Nigerian militants blow up Shell oil export pipeline — again
WARRI, Nigeria — Nigerian militants say they have again blown up an oil pipeline carrying crude for export from Shell’s Forcados terminal in the country’s south. It’s the third attack in eight days on the Trans Forcados pipeline network.
The first came just hours after President Muhammadu Buhari held inconclusive talks with stakeholders aimed at halting the sabotage. Militants and community leaders want development and a bigger share of revenues from oil that has massively polluted the southern Niger Delta.
The Niger Delta Avengers said Tuesday night’s bombing is to reinforce warnings for oil companies to desist from repairing attacked installations. Nearby residents confirmed hearing a large explosion. Oil companies don’t comment on the attacks.
In July, militants blew up the pipeline from the 400,000 barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal of Dutch-British multinational Shell.
Nigerian oil export pipeline attacked – crude oil production already near a 30-year low
ABUJA, Nigeria, Sept. 26 (UPI) — A militant group in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria said it was answering statements from Abuja on mediation by bombing a main oil export pipeline.
A group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers said it hit an oil export pipeline carrying Nigeria’s benchmark grade Bonny Light. The group said the action, ending a brief summer truce, is in response to what it said was the “over-dramatization” of the issue by the Nigerian government.
“The world is watching, time is running against the Nigerian state; while we were promised that the concerns of Niger Delta will be addresses once a truce is declared, the activities of the government and her agents are not assuring enough, there has been no progress and no breakthrough,” the group said in a statement.
The group emerged earlier this year and was one of the more active militant groups waging war on energy interests in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The NDA accuses the government of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of favoring oil and gas interests over the interests of the people in the Niger Delta and its campaign has been blamed for pushing total Nigerian crude oil production to a 30-year low this year.
The International Monetary Fund said the downturn in the Nigerian economy was a primary contributor to contraction in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding the situation in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy, was particularly difficult.
One key reason for the Nigerian woes, IMF economists said, was the disruption to oil operations in the Niger Delta.
Slipping into a formal recession in late August, the Nigerian government said the contribution of oil to economic growth slipped slightly more than 2 percent.
The government’s Bureau of Statistics said the economy, measured by gross domestic product, declined 2.06 percent year-on-year, lower by 1.7 percentage points from the previous quarter and 4.4 percent lower from the same time in 2015.
The militant group said it was still in favor of dialogue.
Niger Delta Avengers say ‘hostilities ceased’ against Nigerian government
During a visit to Kenya over the weekend, President Buhari said that the federal government was open to discussions helping resolve the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, which accounts for the majority of Nigeria’s oil production. But Buhari said he was doubtful that the militants had announced a ceasefire, according to his spokesman Garba Shehu, who stated. “We are trying to understand them more, who are their leaders and which areas do they operate [in] and other relevant issues.”
The Nigerian president is also reported to have threatened militant groups in the Delta that they will be dealt with in the same manner as Boko Haram if they refuse a dialogue with the government, according to Nigeria’s Premium Times. Nigeria and neighboring countries in West Africa have conducted an extensive military operation against the Islamist militant group, which has seen Boko Haram lose much of its territory inside Nigeria.
Nigeria’s military said on Saturday that it had launched a fresh operation in the region, killing five militants and arresting 23. The operation was aimed at “getting rid of all forms of criminal activities,” according to Nigerian Army spokesman Sani Usman, Reuters reported. There was no immediate response from the militant groups.
The Niger Delta has seen several uprisings— including in the mid-2000s by a group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND)—by groups demanding a greater share of Nigeria’s oil wealth for the impoverished region. MEND has said previously that it is assisting the government in negotiating an end to the current crisis.
Nigeria: Joint offensive against Niger Delta militants leaves 100 dead
Offensives started months after oil pipeline attacks severely affected country’s oil production.
Nigerian security forces have started a joint offensive against militants from the Niger Delta that resulted in the death of 100 people. Estimates suggest the death toll could be as high as 114.
The army, air force and navy carried out raids in Lagos and Ogun states where the country’s intelligence said the militants were hiding while planning attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta, southern Nigeria.
“The significance of this combined and very vibrant effort of the Nigerian armed forces is to ensure that the militants are flushed out from that general area where they have been causing mayhem and, more significantly, to ensure that their hideouts and camps are completely taken away from that place,” army’s spokesperson, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, said in a statement.
He added the joint offensive is expected to continue in other parts of the country.
The offensive started as attacks blamed on the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) militant group, which emerged at the beginning of the year, have brought oil production to a 30-year low. NDA, the latest group to wage war against Nigeria due to perceived marginalisation in the Delta, vowed to bring the country’s oil production down “to zero”.
Nigeria Finds a National Crisis in Every Direction It Turns
UGBORODO, Nigeria — Militants are roaming oil-soaked creeks in the south, blowing up pipelines and decimating the nation’s oil production. Islamist extremists have killed thousands in the north. Deadly land battles are shaking the nation’s center. And a decades-old separatist movement at the heart of a devastating civil war is brewing again.
On their own, any one of these would be a national emergency. But here in Nigeria, they are all happening at the same time, tearing at the country from almost every angle.
“Nigeria is the only country we have,” President Muhammadu Buhari implored in a recent speech. “We have to stay here and salvage it together.”
Mr. Buhari took office a year ago, promising to stamp out terrorism in the north and to rebuild the nation’s economy. But he has been knocked off course by a series of crises across the country, forcing him to toggle between emergencies.
Beyond low prices for the nation’s oil, the source of more than 70 percent of the government’s revenue, Nigerian officials have been tormented by a new band of militants claiming to be on a quest to free the oil-producing south from oppression. They call themselves the Niger Delta Avengers.
Despite their name, which sounds as if it might be out of a comic book, the militants have roamed the waters of the south for six months, blowing up crude oil and gas pipelines and shattering years of relative peace in the region.
As a result, Nigeria’s oil production in the second quarter this year dropped 25 percent from the same period a year earlier — enough to contribute to a slight increase in global oil prices, according to an analysis by Facts Global Energy, a consulting firm in London.
Partly because of the Avengers and their sabotage, Nigeria has fallen behind Angola as Africa’s top oil producer.
The attacks have been so costly that Mr. Buhari sent troops that had been fighting in the north against Boko Haram — the extremist group that has killed thousands and forced more than two million people to flee their homes — to battle the Avengers in the south instead
Mr. Buhari then reconfigured those efforts after complaints that marauding soldiers had roughed up people and property while looking for militants in the south, creating even more resentment among the impoverished people who live there.
Militants have struck in the south in the past, kidnapping or killing oil workers and police officers to demand a greater share of the nation’s oil wealth. But the Avengers seem bent on crippling Nigeria’s economy while it is particularly fragile, striking at the core of Mr. Buhari’s plans for the nation.
The Avengers have sent oil, power and gas workers fleeing, torturing the multinational companies that burrow for oil underneath the waters. Fuel deliveries around the country have stalled because almost everything that has to do with oil in Nigeria right now has been tangled up by the militants.
On the main highway in the southern port city of Warri recently, a long row of fuel tankers sat on the side of the road, idle. A bent-back windshield wiper served as a makeshift clothesline. A mini tube of toothpaste rested on the dashboard of one truck. The truckers were stranded, waiting to fill up.
They had been there a month.
“We are not asking for much, but to free the people of the Niger Delta from environmental pollution, slavery and oppression,” the Avengers wrote on their website, explaining their attacks. “We want a country that will turn the creeks of the Niger Delta to a tourism heaven, a country that will achieve its full potentials, a country that will make health care system accessible by everyone. With Niger Delta still under the country Nigeria we can’t make it possible.”
Mr. Buhari’s government has said it is open to negotiating with the group. But it is already stretched thin.
On the opposite side of the country, Boko Haram is still raging. Mr. Buhari has started a major offensive against the group that has made progress, but it has yet to stamp out the violence.
Another longtime battle is flaring in the middle of the country, between farmers and nomadic Fulani herdsmen looking for grazing pastures. Hundreds have been killed in battles as herdsmen roam into new territory to look for vegetation for their cattle. Officials have blamed climate change and the nation’s rapidly growing population for the scarcity of pastureland.
And with their demands for economic equality for the south, the Avengers have been trying to stoke the aspirations of separatists elsewhere in the nation.
More than four decades ago, at least one million people were killed during the Nigerian civil war, when separatists led an uprising that created an independent republic of Biafra in the southeast. It lasted three years, until 1970.
Now, a Biafran separatist movement is simmering again, with the police and protesters clashing regularly since October, when a prominent activist was arrested and jailed. Some have accused the Nigerian security forces of seeking out and killing protesters.
The Avengers are fanning the separatist sentiments, invoking the Biafran movement and calling for a “Brexit”-style referendum to split the nation along several fault lines.
The south has long been a reservoir of anger and resistance, a place where countless billions in oil revenue are extracted for the benefit of distant politicians and companies abroad. Yet drinking water and electricity can be scarce, and the swamps people live around are regularly polluted with Exxon Valdez-size spills, casting an oily sheen on the creeks and coating the roots of dense mangroves in black goo.
Many people in the predominantly Christian south say they believe that Mr. Buhari, a Muslim from the north, is neglecting them for political or sectarian reasons, even though conditions were also grim under his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian southerner.
“You always say you fought for the unity of this country during the civil war,” the Avengers taunted Mr. Buhari on their website. “You haven’t been to the Niger Delta, how can you know what the people are facing.”
In his recent speech, Mr. Buhari recalled the horrors of the civil war, when he served in the military fighting Biafrans. “The president has a vision of one united Nigeria and is prepared to do everything to keep it as one,” he said.
This spring, Mr. Buhari announced that he would personally introduce a $1 billion cleanup program of the oil-polluted Niger Delta area. It was to be Mr. Buhari’s first visit to the region since taking office, but with the Avengers’ movement raging, the president abruptly canceled his trip. Residents of Delta State felt slighted.
“Years have passed with neglect, deprivation, environmental deprivation, poverty, no electricity, no roads, no hospital, no schools, but we are living in the country of Nigeria,” said Blessing Gbalibi, a fuel-truck driver raised in the creek communities. “Over there in Abuja,” he added, referring to the capital, “they are taking our resources.”
Yet many Niger Delta residents like Mr. Gbalibi oppose the Avengers because their acts of sabotage have degraded the already-poor quality of life in the region. Spills from explosions have further polluted farmland and fishing holes. Mr. Gbalibi and his fuel truck were among those stuck on the side of the highway for a month because the Avengers had disrupted fuel distribution.
About a decade ago, another band of militants, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, prowled the creeks, blowing up pipelines. The federal government reined it in by setting up an amnesty program that offers cash and job training, some of it overseas, for more than 30,000 militants and residents, according to Paul Boroh, a retired brigadier general and the special adviser to Mr. Buhari for the program.
But oil revenue finances the program, and the fall in oil prices prompted the president to consider ending the amnesty program at the end of last year. Mr. Boroh said he had lobbied to keep the plan for now, but to phase it out over the next two years.
The Avengers movement sprang up around the time the president was considering an end to the program, prompting many Niger Delta residents to wonder if the shadowy group is made of former militants hoping to keep up amnesty payments.
The amnesty program is far from universally loved in the creeks. Many residents say payments are routinely siphoned by corrupt community leaders. Others say the job training they received was virtually useless. Oil companies prefer to hire foreigners, they complain, or they hire locals only on a short-term basis — and then nothing.
The program sent Mike Gomero, a former militant, to learn the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at a two-week session in South Africa. He is no longer blowing up pipelines. But he still does not have a job.
“The amnesty program is not a solution,” said Williams Welemu, a former member of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. “It’s palliative.”
Communities like Ugborodo, so deep in the winding creeks that it is at least two hours from the mainland by speedboat, are dotted with homes that are little more than tiny zinc huts on islands that are sinking into the sea. They are filled with unemployed residents trained as geologists, pipe fitters and marine engineers.
One of them, Collins Bemigho, stood along a dirty swamp, orange flares from a giant Chevron terminal glowing in the distance behind him. He complained about a lack of indoor plumbing, of good health care or a secondary school, and then pointed to a thick pipe jutting from the water.
“If I wanted to bust a pipeline, I could do that right here,” Mr. Bemigho said. “We’re not rewarded for being well behaved.”
Culled from the New York Times
Oil Militants Call for Referendum on Breaking up Nigeria
Oil militants who have slashed Nigeria’s petroleum production with attacks on pipelines called Sunday for a referendum on breaking up the Nigerian federation.
The Niger Delta Avengers group posted a map on social media suggesting that the West African power house could divide into five countries.
Analysts had predicted that the stunning result of the British referendum to leave the EU would encourage separatists in Nigeria. “Separatist groups will feel emboldened,” Nigeria’s SBM Intelligence warned in an analysis of the fallout from the British vote.
“President (Muhammadu) Buhari should call for a referendum to enable every Nigerian to vote if they want to stay as Nigerians or not, just like what David Cameron of Great Britain did,” the Avengers posted on Twitter.
Based in the southern Niger Delta, the Avengers have allied themselves with separatist groups from the southeastern Igbo people, and said they, too, might demand a separate state. Igbo separatist groups have had a resurgence in the past year. Nigeria suffered a civil war from 1965 to 1970 that killed a million people after the Igbo declared an independent state of Biafra. Former colonial power Britain sided with the federal government while France supported the secessionists.
All Nigeria’s oil production is in the Niger Delta and offshore of the southern region. Oil militants and non-violent activists have been demanding a greater share of the wealth from oil, an industry that has massively polluted their lands and destroyed the livelihoods of communities that rely on fishing and agriculture.
Oil provides 70 percent of the federal government’s revenue. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun said the Avenger’s attacks — on facilities of U.S.-based Chevron, Dutch-British Shell and Italian Agip — cost the government nearly $60 million in May. The attacks have stopped production at two of Nigeria’s five oil refineries, disrupted supplies from two export terminals and made buyers cautious of Nigerian oil.
Nigeria also confronts an Islamic extremist uprising in the northeast by a group allied with the Islamic State that has killed more than 20,000 people and an upsurge in deadly confrontations in the Middle Belt between Muslim nomadic cattle herders and Christian farmers.
Nigerian Military Launch Offensive in Oil-Producing South
AP- Nigerian security forces have killed and injured an unknown number of people in an offensive in the oil-producing south where militant attacks have halved petroleum production, residents and the military said Monday.
In a separate attack, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra group said police Monday fatally killed at least 15 people in an attack on a peaceful rally in Onitsha city to commemorate heroes of the 1967-1970 civil war to create a separate state of Biafra in southeast Nigeria.
Police denied that, with Deputy Superintendent Alphonsus Okechukwu saying nobody was killed because security agents never used live ammunition to disperse the crowd.
In the southern Niger Delta, soldiers encountered three speedboats believed to be carrying militants on a mission to attack an oil installation on Sunday and “opened fire on them, killing most of them and injuring others,” said a statement from army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman.
In a separate attack, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra group said police Monday fatally killed at least 15 people in an attack on a peaceful rally in Onitsha city to commemorate heroes of the 1967-1970 civil war to create a separate state of Biafra in southeast Nigeria.
Earlier Sunday, militants in two other speedboats opened fire on soldiers from an artillery regiment who responded with “overwhelming superior firepower” that injured an unknown number, he said.
In another attack, on Saturday night, soldiers fired on a speedboat trying to reach Oporoza to evacuate civilians wounded in the military’s siege of that town, according to the Ijaw Youth Council, a community group.
The military’s offensive comes after the Niger Delta Avengers, a new group, mounted three attacks in three days last week and warned of “something big” to come.
Community chieftain Elekute Macaulay said troops arrived at Oporoza before dawn Saturday and were reinforced early Monday to widen a siege of the area reachable only by water or air. He said half the 40,000 inhabitants have fled to the bush and creeks, and the others are afraid to come out of their homes.
The Ijaw council said it “strongly condemns this … brutalization of innocent residents.”
Soldiers are demanding that villagers hand over fighters of the Avengers, and its alleged leader Government “Tompolo” Ekpemupolo, said Chief Macaulay. Tompolo has denied involvement with the Avengers but the attacks began shortly after an arrest warrant was issued for his alleged theft and subversion of money from government contracts to guard oil installations.
Oil militants are angry that the government is winding down a 2009 amnesty program that paid 30,000 militants to guard the installations they once attacked. They are demanding a bigger share of Nigeria’s oil wealth for residents of the Niger Delta, where hundreds of thousands of livelihoods have been destroyed by decades of oil pollution.
Nigeria’s Buhari says government to talk to Niger Delta leaders
ABUJA (Reuters) – The Nigerian government will talk to leaders in the Delta region to address their grievances while cracking down on militants who have staged a wave of attacks oil pipelines there, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Sunday.
Local officials and Western allies such as Britain had told Buhari that moving in troops to the Delta was not enough to stop attacks, which have cut Nigeria’s oil output to a 20-year low.
“The recent spate of attacks by militants disrupting oil and power installations will not distract us from engaging leaders in the region in addressing Niger Delta problems,” Buhari said in a speech marking his first year in office.
The former military ruler also said the government was committed to a clean up of polluted areas, a major source of dissent in the Delta along with widespread poverty.
“I believe the way forward is to take a sustainable approach to address the issues that affect the Delta communities,” he said without elaborating.
But security operations would still go on, he said.
The army has moved reinforcements to the swamps, with soldiers on Saturday raiding for the second time a community that is home to a former militant leader linked to attacks.
“We shall apprehend the perpetrators and their sponsors and bring them to justice,” Buhari said.
On Thursday, Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said an amnesty program for former militants, signed in 2009 to end a previous insurgency, needed to improve.
The scheme had funded cash benefits and job training to militants who have laid down their arms but has been cut by the government by two-thirds. Buhari has also upset former militants by ending contracts to protect pipelines, part of a drive to tackle corruption.
Moving in the same direction, a committee set up by Delta state leaders said on Thursday that the federal government and oil firms have neglected the grievances of local communities.
On Saturday, Bayelsa state government in the Delta said militants attacked a crude oil pipeline operated by Italy’s ENI, hours after a group called Niger Delta Avengers militants claimed another strike.
The Avengers have claimed a string on attacks on oil and gas facilities in the last three months as part of what they frame a battle for independence. They have given oil firms until the end of this month to leave the region.
Nigeria’s Buhari orders heightened military presence in restive Niger Delta
ABUJA/ONITSHA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said he ordered a heightened military presence in the restive Niger Delta region to deal with a resurgence of attacks on oil and gas facilities, a day after yet another pipeline explosion.
British Foreign Minster Philip Hammond warned on Saturday military action would not end a wave of attacks in the southern swamps because it did not address rising anger among residents over poverty despite sitting on much of Nigeria’s oil wealth.
The rise in attacks in the Delta in the last few weeks has driven Nigerian oil output to a more than 20-year low, worsening a drain on public finances.
A group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for several sophisticated attacks.
Speaking at a meeting with Shell’s upstream head, Andrew Brown, Buhari said he had instructed the chief of naval staff to reorganise and strengthen the military Joint Task Force to deal with the militancy.
“We have to be very serious with the situation in the Niger Delta because it threatens the national economy,” Buhari said in a statement.
“I assure you that everything possible will be done to protect personnel and oil assets in the region,” he added.
Nigeria had several times announced army reinforcements to the Delta but diplomats said the military has achieved little as militants were operating in small groups and hiding in the hard-to-access swamps.
“Mr. Brown had appealed for an urgent solution to rising crime and militancy in the Niger Delta,” the presidency said.
An industry source told Reuters that major oil firms warned Vice President Yemi Osinbajo this month that a military crackdown was actually fuelling dissent in the Delta.
The presidency statement also quoted Brown as saying Shell would not pull out of Nigeria despite the violence and that it was in talks with state energy firm NNPC for new oil and gas projects.
Their was no immediate comment from Shell, but its country chair said in an interview published on Sunday the firm was committed to long-term investment in the West African nation.
Buhari’s comments came after locals said a gas pipeline operated by NNPC was attacked late on Thursday.
The pipeline, which connects the Escravos oil terminal to Warri, supplies gas to different parts of the country.
Eric Omare, a spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council, a youth umbrella, said the attack occurred near the village of Ogbe Ijoh, near Warri, “on the pipeline belonging to NNPC.
Resident James Dadiowei said he heard a “loud bang” at the pipeline, but an NNPC spokesman was unable to confirm the attack.
On Thursday, intruders blocked access to Exxon Mobil’s terminal exporting Qua Iboe, Nigeria’s largest crude stream. And, earlier this month, Shell workers at Nigeria’s Bonga facilities were evacuated.
In February, the Avengers claimed an attack on an undersea pipeline, forcing Shell to shut a 250,000 barrel-a-day Forcados terminal.
The group also claimed responsibility for blasting a Chevron platform in early May, shutting the Warri and Kaduna refineries. Power outages across Nigeria worsened as gas supplies were also affected.
The army said on Sunday it had arrested several suspected members of the Avengers, but locals said they had been freed.
“They were released on Wednesday evening,” Omare said.
Residents said the military had described them as Avengers but locals had protested they were Chevron pipeline inspectors who had shown the soldiers arresting them their identity cards.
Militant attacks have spiked since authorities issued in January an arrest warrant for a prominent former militant leader who with other rebels in 2009 agreed to stop blowing up pipelines in exchange for cash, a plan Buhari has trimmed as part of an anti-graft drive.
Boko Haram was first on the list of priorities at an international security summit held in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Saturday. The Second Regional Security Summit, attended by French President François Hollande and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, among others, came two years after the first conference was convened in Paris.
Since then, Nigeria and its neighbors have made progress in tackling the threat posed by Boko Haram. A Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF)—consisting of troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin—has been battling the group for more than a year and has reduced the territory it controls, despite the fact that Boko Haram continues to carry out suicide bombings on a sporadic basis.
Here are four key takeaways from the conference:
1. Libya Is the Key to Severing the Boko Haram-ISIS Connection
Since March 2015, Boko Haram has rebranded itself as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) following a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). But despite this aesthetic change, it is difficult to gauge how much of an impact this affiliation has had on Boko Haram’s modus operandi, particularly with ISIS’s main hub being thousands of miles away in Syria and Iraq.
This could change if ISIS is able to increase its influence and reach in Libya. ISIS is believed to havethousands of fighters in the lawless North African state and controls the coastal city of Sirte. “If we see Daesh establish a stronger presence in Libya, that feels much more to people here [in Nigeria] like a direct communications route, that is likely to step up the practical collaboration between the two groups,” Hammond said at the conference.
2. Europe Still Sees Boko Haram as a Threat
Since its inceptions, Boko Haram’s key objective—the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria—has been largely domestic. In 2015, the group extended its attacks to other countries in the region, particularly those participating in the MNJTF. The fallout from the security summit makes clear, however, that European leaders remain worried about the group.
Hollande stated that, despite the “impressive” gains made against Boko Haram under the administration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, the group “remains a threat.” European Union High Representative Federica Mogherini also confirmed that 50 million euros ($56.6 million) had been set aside to assist the MNJTF in its mission.
3. Boko Haram Is Not Nigeria’s Only Problem
The Buhari administration’s success at tackling Boko Haram—the group has now been confined to the remote Sambisa Forest in the northeast Borno state after its territorial gains were rolled back—means that some of the other security threats it faces have come into sharper focus.
One particular issue rearing its head at present is the revival in militancy among groups in the Niger Delta. Nigeria’s oil output has been severely hit by attacks on pipelines, and a newly-formed group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers recently shut down a facility run by U.S. company Chevron after an attack, cutting off 35,000 barrels per day. Shell has also evacuated staff from the Bonga oil field in the region as the threat of attack grows.
Hammond described the events in the Niger Delta as “a major concern” and said that simply relocating Nigerian military forces to the region wouldn’t deal with the root problems. “Buhari has got to show as a president from the north that he is not ignoring the Delta, that he is engaging with the challenges in the Delta,” said the British foreign secretary.
4. The Chibok Girls Continue to Haunt Nigeria
Upon his presidential inauguration in May 2015, Buhari said that Nigeria would not have defeated Boko Haram until all abductees—including the Chibok girls—were rescued from the group. It has been more than two years since Boko Haram militants abducted 276 girls from their school in Chibok, Borno state, and 219 remain missing. Despite recent glimmers of hope—such as a proof-of-life video released in April in which several of the girls were identified—it is not clear that Nigeria is any closer to rescuing the girls.
Buhari stressed in his speech to the summit that Nigeria has a “firm commitment to safely rescue and reunite the abducted Chibok girls, and indeed all other abductees with their families.” But in December 2015, the Nigerian president admitted that he had “no firm intelligence” on their whereabouts.