More oil cash needed in Nigeria’s Delta to avert new conflict, says Kachikwu

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Nigeria’s oil minister will visit the Niger Delta this week in a bid to stave off a threat of more insurgent attacks in the area,

and said that without more
investment it would be a struggle to ease tensions and develop its main crude producing region.

The Niger Delta Avengers, whose
attacks on energy facilities in the
region last year helped push Africa’s biggest economy into recession, said on Friday it had ended its ceasefire in its campaign for more of Nigeria’s
oil earnings.

“We’re constrained by cash,”
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, the
minister of state for petroleum, told Reuters in an interview on Monday when discussing efforts to develop the Delta. “We’ve scurried around for some money just to begin the process.”

He said he would meet
representatives of the militants and other stakeholders during a visit to the region on Nov. 9.

The minister said the government needed to develop its oil and economy to deliver on promises of more cash for the Delta, which rights groups say has long suffered from pollution and poor investment despite being the source for much of
Nigeria’s oil output of around 2
million barrels per day (bpd).

Kachikwu said a return to violence by the militants would be “mutually destructive”, adding: “I am sure that like they did the last time, when they see a concrete action plan they would
listen.”

Attacks in the oil producing region drove Nigeria’s oil output down to close to 1 million bpd.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting granted Nigeria an exemption from a global deal to curb output to help it recover.

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