8 Nigerians & Institutions The Niger Delta Avengers Follow

Niger Delta Militants

Niger delta Avengers are the latest crisis facing the federal government of Nigeria. They strike with deadly accuracy, applying high level technical knowledge of the oil and gas industry. Courtesy of their activities and helped by technical factors, the N D Avengers have drastically reduced Nigeria’s oil output to less than 1.1 million barrels per day.
I did some auditing on their public communication style; they sometimes are not patient to proofread their English, or maybe they just don’t speak the language, but someone among them is Twitter-savvy.
They make impressive use of statistical research results, so it is clear to see that these are educated individuals- a much more complicated situation for the Nigerian army than long-term foes; illiterate and world famous Boko Haram. The Niger Delta militants have become popular not only for their volume of destruction, but for their communications talents as well.
These guys own a website. On twitter, they are followed by a growing numbegossipctive users - over 13,100 of them as at 5:00pm GMT on June 1. But we want to know, who are the ND Avengers following? Who do they prioritize hearing from? Whose tweets do they monitor? And we picked out an interesting combination of 8 Nigerians and institutions out of the 72 users they follow.
1.       President Muhammadu Buhari: He is their arch-enemy, arguably, but the NDA  follow all the accounts linked to him and verified as his’. They are not taking chances; anything the President says on Twitter is so valuable the militants want to read it first.
2.       The VP: The NDA, along with most Niger Delta natives   with their South Eastern counterparts – consider the mostly Muslim northerners to be the worst enemies of the overwhelmingly Christian Niger Delta. Vice President Osinbajo is not a northerner. However, the VP, a Christian himself, happens to find himself in the same boat as the NDA’s enemies.
3.       Bukola Saraki: He’s perceived to be at loggerheads with the President and the ruling party; but he is still a member of the ruling party and also the Senate president. The NDA must have marked him as suspect, as he is one of the earliest they followed on Twitter. Other than Channels TV, they did not follow any media house till they had followed Saraki, the President and the VP.
4.       The forces: The Nigerian army, Navy and the Police do not need to find a way to communicate with the Niger Delta Avengers, as they are already being followed online. The forces are being watched by the militants and monitored for every tweet, every release, every statement, every reweet. It already looks like a game of chess to me.
5.       Ogbahiagbon: One would imagine what Patrick Ogbahiagbon has to offer the ND avengers. Before typing on, let me pause to check his account once more. Well, he hasn’t said a word since he characteristically dropped some grandiose grammar in December 2015. But the Avengers, who began tweeting on January 30, follow the ex-senator.
6.       El-Rufai: The Kaduna state Governor cuts an infamous figure for himself over the course of his ‘accidental public-servanthood’ with daring policies and carelessly blunt speeches made online as well as offline. He was a bitter critic of former President Jonathan – a Niger Deltan – the opposition party, PDP, South Southerners and even took his satire as far as Jesus Christ with a comment which, if made against his religion, could cause a global uprising. And many consider El-Rufai to be Buhari’s unannounced anointed successor.
7.       Hope for Biafra: it is a great fear that if the Niger Delta militants team up with Igbos agitating for the nation of Biafra against the Federal Government. Already, former Niger Delta militant leader, Asari Dokubo has demonstrated support for the Igbos. The NDA too. Following them on Twitter is also a significant show of solidarity. Even worse, the NDA are followed by a good number of Biafran supporters, who also retweet them on countless occasions.
8.       Linda Ikeji: Initially, I thought they followed Linda for gossips. But on analyzing their tweets, we realize what she means to them; they need her for the propaganda. They tag her on most of their tweets, hoping to get their messages out on the country’s most visited gossip website. 

Who they follow on Twitter is a pointer to how they reason, what they know, their level of social media skill, and certainly, how to communicate with them via that channel.  Besides, as a way to increase traffic to their website, the NDA have it linked to their twitter account and then they tag Linda along with popular news websites to get their messages out. Apparently, they do not want only to bomb economic assets in the Niger Delta, they truly want to be heard.

Uduak Umo is a Chartered PR Consultant & Public Interest Researcher. Please follow him on Twitter @umo2013