Prominent community leaders in Nigeria’s restive Niger Delta oil hub threatened on Monday to pull out of peace talks with the government unless their demands were met by Nov. 1.
They told a news conference in Abuja the federal government had failed to implement promises to drag the region out of poverty, a key demand by militants who had stopped attacks on oil pipelines to give peace talks a chance.
The Niger Delta region – located in Nigeria’s south – was the scene of consistent militant attacks of oil installations throughout the better part of last year. The activities of the Niger Delta Avengers and other groups nearly crippled the country’s oil production.
They repeatedly attacked state and private pipelines till government managed to reach an agreement with leaders in the region.
Even though it has lots of oil, there is rampant poverty in the area, a key cause of the militancy according to security experts. Pollution by oil companies is another area that indigenes have complained about.
The government sometime last year flagged off the Ogoniland cleanup which was meant to reclaim the polluted lands and water bodies in the area. A year on, local media reports that there is little to show after the ceremony.