ABUJA, Nigeria, A militant group targeting oil companies in the Niger Delta said its social media account was suspended and observers should be on the lookout for imposters.
The Niger Delta Avengers surfaced early this year, declaring war on national and international oil companies working in the Niger Delta. The militant group accused the administration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari of favoring oil interests over those of the people living in the Niger Delta, often using the social media site Twitter to issue statements and claims of responsibility for attacks in the region.
The handle @NDAvengers no longer appears on Twitter and the group said in a statement on its official website the account was suspended. Spokesman Brig. Gen Mudoch Agbinibo said the account was suspended because of a breach of policy. The accounts @Real_Ndavengers and @NDAvengers1 are “enemies of the region” and should be ignored because they are “against our struggle,” he said.
The group in a statement on Twitter published in June disavowed a truce allegedly brokered with the Buhari administration. In an undated statement posted after July 2, the group’s spokesman said operatives blew up a well operated by Chevron as well as nearby infrastructure associated with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
In early June, Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the government was “talking” in an effort to minimize the losses incurred during attacks on oil installations.
Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and pumped about 1.4 million barrels of oil per day in May, compared to almost 2 million bpd a year ago. By OPEC’s estimates, militant activity has pushed Nigerian crude oil production to its lowest level in more than a decade.
Lower crude oil prices are already eating away at Nigeria’s revenue stream, with the International Monetary Fund warning of major challenges ahead.