The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group has denied reports that some one of its logistic suppliers have been arrested by the Nigerian Navy. The group has also suggested that the Nigerian Army refuses to acknowledge when they carry out their attacks on oil pipelines in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
"As it now, any Tom, Dick and Harry is a suspect of the Niger Delta Avengers. [The] Nigeria Navy has lost the sense of professionalism.
"The Nigeria military arrested school students in Oporoza and called them the Niger Delta Avengers, any criminal caught is NDA, ever their Business partners (Illegal Oil bunkers) with which things went south are NDA," said the group in a statement.
The remarks were made shortly after the navy claimed it had arrested a supsected NDA member following a confession made by "an earlier arrested suspect".
"Preliminary investigations also revealed that the suspect recently supplied 10 batteries, five large coils of wire and other materials purportedly used for the attacks,'' the navy said.
The NDA is the latest militant group to wage war against Nigeria due to perceived marginalisation in the Delta. Attacks blamed on the group have forced Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell to close two plants, with the group vowing to bring the country's oil production down "to zero". Attacks occurred since the beginning of the year have brought oil production to a 30-year low.
Militants in Niger Delta
Militant groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta region took hold in the early 2000s following the deterioration of living conditions blamed on the increase of oil-related activities by foreign exploration corporations. Tensions flared up in local communities as some ethnic groups felt they were being exploited and did not benefit from the crude oil on their land.
The oil spills, which have considerably damaged the environment and affected people's health, further deepened the communities' frustrations. After being elected in 2015, Buhari extended a 2009 amnesty granted to 30,000 former militants in the area.
In recent months, the Niger Delta witnesses a resurgence of militancy and the birth of new groups that are calling for more equality, a greater share of oil revenues and condemn the presence of foreign oil corporations in the country.
Earlier in July, reports suggested the federal government had reached a 30-day truce with militants in the Niger Delta, including NDA members. The NDA later denied the claims, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to visit the country's south-east to witness the scale of damage caused by years of oil spills.