Posts Tagged ‘Niger Delta’

Boko Haram in Nigeria: “They are achieving the mission they have set out to do.” — “We must unite against them.”

March 17, 2018


The leader of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Professor Ango Abdullahi has voiced his concern about the lingering killings in some parts of Nigeria.

Abdullahi in a statement on Friday said blaming Fulani herdsmen for the killings was political.

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He noted that killings can only be stopped when there was a right communication.

The statement read: “Killings are activities that the government did not envisage but the killings are a challenge to everybody. So, everybody should be blamed for the killings. Communication resolves everything. How much communication is there? And if there are no instruments of communicating, we must establish them rather than buying the weapons of war.

“But let me tell you and I am saying it with all sense of responsibility. Many people are playing politics with the killings. They are initiating a particular pattern of belief, which would undermine the credibility of their group in future. We had the Biafran war in 1967 -1970 and the South East held Nigeria to a standstill before it ended. So, nobody could undermine the Nigerian/Biafran war.

“Now, the issue of militancy confronted this country and reduced our oil production to less than one million barrels per day. Nobody can undermine the works the militants did in the Niger Delta. The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) confronted Nigeria peacefully after the annulment of the 1993 election and in spite of what you may think, there was no coup in Nigeria that was resisted that ever succeeded. The 1993 annulment of the election of MKO Abiola was resisted through the activities of NADECO and so on and so forth, and that was how the compromises of 1999 brought in former President Olusegun Obasanjo from the South West zone of the country.

“From what I said now, you cannot undermine the Niger Delta, you cannot undermine the Igbo and you cannot undermine the Yoruba. And when the problem of the Fulani caliphate was there, they discovered that they could not undermine the Kanuri and the Tivs.

“But do you know what we are doing now because of politics? Anything that happens now, we say it is the Fulani herdsmen whereas it is since the collapse of the Libyan army and the problem in Mali that caused the free flow of weapons into Nigeria especially the activities of Boko Haram. And instead of looking at the challenges confronting Nigeria, we are saying that it is the herdsmen that are doing it. Cattle rustlers also seize the cattle and kill the herdsmen which is another issue confronting Nigeria but we in Nigeria because of politics always say killings are by the Fulani herdsmen.

“Do you know that what Othman Dan Fodio could not achieve when he was quoted as having said that he would dip the Quoran in the sea is being achieved through stupid politicking by saying that everything that happens in Nigeria is by the Fulani herdsmen? Anywhere you go to, people would say we cannot go to farm because of the Fulani herdsmen. This is when as a matter of fact, the Fulani herdsmen are in more danger than any other Nigerian. Do we talk of Igbo armed robbers? Do we talk of Yoruba 419ers and so on? We talk of all these as crimes and we should be talking of the killings as also a crime. But because of politics, we are going into areas to make our children believe that the fear of Fulani herdsmen is the beginning of wisdom. So, what Othman Dan Fodio could not achieve when he was alive in Nigeria, we are achieving it through communication and making our own children afraid of the Fulani.

“Remember that the Fulani are in the minority in this country. Can you see the way we are moving in the way of deforestation and who would pay for it; our children. We must have the right communication. So, I want to say that criminals do the killings and we must all come together to fight it.

“I am worried over the situation but do not think that it is because the election is coming next year. The Boko Haram sect is fighting a war and they are not fighting a war because there is an election. They are fighting the war because they believe in what they are doing. They are ‘haram’. In other words, they are discouraging people from going to school. So, if Boko Haram abducts people like they did recently in Dapchi, they could not go to school. It is an area that people do not want to go to school and with what happened, you further discourage them from going to school.

“They are achieving the mission they have set out to do. So, they are not looking for election but do not forget that since they have been degraded, they would look for soft targets and where the military is weak to carry out their activities. If they go to the market, they are not there to kidnap anybody but to kill people. They have their members who are suicide bombers. The perception they have is what no Igbo man or Yoruba man would have. They say if you kill yourself, you are going to paradise. Tell me any Southerner whether Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Urhobo and so on that would kill himself in order to go to paradise. Nobody would do that. But over there, you are told that if you kill someone for a good cause, you are going to paradise. And that is not even in the Quoran. When I was in a Quoranic school in Auchi, I was told that if you kill a Christian, you have not committed an offence. I grew up to discover that it was a lie. It is not there anywhere in the Quoran.

“But then, the Prophet Muhammed said that there would be 73 sects in Islam and only one would be correct. Only one that abides by the provision of the Quoran is correct. The Quoran has dos and donts which says that you do this, you go to paradise and you do that, you go to hell. I am not aware of any book that says it so clearly where you go to when you sin. So people now take the road they want to take and when a scholar moves in the direction of using religion as a weapon, then you get what we have in Nigeria today.

“So, we have to really communicate in the direction of peace and not war. Someone wins an election, takes over and governs and someone loses election and gets prepared to contest again. That is what happens in Britain, America and others. Election should not be a do-or-die thing.

“Do you know that the whole of Nigeria is porous? How many areas do we have? The borders are thousands of kilometers porous. Do you know that around 1980 or so, people of Chad came and invaded Maiduguri and I think that President Muhammadu Buhari was the GOC that time.

“So, these people have been coming but do not forget that Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram. Therefore the whole world of insurgents –ISIS, Tuaregs, al-Qaeda and so on are there fighting. Perhaps, if we look deep enough, we may discover that all these people we call Fulani herdsmen are insurgents who have infiltrated Nigeria. So, the nation is fighting more than the Boko Haram sect. We are currently fighting the whole world of insurgents and that is what Nigerians should be thinking about.

“It is a war that Nigeria must fight and whatever government that we have, the insurgents are there to undermine security. Nigeria is 60 per cent rural and in the rural areas, how many security officials do we have there? So, we have a lot of problems on our hands and we must unite to address these problems.”




Protestors occupy Shell plant in Nigeria

August 12, 2017


© AFP/File | Although Shell was forced to quit oil production in the area in 1993, the company still runs a network of pipelines criss-crossing the area

WARRI (NIGERIA) (AFP) – Hundreds of protesters have occupied a Nigerian oil facility owned by Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell, demanding that a local company take over its operations, a community leader said Saturday.

“We want Shell to hand over the operations of the flow station to Belema Oil Company because it appreciates our challenges and needs,” community leader Godson Egbelekro told AFP.

Protesters from the Kula and Belema community in Nigeria’s restive southern Rivers state said the community has suffered through decades of poverty and neglect.

At the same time they say the owners and workers of multinational oil firms operating in the area are living a life of affluence thanks to abundant oil and gas resources.

“We will be here for as long as it takes until Shell meets our demands,” youth leader Alfred Epedi said, adding that “over 800 protesters” were occupying the flow station.

Security guards at the facility did not try to disperse the crowd as it entered the flow station on Friday.

The station, operated by Shell subsidiary the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC), feeds crude oil into its Bonny Light export terminal, which has a production capacity of 225,000 barrels per day of oil.

The flow station’s output remained slow on Saturday.

Company officials “have been engaging representatives of the community (in) talks but nothing tangible has come out from the said talks,” Epedi said.

In a statement, SPDC spokesman Joseph Obari denied the protesters’ allegations of neglect and said the company was working to resolve the situation.

The company “has spent several millions of naira on social investment projects and university scholarship programmes for students of the area,” Obari said.

“SPDC has informed the authorities of the illegal occupation and is working towards resuming safe operations,” he added.

Community unrest in Ogoniland, in Nigeria’s oil rich south, is not uncommon.

Although Shell was forced to quit oil production in the area in 1993, the company still runs a network of pipelines criss-crossing the area.

In July, SPDC had to shut down its Trans Niger pipeline because of a “leak” — the preferred euphemism in Nigeria for crude oil theft.

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer and exporter, accounting for some two million barrels per day. It relies on the sector for 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 70 percent of government revenue.

Nigeria: Hundreds of protesters storm crude oil flow station owned by Shell

August 11, 2017

AKUKU-TORU, Nigeria — Hundreds of Nigerian protesters stormed a crude oil flow station owned by Shell in the restive Niger Delta on Friday, demanding jobs and infrastructure development, a Reuters witness said.

The protesters complained they did not benefit from oil production in their area, a common refrain in the impoverished swampland that produces most of Nigeria’s oil. They also demanded an end to oil pollution in the area.

Soldiers and security guards did not disperse the crowd as they entered the Belema Flow Station in Rivers State, which feeds oil into Shell’s Bonny export terminal.

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The Agbada oil flow station, operated by Shell in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Photographer George Osodi for Bloomberg

Shell had no immediate comment, and it was not immediately clear whether there was an impact on oil production.

While Bonny Light crude oil is currently under force majeure due to the closure of the Trans Niger Pipeline, exports continue via another export line.

(Reporting by Tife Owolabi; additional reporting by Libby George; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Image result for Shell's Bonny export terminal, Nigeria, photos

Shell operated Bonny oil terminal

Image result for Shell's Bonny export terminal, Nigeria, photos

Nigeria Wants Shell to Open Major Pipeline but Attack Feared — Shell Nigeria lost $3 billion in seven months

March 4, 2017

JOHANNESBURG — Nigeria wants Royal Dutch Shell to reopen one of its main pipelines but the oil multinational is resisting, analysts say, for fear it could once again be bombed by militants.

The Trans Forcados Pipeline, the main feed to the 400,000-barrel-a-day Forcados export terminal, has been shut for all but three weeks of the past year, Lagos-based SBM Intelligence said in its weekly risk analysis published Friday.

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In their most sophisticated attack, militants used divers to blow up an underwater section of the pipeline in the Atlantic a year ago. Defying militant death threats, Shell flew in underwater engineers who took seven months to get the pipeline operational.

Two days later, the militants bombed it again.

Shell Nigeria lost $3 billion during the seven months of repairs, Africa Confidential newsletter estimated at the time.

“Nigeria wants Royal Dutch Shell to reopen a major export pipeline in the Niger Delta but the oil major wants better protection first, to avoid having it blown up yet again,” SBM Intelligence said, quoting unidentified officials and industry sources.

Shell Nigeria said only that one of its priorities is to secure the pipeline, while indicating it is still working to contain leaks. “Our focus on the Forcados leaks is on containment, spill recovery and securing the line,” spokesman Precious Okolobo told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Petroleum Minister Ibe Kachikwu announced last month that Nigeria, one of Africa’s top oil producers, lost between $50 billion and $100 billion in oil revenues because of militant attacks last year. At the worst point, he said, production was cut to 1.2 million barrels a day — a loss of 1 million barrels a day and the lowest rate of production in 30 years.

The Forcados terminal handles nearly one-quarter of Nigeria’s exports. So experts are puzzled by the state oil company’s declaration this week that production has risen to 2.1 million barrels a day — near optimal production of 2.2 million.

“Nigeria has given differing figures for its oil output in recent weeks … without giving an explanation,” said SBM Intelligence, quoting figures between 1.7 million to 2.2 million barrels a day.

With Nigeria confronting its worst recession in 25 years, “We certainly hope the figures are true,” the analysts said.

Oil militants say careless production in the southern Niger Delta has brought nothing but misery, with pollution from oil spills destroying farmlands, fishing grounds and millions of livelihoods.

At one point, all three of Nigeria’s biggest export terminals were closed for repairs from militant attacks: Forcados, ExxonMobil’s Qua Iboe and Eni’s Brass River. Qua Iboe, the biggest terminal, was shut for more than three months before quietly resuming exports in October. It is not clear if Brass River is operating. Oil companies are reluctant to divulge information for fear of more attacks.

There has been no major attack since an August cease-fire to allow negotiations between the government, representatives of militants, community leaders and oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. Community leaders have expressed confidence in Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s visits and promises of a comprehensive plan to help residents benefit from oil production.

Low oil production and international prices for the petroleum that provides 80 percent of government revenue have brought on a recession in Nigeria compounded by a massive foreign currency shortage.

Nigeria lost its place as Africa’s biggest oil producer last year, to Angola.


Overfishing driving dozens of species into extinction threatening African food crisis, warn experts

February 11, 2017

‘The growing extinction threat to fish off the central and western coast of Africa could seriously undermine food security across the region,’ IUCN says

By Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent
Thursday 19 January 2017

The Independent Online

Overfishing off the west coast of Africa threatens to drive many species to extinction, which could cause food shortages for local people, conservationists have warned.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the Madeiran sardine and other important sources of food could be wiped out.

Some 37 species were classed as threatened with extinction and 14 more were said to be “near threatened” from Angola in the south to Mauritania in the north.

Illegal fishing in these waters is a significant problem with complaints that European fishing fleets are taking too many fish.

Pollution, degradation of habitats, the spread of invasive species and the warming of the waters caused by human-induced climate change are also all putting pressure on fish populations.

The IUCN’s director-general, Inger Andersen, said: “The growing extinction threat to fish off the central and western coast of Africa could seriously undermine food security across the region.

“Fish provide a major source of animal protein for coastal communities, which account for around 40 per cent of this region’s population.

“In a part of the world where poverty reduction remains a challenge, preserving the rich diversity of marine fish species will help safeguard the livelihoods of local communities.”

Experts studied the populations of some 1,288 bony fish species, the vast majority of those found off Africa’s west coast.

Of those classed as threatened or near threatened, 39 were targeted by fishing fleets and many were food staples.

In a statement about the study, the IUCN said: “The Madeiran sardine, now listed as vulnerable, is one of three sardine species which are all considered overfished within the region.

“The endangered Cassava croaker is estimated to have declined by 30 to 60 per cent over the past 10 years, primarily due to overfishing.

“Croakers are particularly important to local subsistence fishers, who will be most affected by stock declines.”

The area is famed for its fishing grounds with places like the Niger delta providing rich breeding grounds for fish.

But this has been affected by serious oil pollution, development, and the conversion of mangrove swamps for human uses.

Piracy has been a problem in this area, with some fishermen turning to crime after struggling to make a living. Some have blamed European fleets for stripping the seas of fish.

“The study highlights the severely limited capacity for fisheries surveillance and enforcement in the region, leading to illegal fishing and overfishing that imperils national and regional management efforts,” the IUCN said.

“In many countries illegal catches represent over 40 per cent of the reported legal catch.”

The IUCN said marine resources provided food and livelihoods for nearly 400 million people living in western and central African countries with a marine coastline.

Idriss Deffry, marine and coastal coordinator for the IUCN programme for western and central Africa, said: “For the first time, we have comprehensive knowledge of the presence and population status of all marine fishes in the region.

“This will provide critical information for improved fisheries and marine protected area management, and identify further research and conservation efforts needed.”



China has the most fishing boats in the world

 (Links to several related articles)

African Nations Agree to Landmark Deal on Maritime Security and Environment

October 16, 2016


© AFP archive | A French EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) boat on an anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast in Febraury 2004.


Latest update : 2016-10-16

African leaders on Saturday signed a deal to boost security off the continent’s economically crucial coasts, hoping to shore up development by tackling maritime crimes like piracy and smuggling.

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso hailed the African Union agreement as “historic”, while Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta said it showed Africa’s ability to put together a continent-wide strategy.

Sassou Nguesso said 43 nations had adopted the binding agreement — which will see countries pay into a special fund for maritime security — at a summit in Togo’s capital Lome.

The deal is designed to improve information-sharing between African nations, a weakness that pirates and smugglers have benefited from in the past, slipping between territorial waters with little trouble.

The talks drew 18 heads of state — an unusually high figure for an AU meeting of this kind, signalling the importance that governments have placed on the need to cut piracy and other crime in Africa’s waters.

As he opened the summit, Chad’s President Idriss Deby, the current AU chief, noted that some 90 percent of Africa’s imports and exports are transported by sea, making maritime security key to the continent’s economic future.

Of the AU’s 54 member states, 38 have coastlines.

Deby said the charter would “allow the promotion of commerce and the exploitation of the huge potential of the maritime sector, as well as the creation of wealth and jobs in several industries”.

It would also “mark a decisive new step in the push to preserve the maritime environment”, he added.

The deal will create new national and regional institutions to improve security in African waters, while the signatories pledged a string of measures to protect the maritime environment and fight trafficking in drugs, arms and people.

But Timothy Walker, a maritime security researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said the deal would allow countries to withhold information from each other if they judge this to be in the interests of national security.

“It’s a big step but it can not be the final step. There is still a lot of work to do,” Walker told AFP.

Piracy in focus

“African leaders have started to realise that the maritime domain is a source of economic opportunity for the future,” Walker added.

Togo’s Foreign Minister Robert Dussey told AFP ahead of the summit that there was a clear need for African countries to work together to combat an upsurge in piracy in order to make full use of the continent’s maritime resources.

Piracy, smuggling and other crimes at sea have cost the African maritime sector hundreds of billions of dollars in recent decades, according to the AU.

Large-scale illegal fishing also helps drive piracy as it depletes stocks, reducing the legitimate economic activities of coastal communities.

In West Africa alone, the AU estimates that illicit fishing causes losses of 170 billion CFA francs ($285 million, 260 million euros) every year.

World piracy has been on the decline since 2012 after international naval patrols were launched off East Africa in response to violent attacks by mostly Somali-based pirates.

But the focus of concern has shifted to the Gulf of Guinea, where a new class of pirates — mostly offshoots of militant groups from the Niger Delta — have become active.

At least 27 attempted or successful hijackings and kidnappings at sea have been recorded off west Africa since April, according to the International Maritime Organization, compared to just two off east Africa.

The 17 countries lining the Gulf of Guinea have poor maritime surveillance capacities and have been trying for several years to boost cooperation to clamp down on piracy.

The deal will need to be ratified by at least 15 countries before it comes into force, and Barthelemy Blede, an ISS maritime researcher in Ivory Coast, said it remained to be seen whether there was “real will” to make the deal a reality.

“It’s a historic act, but it’s one thing to adopt a text and sign it, and another thing to ratify it,” he told AFP.