The Niger Delta Avengers have blown up trunk lines belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company and Aiteo Oil company in Bayelsa State.
Our correspondent learnt that the Avengers blew up Nembe 1, 2, and 3 Brass to Bonny trunk lines belonging to the two oil majors in Nembe Local Government Area, on Saturday.
When contacted, Shell spokesman, Joseph Obari, told Journalist that its trunk line blown up had been “left” by the company since 2014.
He, however, clarified that the second trunk line belonged to Aiteo Oil Company and not Shell anymore.
“Kindly contact Aiteo, the operator of the reported assets for information on their status,” Obari said in a text message.
It was learnt that the militants and a crack team of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps battled in the creeks of Bayelsa on Saturday following the twin blasts that ruptured pipelines belonging to Agip and Aiteo.
The NDA claimed on its Twitter handle, @DAvengers, that it attacked the facilities at 2:15am, in Nembe and Southern Ijaw Local Government Areas of the state.
Nembe’s attack occurred at a creek opposite Orubiri community.
The creek warlords, who were said to have accessed their targeted pipeline through speedboats, reportedly used dynamites to blow up the oil facilities.
A civil defence operative, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said another blast happened along a pipeline located at Legosgbene in Southern Ijaw area.
He said, “As I am talking to you now, our team has advanced to the Legosgbene. The perpetrators are there laying ambush.”
The Bayelsa State Commandant, NSCDC, Desmond Agu, confirmed the incident and said the militants were engaged in gunfire with his men at Southern Ijaw.
Agu said, “We have deployed two teams in the two different locations where Agip pipelines were attacked in the state. Our team heading for the Southern Ijaw location discovered that the militants laid an ambush in the area. We will soon clear the area and ascertain the extent of damage done to the pipeline”.
Meanwhile, Bayelsa State government has condemned the NDA attacks on the two crude trunk lines operated by Aiteo and Agip.
Aiteo, new owners of one of the lines could not be reached for comments.
Aiteo had in 2014 acquired the 100-kilometre Nembe trunk line from Shell which SPDC relied on to convey crude to Bonny Export Terminal from Bayelsa State.
The State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Jonathan Obuebite, who confirmed the attack in an email on Saturday afternoon, condemned the twin attacks, describing it as one attack too many.
Obuebite, who expressed concerns on the economic impact of destruction of the key oil facilities on the country and Niger Delta region in particular, wondered why the militants would go to that extent.
He noted that despite concerted efforts of the government to move against such atrocities, the militants were still unrepentant in their acts of vandalism.
Obuebite urged the group to embrace dialogue, adding that their activities is adversely affecting people residing in areas where oil facilities were destroyed.
The commissioner also called on security agents to be more alert and to devise new means to protect important oil and gas facilities in order to prevent further attack.
Obuebite equally urged Bayelsa residents, especially those in oil communities to be vigilant and work closely with security agents to apprehend anyone or group attempting to undermine key national assets.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has said the Federal Government would not engage with people destroying oil and gas facilities in the country.
He said the government was already engaging with people nursing genuine grievances, adding that destruction of oil pipelines and export facilities was criminal conduct.
Osinbajo stated this on his official Facebook page on Saturday while highlighting responses to questions during an interactive session he held with select individuals on Friday in Abuja.
A new militant group, named Niger Delta Avengers, have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks on installations in the Niger Delta since the beginning of the year.
Asked about the government’s stance on the Niger Delta Avengers, he said, “When people have genuine grievances, the government has an obligation to engage. We are engaging with those who have genuine grievances. However, the wanton destruction of oil pipelines and export facilities is criminal conduct. We will not create monsters by engaging anyone who participates in destruction.”[Punch]