Police, Avengers disagree over bombing of NNPC pipeline in Akwa Ibom

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• Oil production may plummet to zero level
• ’Military’s actions insincere, hurt talks’

The police and Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have made conflicting claims over the alleged blowing up, by the militants, of a pipeline owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at Ikot Osutek, Oruk-Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The NDA had, on its Twitter account on Thursday, said it successfully coordinated the bombing at 4.00 am amid indications that the militant group carried out the attack to warn that some persons allegedly discussing with government on their behalf did not have their endorsement.

But speaking in a telephone interview with newsmen, the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Murtala Mani, said that it was a gas leakage: “It is a technical problem that occurred. Engineers from Port Harcourt there trying to put back the gas pipeline in order. No Avengers in the state talk less of blowing up of pipeline.”

Ikot Osutek community, the location of the gas pipelines, is along Ikot Abasi-Ogoni-Port Harcourt axis of the East-West Road in Akwa Ibom.

The insurgents have threatened to reduce Nigeria’s crude petroleum production to zero level since declaring war on national and international oil companies operating in the region. The group contended that the Federal Government has put revenue interests above the welfare of the Niger Delta people.

Already, The Guardian learnt that Nigeria’s oil production has dropped below one million barrels per day to about 900,000 bpd. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said: “Nigerian output slumped to levels not seen in over a decade on the back of a wave of militant activity.”

It said production for May averaged 1.4 million barrels per day, down by 15 per cent from the previous month. Output averaged 1.8 million bpd during the fourth quarter of last year.

Also, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), said in its latest Short Term Energy Report, disruptions in Nigeria increased to an average of nearly 0.8 million bpd in May, up from an average of 0.5 million bpd it recorded in April and an average of 0.3 million bpd in 2015.

It added: “With the increasing disruptions, Nigeria’s crude oil production fell to 1.4 million b/d in May, its lowest monthly average since the late 1980s. Disruptions in Nigeria increased as militants escalated attacks on oil and natural gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta. EIA expects Nigeria’s disruptions to remain relatively high through 2017 compared with recent years.”

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday expressed concern over the continuous invasion of their communities and arrest of youths despite government’s proposed dialogue with militants.

An IYC statement by its spokesperson, Eric Omare, said: “The continuous invasion of Ijaw communities is a demonstration of lack of sincerity on the part of the federal government to genuinely dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta region to address the renewed militancy and issues affecting the region…The arrested youths should be released.

“While we do not support sabotage of oil facilities considering the negative effects on our environment, the military has no reason to embark on continuous invasion of Ijaw communities and arrest our people in the name of looking for Avengers or pipeline vandals. Our communities and people are peaceful and law-abiding people.”

Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has been urged to be proactive in addressing the Niger Delta militants’ grievances due to its volatile nature and importance to the country’s economy.

A monarch, the Pere of Bilabiri mein Kingdom of Bayelsa State, Dodo 11, Dr. (Capt.) Winston E. Ogoun JP, gave the advice when he paid a courtesy visit to Mr. French Edoreh, the Managing Director, Edoferen Nig. Ltd at Oleh, Isoko South local government area of Delta State.

The king who condemned the recent army shooting at Oporoza community in Warri South – West area of Delta State where residents fled into the forest, noted that there were lapses that should be addressed. He stressed that military action was not the best option in resolving the militants’ activities.

He recalled that the last amnesty programme by the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua’s administration was initiated by him after consulting with governors and the Presidency. He commended Buhari’s anti – corruption crusade.

But the monarch stated that the sledge hammer was yet to affect the “super-rich Northern and Southern billionaires, especially those having huge accounts in dollars, pounds and Euros in foreign bank accounts.”

He further stated that for Buhari to succeed in the present fight against the militants, he must jettison primordial sentiments and embrace facts that he met on ground, noting that he was elected to fix Nigeria’s problem holistically.

Culled from: http://guardian.ng/news/police-avengers-disagree-over-bombing-of-nnpc-pipeline-in-akwa-ibom/

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