Ex-Nigeria President Confident Talks Can Curb Oil Region Attacks

  • Militant attacks cut oil production to almost 30-year low
  • Dialogue best route to end conflict in Niger delta: Jonathan

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan expressed confidence that the authorities can reach an agreement with militants in the Niger River delta to stop their attacks that have slashed production of Africa’s biggest oil producer.

“Definitely, it will be resolved,” Jonathan, 58, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in London on Monday. “Yes, government can always overrun restive movements and so on, but the Niger delta is too delicate. The level of damage will be too much for the government to bear. We used dialogue.”

Jonathan was vice-president when Nigeria’s government offered an amnesty and monthly stipends to militants to end years of instability, which had cut oil output. In February, Jonathan’s successor Muhammadu Buhari reduced the stipends and canceled security contracts with former military leaders.

A militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers has claimed attacks on facilities belonging to companies including Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Agip Oil Co., causing Nigeria’s output to drop to an almost 30-year low of about 1.4 million barrels per day.

The violence has deepened the crisis facing Africa’s largest economy, which is already reeling from a slump in crude prices. Nigeria gets as much as two-thirds of its revenue and more than 90 percent of foreign income from oil.

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