Niger Delta Avengers want to sell oil directly to countries, bomb Bayelsa pipeline


The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) yesterday said it wants to sell crude oil directly to countries and urged such countries not to buy crude oil again from Nigeria, saying the region producing the oil was being neglected.

The militant group, which rejected overtures from the federal government for dialogue, with a view to ending the destruction of pipelines, blamed government for the attack through its Twitter handle.

Less than 24 hours after it blew up two major oil wells in Dibi, Warri, Delta State, the group yesterday morning bombed yet another crude oil pipeline in Obi Obi Brass Trunkline belonging to Agip/ENI in Bayelsa State around 3:00am, which sparked fire and sent thick smoke into the atmosphere.

The Avengers had previously warned Agip not to repair a pipeline in Bayelsa State, which it had earlier bombed.

The latest attack, which was described as massive, was said to have been carried out in spite of the heavy presence of the military and their gunboats in Brass Council, which also hosts the multi-million-naira Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) project.

The attack also came despite measures put up by security outfits in charge of safeguarding oil facilities in the region, following intelligence report that the state would be the group’s next port of call.

It was gathered on Thursday that armed patrols were mounted across major waterways in the state with Naval and Army gunboats to forestall the activities of the group.

In Brass, where Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has the bulk of its operations and the LNG project is located, security was said to have been beefed up, with soldiers deployed to protect the facilities.

But despite these measures, the militants, who had earlier vowed to reduce the country’s oil production to zero, were said to have attacked the trunkline with dynamites.

Avengers, in a Twitter post, commended the international community for allegedly halting crude oil business transactions with Nigeria.

It said: “At 3: 00am of Friday (yesterday) NDAvengers blew up the Obi Obi Brass Trunk Line belonging to Agip ENI. It is Agip’s major crude oil line in Bayelsa State.

“It is good as foreign refineries stopped buying Nigerian oil, because the Nigerian State has been robbing the Niger Delta of her oil and gas.

“We will inform the international community when we are open for business.”

While the military components of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield, remained silent on the incessant attacks on oil facilities, the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Desmond Agu, confirmed the latest attack.

He said the corps had started meeting with traditional rulers in various coastal communities as part of efforts to resolve the crisis in the state.

On the Avengers’ frequent bombing and refusal to dialogue with government, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the umbrella body of Ijaw youths worldwide, called on government to engage credible leaders from the region for the proposed dialogue to achieve the desired result.

IYC spokesman, Eric Omare, while reacting to a breach of ceasefire by the militants, said the continued sabotage, while talks was being proposed ,was an indication of lack of confidence in the representatives of the region by the militants.

Omare noted that politicisation of the process was partly responsible for the non-compliance to the ceasefire by the militants.

He explained that government’s ceasefire offer was part of the confidence-building measures, but advised government to take further steps by consulting with credible leaders from the region.

He said: “The problem with the dialogue process is lack of proper confidence building and politicisation of the process. Government seems to be engaging the wrong people.

“We strongly advise the government to set politics aside and engage the real people, especially those that can reach the leadership of the NDA.”

Meanwhile, a new militant group, which brands itself the Ultimate Warriors of Niger Delta (UWND), has threatened to continue vandalism of pipelines in the region if their demands of restructuring the oil bloc allocations are not met. UWND has asked the government
to give 60 per cent oil blocs to people from the region.

The group also demanded that academic activities at the Federal Maritime University resume immediately.

It also wants the federal government to allow the $16 billion export processing zone, otherwise called Delta Gas City project, to begin operations in earnest.

It spokesperson, Sibiri Taiowoh, in a statement said if the government truly wants peace in the region, it should award 60 per cent oil bloc to indigenous people from the region as its primary demand for a ceasefire.

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