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The Avengers return – just when things are beginning to look up

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The Avengers return – just when things are beginning to look up

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) released figures this week showing that Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves have grown to $26.094 billion, a modest increase from the $23.957 billion in November.

The increase owes partly to the recent stability in the Niger Delta region which has seen oil production numbers increase as well.

That trend now looks set to be reversed following a threat made by militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers on Friday that it will restart its disruption of Nigeria’s oil and gas production this year because the Muhammadu Buhari government has adopted a deaf approach to the ongoing dialogue with leaders of the region.

“It has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation,” said the Avengers in a statement signed by Mudoch Agbinibo, its spokesman.

“On this note, we are declaring ‘Operations Walls of Jericho and Hurricane Joshua’ simultaneously to reclaim our motherland,” Mr. Agbinibo said. “All fighters and commands are hereby placed on high readiness in your webs of operations to hit and knock the enemy very hard.”

The group said it would ensure that Nigeria’s 2017 national budget is not funded with the “crude oil production output from the Niger Delta” but “on the newly found oil deposits in the North and the new pipelines construction from the Niger Republic,” in reference to Mr. Buhari’s policies of prospecting crude oil in the North East and constructing cross-border pipelines with the Republic of Niger.

The peace talks between the government and the militants launched in November last year has led to minimal attacks by the group but as time elapses without a deal reached, it is feared that the group will resume attacks.

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