Dickson: Nigeria should act with caution in oil-producing Delta – Reuters

By Tife Owolabi

YENAGOA, Nigeria May 25 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s federal government should act with caution in the Niger Delta, where militants have been blowing up oil and gas pipelines, as a military approach will not calm the situation, the governor of a state in the region said.

President Muhammadu Buhari has heightened the military presence in the oil-rich southern region where attacks in the last few weeks – mostly claimed by a group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers – have driven the country’s oil output to a more than 20-year low.

“The way forward is for all stakeholders to discuss the issues and the need for the federal government to tread with caution and not adopt a military approach as a means to solve the problem,” Bayelsa state governor Henry Dickson said in a statement on Wednesday, a day after meeting executives from oil majors. The meeting was also attended by security agencies.

“No one person can protect the assets in the remote areas of the region. I, therefore, call on those involved in this act of criminality and brigandage to stop forthwith,” he said.

The impact of the insurgency on crude production could push Africa’s biggest economy, which contracted in the first quarter of the year, into recession since oil sales make up 70 percent of national income.