The Niger Delta Agitators, a coalition of militant groups operating in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, has cancelled Operation Zero Oil,
The Niger Delta Agitators, a coalition of militant groups operating in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, has cancelled Operation Zero Oil, which it planned to start today. The operation aimed to disturb the country’s oil production as much as possible in order to bring the government to the negotiating table.
Just last year, the Niger Delta Avengers—another militant group—signed a ceasefire with the government, after which the various groups set up the Pan Niger Delta Forum to facilitate subsequent negotiations.
The ceasefire agreement, along with the government’s pledge to invest some $10 billion in the delta’s oil production infrastructure, has helped the country’s oil production recover from an all-time low of under 1.4 million barrels per day last May.
The underlying causes of the militant protests remain unaddressed. The oil industry accounts for the overwhelming majority of corrupt practices, which, coupled with the country’s high level of inequality, means that little of the delta’s oil wealth reaches the impoverished inhabitants.
With Nigeria remerging from recession and the government negotiating with the rebels, there is hope for change; however, if the situation for Niger Delta inhabitants doesn’t improve tangibly, the return of violence is only a matter of time.
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