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Nigerian militant group says it's not talking

Denial comes after the government in Abuja vows to do more to distribute oil wealth.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Nigerian militant group says it's not talking
The Niger Delta Avengers, a militant group waging war on Niger Delta oil companies, says it's not in negotiations with any government committee. Photo by vanhurck/Shutterstock

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 8 (UPI) -- A group in Nigeria that's declared war on oil companies operating in the Niger Delta denied any outreach with the central government in Abuja.

In a statement on social media, the group early Wednesday took credit for the bombing of a well in the Niger Delta operated by Chevron.

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The Niger Delta Avengers surfaced earlier this year by staking claims to attacks on Niger Delta installations run by companies like Italy's Eni and Royal Dutch Shell. The group said its latest barrage was in line with a "promise" that it would bring crude oil production in the Niger Delta region down to zero.

Data from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries show total production from member state Nigeria declined 3.3 percent from March to 1.63 million barrels per day. The average production rate during the fourth quarter of 2015 was 1.85 million bpd.

The Niger Delta Avengers said the region is largely ignored by the Nigerian government. Oil developments in the region have evolved without advancing the livelihoods for many of those who live in the region and the Niger Delta has been plagued by a long history of spills.

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Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said the government was working to ensure those living in the Niger Delta could benefit from energy operations there. The government, he said, launched an outreach campaign to see what options exist.

A recent report from the World Bank finds a growing divide between wealthy Nigerians and those living in poverty. The report found that only a small portion of the workforce is benefiting from any economic growth in the country.

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