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Report: Truce brokered in Nigeria oil fields

A 30-day quiet period is in place while the government mulls its next steps.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Report: Truce brokered in Nigeria oil fields
Nigerian government said to have brokered a 30-day truce with militants targeting oil installations in the Niger Delta. Pavel Shlykov/Shutterstock

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 21 (UPI) -- Nigerian media reported Tuesday the central government has brokered a 30-day truce with militants waging war on oil installations in the Niger Delta.

The Niger Delta Avengers surfaced in late spring to declare war on national and international oil companies working in the Niger Delta region. Complaining the government is putting oil interests over the interests of the people in the region, the group last claimed responsibility for an attack on an oil pipeline in the region June 15.

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Nigerian newspaper This Day reports delegates from the government of Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari agreed last week on "30 days of quiet" with militants. The deal was brokered by a team led by Nigerian Oil Minister Ibe Kachikwu.

Citing a source close to the negotiations, the Nigerian newspaper said the minister brokered through back channels in an effort to address sweeping militant demands. The period of quiet gives the Buhari administration time to come up with a more comprehensive plan.

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"You would have noticed that there have been no bombings of oil assets in recent days," the source said. "This is the fall out of the 30 days of quiet reached with the minister and his team."

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There was no statement from the government or the Niger Delta Avengers on the supposed truce.

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.

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According to the vice president, the Buhari administration is working "to ensure that the man on the street in the Niger Delta receives the benefit from all that is available there."

The campaign in the Niger Delta comes at a time when the nation's economy is struggling under the strains of low crude oil prices. In its latest survey, the International Monetary Fund said the challenges for Nigeria's economy are "substantial," government deficit has doubled and inflation is running close to 10 percent.

Of the 13 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Nigeria ranks seventh in terms of overall production. By OPEC's estimates, militant activity has pushed Nigerian crude oil production to its lowest level in more than a decade.

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By the World Bank's estimates, more than 70 percent of the government revenue comes from oil.

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