Performance rating of Nigeria’s President plunges to 83% disapproval
■ Mid July 2016, a similar poll by a survey agency, NOIPolls, indicated that Buhari’s job approval rating for the month of June 2016 plummeted to 39 percent as against a very high rating of 80 per cent in October 2015.
Unlike in his initial period in office, 2015, when most Nigerians paid attention to a transformation message he professed, performance rating of Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buharu has plunged to some pathetic figures. In a latest International Guardian online public poll activated June 28 through August 8, 2016, only 5% believe he was doing an excellent job. A whopping 83% handed him a poor performance rating; 5% felt his stewardship was fair, whereas 4% and 3% rated him very good and good respectively.
Mid July 2016, a similar poll by a survey agency, NOIPolls, indicated that Buhari’s job approval rating for the month of June 2016 plummeted to 39 percent as against a very high rating of 80 per cent in October 2015. This score, according to NOIPOlls, represented a nine-point decline when compared to the rating in May 2016, which stood at 48 percent. In a conclusion, the survey revealed that practically four in 10 Nigerians (39 percent) approved the president’s job performance in June 2016 – the lowest approval rating since his inauguration in May 2015
International Guardian poll neither explored nor compared categories of concerns with individual opinions, but left an open ended question on how respondents would rate the President Buhari’s regime thus far. The results were much anticipated and were consistent with economic hardship the country faces at the moment. A slump in the country’s fiscal system has adversely affected the cost and standard of living for the common man. Furthermore, the regimes has been reluctant in addressing core sociopolitical issues facing the country – from security, heath, education to affordability of consumer goods.
Poll Scope and Validity
The poll accessed Nigerian online users worldwide and was powered by a special application automated to randomly select 350 votes from thousands of respondents through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Each IP address was allowed one vote with an option to revote throughout the study period.
Although this study invoked strong design, technology precision, and excellent statistics, result might have been impacted from factors such as zones and regional tracking of respondents. There are six geopolitical zones in Nigeria; thus a process that categorizes respondents from each zone might have revealed a different outcome.
Nigeria to resume payments to oil militants in Niger Delta
Nigeria’s government is to resume cash payments to militants in the oil-rich Niger Delta, officials have said.
The move is seen as an attempt to curb new attacks which have severely affected oil production in Nigeria.
The government stopped the payments in February, resulting in militants accusing it of breaching an amnesty deal negotiated in 2009.
The military has carried out several air strikes in the region in an attempt to destroy militant bases.
The amnesty programme’s spokesman Piriye Kiyaramo initially said the payments, which include tuition for those studying abroad, had been made on Monday, but militants contacted by the BBC said they had yet to receive the money.
Mr Kiyaramo later told the BBC that a “hiccup” meant to money would be paid by Tuesday night.
“We expect the amnesty to be paid tonight to 30,000 youths involved in the amnesty programme. The Central Bank has released the money,” he said.
Under the amnesty deal, each militant is entitled to 65,000 naira ($203; £153) a month and job training.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power last year, announced plans in this year’s budget to reduce funding for the programme by 70% amid allegations of widespread corruption.
At the same time, a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), stepped up attacks on oil plants and pipelines, causing a sharp fall in oil production and worsening the financial crisis in Africa’s most populous state.
Oil is the Nigerian government’s main source of income.
Critics accuse Mr Buhari, a Muslim northerner, of unfairly targeting communities in the southern, mainly Christian oil-producing regions, as part of his anti-corruption drive. He denies the allegation.
Mr Buhari’s predecessor Goodluck Jonathan comes from the Niger Delta region.
Militants say they are fighting so local people can benefit more from their region’s natural resources.
Oil spills have also resulted in environmental devastation over the years.
♦ Culled from the BBC
Ailing Nigerian President survives the emergency room swaggering
Out of action Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returned to Abuja on Sunday from a 14-day emergency trip to London over his deteriorating health condition, bragging about his fitness. Teasingly but in a more defensive tone, the 73-year-old neatly dressed chap looking pale and washed-out told reporters, “I’m ok. You can see me inspecting the guard of honor,” and further in the local Hausa language, added: “I’m strong, if you want to wrestle with me, let’s wrestle.” So what is funny?
Severe health issues had grounded President Buhari for about two weeks before he was rushed out to London for an emergency treatment. He was perceived to be suffering a hearing loss with possibly a ruptured ear drum. The presidency said Buhari went to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist in the British capital as a precautionary measure, but critics countered that such conditions should not have required an oversea treatment. Buhari was initially expected back in Nigeria on Thursday, but fresh concern about his health woes prompted a delayed return.
The puzzle surrounding Bihari’s has remained unresolved, with speculations swirling for months about severity of the diagnosis. In the past month or so, Nigerians have been vocal expressing concerns about President Buhari’s appearances. As he inspected his so called guard of honor yesterday, he struggled with his steps and composure to fake an impeccable fitness; his weakening vigor exposed a gangling body frame enclosed in an oversized traditional outfit to possibly cover up revealing skeletal contours. Yet President Buhari in total disregard of his constituents, did not address his 14-day emergency exit. He snubbed discussions on why he was specifically rushed out, where he was rushed to and more significantly, his medical diagnosis, and the health facility he dwelled.
Prior to President Buhari’s unexpected departure, the media adviser, Femi Adesina had fabricated lies to the nation just to suppress his deteriorating health. When hours later, the news of Buhari’s worsening health broke out, Adesina quickly issued a release admitting that the President was indeed sick and would be flown out for medical treatment.
President Buhari and his aides in Aso Rock must not feel bad about his poor health condition. Being sick or falling sick in office is not a violation of the law, but an unfortunate condition allowed in the labor system. However, as the president, his constituents have the right to know exactly what is wrong with his health; where he was admitted, and the progress of his ailment. But here we are, stuck with an arrogant leader who makes multiple trips abroad over unexplained health matters, and blaming his constituents for asking questions.
For clarity, people who survive sickbeds do not swagger toughness, they thank Allah for survival. And also, this claim that some Nigerians want their President dead because they simply questioned his physical and mental capacity to lead is ridiculous. I must tell you that Nigerians, despite their poor social, political, and economic conditions, are prayerful people who at all times pray for their dear country and some incompatibly, irresponsible leaders. They do not want President Buhari dead; they are only invoking a divine intervention of a leadership suit occupied by clueless individuals unable to move their country forward. They are lamenting an ineffectual but sick president occupying an executive office beyond his physical and knowledge capacity. In the past, more than once, poor Nigerian masses have equally made such requests, and God responded. This time around, only time will tell.
Nigerian President Buhari Threatened With Death Warrant Ahead Of Visit To Oil Region
A rebel group has threatened to kill Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari if he follows through on a planned trip to the oil-rich Niger Delta region. The Niger Delta Avengers warned in a statement Wednesday that they would kill Buhari or any of his representatives if the trip goes as scheduled after the Nigerian military reportedly killed some of their members.
The revolt in southern Nigeria has gained ground as the military has been busy fighting the Islamic extremist insurgency by Boko Haram in the northeast. Buhari is expected to visit the Delta Thursday, weeks after the Avengers blew up a major Chevron-operated offshore oil platform in the region. The attack partially halted oil production, forcing Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell to shut down at least two plants that produce more than 35,000 barrels per day.
“This is Niger Delta Avengers. … The army will hear from us, you are all monsters but you must pay,” said a statement the group released Wednesday. “Buhari do not step your foot in our land because we heard you want to visit Ogoni land. Before coming, you should sign your death warrant because we will kill you. If you don’t come and decide to send representatives, you should also sign their death warrant. Any Niger Delta elder working against our people should also sign their death warrant.”
The Niger Delta Avengers are supporters and former rebels of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which was known for attacking pipelines and facilities in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern swampland until a peace deal in 2009. Buhari reportedly upset the rebels after taking office a year ago by ending generous pipeline protection contracts.
“The Avengers may not be a defined group of people, except for a core of maybe 100-150 people or so,” Dirk Steffen, from the Denmark-based Risk Intelligence firm, told Agence France-Presse.
The rebels have demanded a sovereign nation for the Niger Delta people and have claimed other attacks in the region. Nigeria budgeted for 2.2 million oil barrels per day this year, but dropped its projections to 1.4 million bpd because of the recent attacks, according to the country’s junior oil minister, Emmanuel Kachikwu.
“With the heavy presence of 100 gunboats, 4 warships and jet bombers, NDA blew up Chevron oil wells RMP 23 and RMP 24 3:44 a.m. this morning,” the group tweeted May 25.
Buhari is expected to visit Ogoniland in the Niger Delta, his first trip there since taking office a year ago, as part of an effort to clean up areas heavily polluted by oil spills. He has said the recent attacks will not deter his government and that security forces would “apprehend the perpetrators and their sponsors and bring them to justice.”
Buhari’s government had sought a meeting with the rebel leaders, who refused to discuss their demands.
“The Niger Delta stakeholders meeting is an insult to the people of Niger Delta. What we need is a Sovereign State not pipeline Contracts… Watch out something big is about to happen and it will shock the whole world,” the group tweeted Friday.
Buhari, from Nigeria’s majority Muslim north, is somewhat unpopular in the south, where Christian politicians have long ruled and were ousted from the federal government by Buhari’s All Progressives Congress during the 2015 elections. Leaders of the former ruling party, People’s Democratic Party, have been investigated by Buhari’s administration for alleged graft, angering some in the south.
“The Avengers and other groups that have popped up in recent months are likely getting some support from former and current PDP members,” Philippe de Pontet, sub-Saharan Africa analyst at risk consultancy firm Eurasia Group, said in a recent report. “It was always expected that there would be backlash to the Buhari administration in the region. If anything, the surprise is that the first 10 months of Buhari’s term were as quiet as they were.”
Nigeria: Millions to commemorate Biafran war anniversary
International Business Times – Millions of people in southerastern Nigeria and abroad are set to pay homage to those who perished during the 1967-1970 Biafran war, also known as the Nigerian civil war. The commemoration, which takes place on 30 May, aims to remember what many people refer to as the “genocide” or “holocaust of the Biafran people”.
The Biafran territories were forcibly annexed to modern-day Nigeria during British colonisation, which ended in 1960. Following two coup d’etats and the 1966 massacres of Igbo people in northern Nigeria, the contested Biafran territories, under the leadership of military officer and politician Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, seceded from Nigeria and declared independence on 30 May 1967.
The extent of starvation in the Biafran territories during the war sparked international condemnation and drew strong criticism against the Nigerian government.
During the war, a group of volunteers led by French doctor Bernard Kouchner entered the Biafran territories to assist people living there. When he returned to France, Kouchner openly criticised the Nigerian government and the humanitarian organisation Red Cross for what was perceived as a complicit behaviour that led to the starvation of many.
Moved by the extent of suffering witnessed in Biafra, Kouchner and other doctors created the Comité de Lutte contre le Génocide au Biafra, which became Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in 1971. The Biafran Republic was re-annexed to Nigeria in 1970, but breakaway calls have continued since.
Pro-Biafran movement today
The pro-Biafran movement has gained renewed momentum following the arrest of Nnamdi Kanu, one of the leaders of the movement, in October 2015. Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (ipob) and director of Uk-based Radio Biafra, is standing trial on six counts of treasonable felony charges.
During a December 2015 presidential media interview, President Muhammadu Buhari said Kanu would not be released amid fears he could jump bail and flee to the UK, as he holds both British and Nigerian passports.
The Nigerian government has always maintained that Nigeria’s unity was a priority for the country and that although peaceful pro-Biafran protests were welcome, demanding the breakaway of the Biafran territories went against the constitution.
Nigeria’s security forces have also been accused of violent acts against “unarmed” and “peaceful” pro-Biafran protesters, claims authorities strongly deny. In an exclusive report by IBTimes UK, Amnesty International confirmed that Nigerian security forces had used excessive force against pro-Biafran protesters on some occasions.
After the end of the British rule in 1960, Nigeria consisted of territories that were not part of the nation before the colonisation, resulting in escalating tensions among the communities.
People in the Eastern Region – a former federal division of Nigeria with capital Enugu – mainly from the Igbo community, wanted to secede due to ethnic, religious and economic differences with other communities in Nigeria.
The Eastern Region gained independence following two coup d’etats in 1966 and 1967. The fact that Nigeria’s oil was located in the south of the country played a major role in the eruption of the war, during which medicine and food shortages in Biafra led to the death of millions.
Biafra has been commonly divided into four main “tribes”: the Igbos, the Ibibio-Efiks, the Ijaws and the Ogojas. The modern-day states that make up Biafra from the eastern region and midwest are: Anambra, Enugu, Imo, Delta, Bayelsa, Abia, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Ebonyi, southern part of Ondo State, Igbanke in Edo State, southern part of Benue State.
Amalgamation contract and birth of Nigeria
Pro-Biafrans cite the expiration of a so-called “amalgamation contract” as one of the reasons to justify their will to separate from the rest of Nigeria.
The contract was issued by Britain during the colonisation era and aimed at integrating people from the north and the south within 100 years since it was issued despite cultural, religious and economic differences among the various ethnic groups.
The contract, now at the National Archive of London, was created in 1914 by Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, the governor general of modern-day Nigeria. The document, opposed by the political class and the media in Lagos, expired in 2014.
The term “Nigeria” was created by Lugard’s wife, British journalist Flora Shaw, in 1897 when she suggested to replace the “British protectorate of the Niger River” with a shorter term.
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 currency crisis explained: What we know and don’t know
This article was written by Paul Wallace. It appeared first on the Bloomberg Terminal.
Nigeria’s central bank may soon give bond and stock investors what they have been pleading for: a weaker naira.
Governor Godwin Emefiele announced after a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee in Abuja, the capital, on Tuesday that a more flexible foreign-exchange system would be unveiled “in the coming days.” But his statement was short on details and left plenty of questions. Here are some answers:
What’s the problem?
Nigeria has held the naira at 197-199 per dollar since March 2015, even as other oil exporters from Russia to Colombia and Malaysia let their currencies drop amid the slump in crude prices since mid-2014. Foreign reserves dwindled as the central bank defended the peg, while foreign investors, fearing a devaluation, sold Nigerian stocks and bonds.
While President Muhammadu Buhari and Emefiele argued a devaluation would fuel inflation, that happened anyway. Consumer prices accelerated at the fastest pace in six years in April as the black-market naira rate plummeted to about 350 against the dollar. To make matters worse, data released four days before the MPC meeting showed the economy contracted in the first quarter for the first time since 2004 as the dollar shortage curtailed manufacturing. That probably surprised policy makers, prompting the change of heart, according to Mathias Althoff, a fund manager in Stockholm at Tundra Fonder AB, which has about $200 million invested in frontier market stocks, including Nigerian banks.
What happens next?
While Emefiele didn’t specify what he meant by “greater flexibility,” analysts at Renaissance Capital Ltd. predict the central bank will allocate dollars at a fixed rate to strategic industries, such as energy and agriculture, while letting the naira weaken in the interbank market, where everyone else would buy their foreign currency. The central bank may also try try to control the new interbank rate by imposing a trading band of about 5 or 10 percent around it, according to Althoff.
Will that satisfy investors and save the economy?
If the central bank doesn’t allow the naira to drop enough, foreign investors will continue to shun Nigerian assets, according to Althoff. The currency should trade at around 285-290 per dollar, according to Alan Cameron, an economist at Exotix Partners LLP in London. A devaluation won’t solve Nigeria’s structural economic problems, which include an over-reliance on oil exports, and may fuel inflation in the short term. But it would make Nigerian exports more competitive, curb imports and encourage foreign investment.
What are the pitfalls?
Most investors would prefer a fully-floating naira, yet doubt that Nigeria, which has always had currency controls of some sort, will choose that option. And there are concerns it will be impossible for the central bank to ensure that only importers meeting its criteria are able to buy foreign currency at the discounted official rate. Many analysts fear that in a nation U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron described as “fantastically corrupt,” access to the official rate will come down to political connections.
“The suggestion of a dual exchange rate, with the maintenance of the official window, is a concern,” said Razia Khan, head of African research at Standard Chartered Plc in London. “This might lead to continued distortions in the market, ultimately with pressure on foreign-exchange reserves.”
What else should investors watch out for?
Buhari. He has made it clear that he, not Emefiele, is the person in charge of exchange-rate policy. The president is loath to allow the currency to drop unless he’s forced to and in February likened such a move to “murder.” He has yet to make any response to the MPC’s announcement. And while he is due to make a speech on May 29, the first anniversary of his coming to power, local press reports suggest he will focus on the government’s fight against corruption and Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency.
The central bank has hinted at change before, only to do nothing. “The MPC has dangled the carrot of exchange-rate reform, but without giving any details of what a reformed market would look like,” said Cameron at Exotix. “To the skeptics among us, this will simply sound like a re-hash of the same old material we’ve been hearing about since December 2015.”
One freed Chibok girl still cause for shame, not celebration
The fact that one Chibok girl basically rescued herself last week shouldn’t make any of us feel better.
The family of Amina Ali Nkeki has a reason to celebrate. The rest of the world does not.
The response from the Nigerian government and the Obama administration to one abducted Chibok girl’s escape last week is symptomatic of a larger issue. Real action – not just posturing and attention seeking – is needed to rescue these girls, now missing for more than two years.
I was hardly surprised to see the Nigerian government immediately attempting to celebrate (and take credit for) the purported rescue of a second Chibok girl just days after Amina’s escape – the second girl, it turned out, was not actually among those taken in the mass kidnapping in 2014. After all, the Nigerian government has been more preoccupied with securing positive international impressions than they have been about securing freedom for the Chibok girls.
Now more than ever, we need to refocus attention on Amina’s escape, as she is currently the only Chibok girl from the mass kidnapping to emerge after two years of captivity. Her self-rescue should fill leaders in the free world with shame on behalf of her classmates’ continued imprisonment.
This is not the time for the world to celebrate. This is the time to confront our shame.
How have we allowed more than 200 girls to remain trapped in captivity for over two years, held by one of the world’s most brutal terrorist groups?
Amina was found last Tuesday by local witnesses with her baby, wandering out of the Sambisa Forest in northern Nigeria. This location is known to be a Boko Haram stronghold and has been thought to be a possible location where the Chibok girls have been held.
Within hours of Amina’s sighting, the Nigerian government was—unsurprisingly—eagerly attempting to take credit for her release. Their attempts to capitalize are disgraceful; they also make me realize why the search for remaining Chibok girls has been so unfruitful. It appears that the Nigerian government has been much more concerned about good press than actual results on behalf of the captured schoolgirls. While the girls wait, cowardice and corruption continue to be the prevailing reality.
Within the Obama administration, we’re seeing hopeful words and hashtag advocacy on the ongoing captivity of the Chibok girls (with First Lady Michele Obama raising the issue by tweeting a photo of herself joining #BringBackOurGirls). But the one action from the administration that holds the most promise has yet to be accomplished. President Obama still hasn’t visited Nigeria during his nearly two full terms in office. Not once. (Obama is reported to currently be tinkering with the possibility of a trip to Nigeria in July. To that I say, better late than never.)
In an advocacy campaign launched earlier this year, Open Doors USA has been urging President Obama to prioritize a trip to Nigeria.
We’re also asking him to issue a statement on the desperate situation of persecuted Christians in Northern Nigeria, including the Chibok girls, as a result of Boko Haram and other groups.
We’re also encouraging him to put pressure on Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to support investigations into allegations that prominent Nigerian politicians have been funneling financial support to Boko Haram. It isn’t too late for more Americans to add their voices to our call for action.
Last week’s news of one girl’s freedom can and should be an opportunity to advocate for those still held captive. For Amina, much care will be needed to help her begin to heal the physical and emotional scars of her ordeal. But I cannot help but rejoice for her family as their personal nightmare comes to an end.
I visited with several of the fathers of the kidnapped Chibok girls while in Jos, Nigeria, several months ago. As director of advocacy at Open Doors USA, I wanted to hear firsthand about the challenges facing the families in the wake of their daughters’ disappearance.
What I witnessed broke my heart.
Open Doors is on the ground in Nigeria, providing trauma counseling and practical support for the families of the kidnapped girls. But the needs are very deep, and the heartache these families endure on a daily basis is gut wrenching.
I’m incredibly grateful that the pain of not knowing what happened to their daughter is over for one family. But the voices of the other fathers still ring in my ear.
After describing his daughter to me, one father put his head in his hands and wept, softly crying over and over, “I miss her, I miss her, I miss her,” as tears ran down his face.
As I discovered while I was in Jos, at least 18 of the parents of the missing Chibok girls have died in the wake of their daughters’ kidnapping.
Tragically, even as Amina, the newly recovered Chibok girl, is reunited with her mother, she will also be learning of the death of her father.
“They didn’t die of old age,” one Chibok father was quick to tell me of the parents who have died. “They died of heartache.”
This is not the time for the world to celebrate. This is the time to confront our shame.
The world’s silence—and the inexcusable inaction of our leaders—have allowed over 200 innocent girls to remain captives for two years. It is time to demand action and insist that we do whatever is in our power to rescue the Chibok girls and reunite them with their families.
Kristin Wright is the advocacy director at Open Doors USA. She works with government officials to address issues of religious persecution throughout the world, and take action for those who are suffering.
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.
Nigeria: 2nd Chibok girl rescued was not taken from school
LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — A second “Chibok girl” rescued by Nigeria’s military in a forest battle with Islamic extremists was kidnapped from her home village and is not among 218 students missing from the 2014 mass abduction by Boko Haram that sparked worldwide outrage.
The girl is one of three daughters of a pastor of the Nigerian branch of the U.S.-based Church of the Brethren, kidnapped by Boko Haram in two separate attacks, community leader Pogu Bitrus told The Associated Press. It’s an indication of how widespread and ubiquitous are the Islamic extremists’ tactic of kidnapping girls and young women used as sex slaves and boys and young men forced to join their fight to create an Islamic caliphate.
Army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman said soldiers freed the girl after a Thursday night battle in the northeastern Sambisa Forest in which it liberated 97 women and children and killed 35 extremists. He claimed she was among missing girls abducted more than two years ago from a boarding school in Chibok.
Bitrus said the girl, believed to be about 15 when she was seized, was a student at the same school but was home on vacation at the time of the mass kidnapping. She was later snatched from her village of Madagali, near the town of Chibok, he said, but did not know when exactly.
The first Chibok teenager to escape, along with her 4-month-old baby, was discovered by hunters wandering on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest on Tuesday. On Thursday, Amina Ali Nkeki, 19, was flown to Abuja to meet with Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
Parents of the kidnapped girls, the Bring Back Our Girls movement and aid workers all have criticized the Nigerian government and military for their handling of the development, with Refugees International charging her escape is being politicized and that she should not be paraded in public but getting urgent medical care for sexual abuse and psychosocial counseling.
Ali has revealed that a few of the girls died in captivity but most remain under heavy guard in the forest, according to family doctor Idriss Danladi. The AP does not identify suspected victims of sexual assault but named Ali after she appeared on TV alongside the president.
Ali’s escape has renewed hopes of saving the other girls and strengthened demands of the Bring Back Our Girls movement that the government act in concert with the international community to swiftly free them. Friday is their 767th day in captivity.