—and world away from genuine the Niger Deltan agitation.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta recently denounced the Avengers, describing them as tools in the hand of some mischief-makers.
Among other things, the Avengers want self-government for the Niger Delta and Biafra, thereby supporting the violent agitations rocking eastern Nigeria now.