It appears that the love between Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the Niger Delta militants has gone sour.

This may soon become a threat to the nation’s economy that has numerically shifted away from recession.

The Niger Delta militants are threatening to drag the nation’s economy back into recession it exited barely one week ago.

“It is too early for Nigerians to celebrate the Federal Government’s claim that the nation has come out of recession,” they said, threatening to resume attacks on oil facilities in the south-south region.

Such attacks in 2015 and 2016 resulted in a shortfall of crude oil production which in turn led to months of recession the economy suffered.

On Sunday, the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) in coalition with 9 other militant groups, said it would resume attacks that would further deepen the nation’s woes.

They had earlier issued a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to open talks with the Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress, PNDPC, led by the former National Chairman of the Traditional Rulers of Oil, Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON) His Majesty Charles Ayemi-Botu.

In a statement, the leader of RNDA and Convener of the coalition of militants, self-styled “Major General” John Mark Ezonbi, said the planned attacks on oil facilities in the region would be well-coordinated.

“It will further deepen the nation’s economic woes, judging from the fact that one of the indices used in measuring Nigeria’s outage from recession was crude oil”.

The Niger Delta militants listed 8 issues they want the Federal Government to address before the end of the ultimatum.

1.         They want academic activities to begin at the Maritime University, Okerenkoko this year.

2.         The militants demand that the Federal Government should issue the 10 licenses for the take-off of the Modular Refineries to HOSTCOM without further delay.

3.         The Federal Government should immediately mobilise the contractor handling the East-West Road, which links the entire south-south region to other parts of Nigeria which is presently in a very deplorable condition.

4.         The Federal Government should immediately award the pipeline surveillance contract directly to HOSTCOM as it would provide employment for the teeming youths of the region.

5.         They want immediate release of the gas flaring penalty funds to oil producing communities in the region through HOSTCOM.

6.         The Federal Government should urgently address the recent appointment of senior management staff of NNPC as clearly outlined in the Federal Character Commission.

7.         The Niger Delta militants want urgent upgrade of the Sea Ports in Burutu, Calaba Koko and Look, as they have been abandoned for many years to frustrate the economic growth of the region.

8.         The Federal Government should commence work on the EPZ project in Ogidigben and the Gbatamantu Deep Sea Port and immediately carry out repair works on the very bad Ekpoma Auchi Lokoja Express Road, the condition of the road has made the movement of goods and services very difficult for the people.

Also Read: Niger Delta Militants Give Date For Resumption Of Attacks On Oil Pipelines

The Niger Delta militants had ceased attacks on oil pipelines after the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, had talks with leaders in the region and the launch of the clean-up of Ogoni Land.

While attacks were on, Nigeria was losing 60% of its daily revenue to the militants’ activities, with close to 1 million barrels of crude oil lost per day, Professor Osinbajo told the Platform in May, while discussing the economic recovery.

But that recovery brought by relative calm in the Niger Delta is being threatened, as the nation still largely depends on crude oil sales for revenue. 

The growth recorded in the agriculture sector in the last report of the National Bureau of Statistics was marginal and not enough to sustain Nigeria's import dependent economy.

Letting the situation degenerate to attacks on oil facilities will mean a slide back to recession.