- Nigeria's militant group is threatening to blast oil pipes in Niger delta to disprove claims it had received protection money from government for creeks in the region.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), denied in a statement today claims that country's petroleum company had paid US$12 million to militants to protect pipelines, saying any such claims were an insult to the group's fundamental principles and its on-going campaign to fight for impoverished masses in the region.
Militants have further charged that any such payments would have been paid to criminal gangs in the delta, which were not part of the movement.
To prove "we are not a part of this deal, the Chanomi Creek pipeline and other major pipelines will be destroyed within the next 30 days," MEND threatened in a statement.
Chanomi Creek is located in the western Niger Delta. Bomb attacks on pipelines in the delta, have disrupted supplies from the world's eighth biggest oil exporter and helped push global energy prices to record highs.
Royal Dutch Shell, one of the worst affected by militant attacks, which had recently shut down operations in the region, has a pipeline in Chamoni.
Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. (NNPC), managing director, Abubakar Yar'Adua, is reported to have told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday, that the company had held talks with militants and paid them funds so that it could repair Chanomi.
"The price we pay is very high. It is difficult to get expatriates to work in the Niger Delta," he was quoted as saying by Nigeria's The Guardian newspaper, further disclosing militants were paid US$ 12 million to halt the US$ 81 million loss to the problem of Chamoni.
Successive administrations in Nigeria are reported to have bought off leaders of militant groups in Niger Delta by offering financial rewards for laying down their weapons, a practice known locally as "settling the boys.
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