Tension In Niger Delta As Militants Attack Oil Installations | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Tension In Niger Delta As Militants Attack Oil Installations

Posted: Jan 17, 2016 at 10:33 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

There was tension in the Niger Delta yesterday as some oil installations in the area came under attack by armed youths said to be loyal to Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, which suspended activities some years ago. ng “from fast gun boats fitted with General Purpose Machine-gun (GPMG) and other weapons,” descended on oil installations in Warri creeks.

A source told our correspondent that “oil and gas pipelines in the creeks of Gbaramatu and Ugborodo areas of Warri South-West and those in Egbema, North local government areas of Delta State were affected in the latest attacks.”

He added: “The gas pipeline which came from Olero creeks to Escravos, were destroyed in the latest attack. Several crude lines were sabotaged while Makaraba, Otunana (Uton-Nana), Abiteye and Dibi flow stations were bombed. “The pipeline, which conveys gas from Saghara to Chevron, was also destroyed and there are several persons trapped in the communities.

The kind of explosives and bombs they used are not like those of before; the effects were felt in several communities as they went off intermittently,” a local source told our correspondent. Destroyed in the latest attacks were facilities of the “Nigerian Gas Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited and Neconde among others,” the source said.

There were indications that the attacks may spread to some parts of Niger Delta like Bayelsa and Rivers states. Some companies operating in the area were allegedly “forced to airlift their workers over the weekend when militants blocked the waterways and restricted movement of transport boats.”

Tompolo , who has been at dagger’s drawn with the Federal Government over the alleged N34 billion theft was arraigned in absential last Friday with the former Director- General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpobolokemi.

But Tompolo, in his reaction to the allegations condemned and wondered why his name was associated with such act. “I am not responsible for the attack and I condemn it as a dastardly act. I am aware that some persons may want to destroy oil installations and link it with me. That was why I said before time that I have nothing to do with it,” Tompolo said through Mr. Paul Bebenimibo, his media aide.

“I could not have gone ahead to carry out such action, knowing that every finger will be pointed at me because of my case with the Federal Government,” he said, and expressed his willingness to assist government to fish out the perpetrators of the attacks. Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), has renewed its vow to deal decisively with all forms of crises that threaten the security of the nation.

Responding to reporter’s enquiry on the capacity of Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, to contain the seeming resurgence of pipeline vandalism, the Acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brigadier-General Rabe Abubakar, said: “The Nigerian military is adequately prepared to quell any crisis not only in Niger Delta but any other part of the country.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no security agencies including military could allow some individuals or group to cause insecurity in this great country of ours.

“Those who may want to do so should have a rethink as crisis never pays as there is no alternative to peace. We should know that this country is more than anybody.” The DDI added: “The military will continue to serve to ensure one nation, one destiny. Citizens should learn from other country where conflicts rendered them stagnant and undeveloped.

“This is our country We have to join hands to develop it and not to destroy; military will never allow any individual or group interest to be above the nation interest,” Abubakar stated.