Dating as far back as January, militants who have been shown to have affiliation with the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have been routinely attacking oil companies operating in the region. Many of the attacks appear to be occurring in the southwestern portion of Delta State, although attacks have occurred in other areas. These attacks threaten to cause disruption to US petroleum companies as well as US petroleum supplies.
WHY BIG OIL?
One of NDA’s stated plans is to disrupt the economic growth of Nigeria if their demands for a sovereign state of Niger are not met. Nigeria’s primary source of income is oil, and the attacks on oil industry targets such as pipelines and refineries have greatly damaged the Nigerian economy, nearly bankrupting the government and causing Nigeria to fall from the long held position as Africa’s top oil producing nation. Facilities attacked have included multinational corporations such as Chevron and Shell. Oil infrastructure targets such as pipelines have been a major source of attack as well.
DOING BUSINESS IN THE REGION
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WHO ARE THE NIGER DELTA AVENGERS?
The NDA appears to be a relatively new group formed in the region. Former rebels who had been satisfied with previous president Goodluck Jonathan’s policies are angry at Current president Buhari’s policies of refocusing business contracts to the north and slashing ex-fighters pay by 70 percent. Their goal seems to be to force Buhari back to the negotiation table. For the organization’s own description of themselves, they state that their interest is creating a “sovereign state” of Niger, and further claim that their members are well traveled and “well-educated” in “Eastern Europe”. The aim of the NDA appears to be the disruption of the Nigerian economy, and their specific tactics appear to be targeted almost exclusively at oil industry targets.