Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Group Managing Director, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday, revealed how he received threats from a Niger Delta militant.
Kachikwu, who was one of the ministers that attended the Federal Government’s town hall meeting in Kaduna State, lamented the effect of attacks on oil installations.
He described the attacks as a drain on the country’s resources, adding that the government was on top of the situation.
Pipeline surveillance contractors behind renewed bombings —Activist
Meanwhile, there are indications that some pipeline surveillance contractors were behind the recent bombing of oil installations in Delta State, which a militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, had claimed responsibility for.
A Niger Delta activist confided in Vanguard that some leaders of the affected communities know the people carrying out the bombings, but were afraid to speak out because of the repercussion.
Scene of the pipeline bombings
Scene of the pipeline bombings
An ex-militant leader, Paul Eris, alias “General Ogunboss,” from Bayelsa State, who spoke to Vanguard on phone, corroborated the claim that the people behind the bombing are known and urged government to fish them out.
He said that former agitators in Bayelsa State had warned those behind the so-called Niger Delta Avengers in Delta State not to extend their violent activities to Bayelsa or face their wrath.
But, Niger Delta Avengers, which described itself as a group of “young Niger Deltans, who have support from other parts of Nigeria, namely, Northern, Western and Eastern parts of the country,” in a posting on its website, said it “picked up the struggle from where former Niger Delta agitators left off,” adding that “only the actors are new.”
NDA high command, which comprises agitators from all ethnic groups in the Niger Delta, made it clear that they were not part of the Presidential Amnesty Programme because “the programme is not genuine.”
Contractors behind pipeline bombimgs
Our source, however, insisted: “The militants are working together with the contractors; the contractors use them to blow up the pipelines and bid for the repairs. They employ the militants for the period of the repairs and pay them huge money. When the contract is over, they look for another pipeline to blow up.
“You see, this was how their seniors in the militancy business made money and they want to make big money too. That is what is happening,” he added.
Bombing of Chevron facility politically motivated —Ogah
Also, a Gbaramatu political leader, Isaiah Ogah, has said that the bombing of Chevron facility in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State was politically motivated.
He stated this yesterday during a chat with Vanguard in Warri.
According to him, “Those bombing Chevron pipelines in the pretence of representing Niger Delta people do not have the blessings of Niger Deltans. The Avengers should first start with Niger Delta indigenes who were entrusted with the development of the area in the past years, who failed us.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is being hasty to punish his perceived political and long standing enemies. That is the reason for the bombing of oil facilities. The Avengers should separate their inimical acts from Tompolo’s decision. They should know that he has the right to distance himself from their activities. The Avengers should tell the Niger Delta people who are they avenging for,” he added.
Ijaw group condemns military siege on Oparoza
But Concerned Ijaw Transformation Ambassadors, CITA, yesterday, condemned the over eight hours military siege on Oparoza community of Gbaramatu in the wee hours of May 8, 2016.
Arerebo Peters, acting President, CITA, said: “It is highly condemnable. While we would not take sides with the vandalism of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, we are the first target of harassment by troops and security agencies.
“We expressed in clear terms to the Buhari-led Federal Government that sending troops to peace loving Ijaw communities is not the answer to the emerging agitation pioneered by NDA.
“The Federal Government must note that the sad memories of the Gbaramatu genocide are still fresh in the minds of the harmless and law abiding people of Gbaramatu Kingdom. It is also noteworthy that after eight years of a full scale ethnic cleansing launched by the Nigerian Military forces against the peace loving people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, there is still no sign of sustainable rehabilitation of Gbaramatu Kingdom.
“Thus, any further military siege will only evoke the bitter travails of the previous genocide in the minds of the people of the kingdom. We also question the sincerity of the actions of the Buhari administration in sending troops to Gbaramatu Kingdom in a bid to hunt the masterminds of the revived hostility in the Niger Delta, especially as this is coming from a government that has kept silent in the face of serial massacres launched by blood thirsty Fulani herdsmen.
“This goes a long way to prove that the Nigerian government values a drop of crude oil more than a million pints of blood of innocent citizens daily slaughtered at the whims and caprices of Fulani herdsmen.”
Maku-Eyituoyor pleads with militants
Meanwhile, Chairman of Warri North Local Government Area, Delta State, Mr. Francis Maku-Eyituoyor, has appealed to NDA to stop further vandalization of oil facilities in the council.
The appeal came on the heels of the admission by NDA, of responsibility in the recent attack on a major oil installation at Abiteye in the council.
The council boss called on the militants to explore ways of dialoguing with the Federal Government with a view of engaging them to protect the oil pipelines and facilities in the region.
He lamented that sabotaging them was worsening the economic conditions of people in the council. He pleaded with them to reconsider their action of seeking to cripple the nation’s economy and remarked that their action will bring untold hardship on everyone, including the militants themselves.
Govt knows the perpetrators —Ogunboss
Ogunboss, who insisted that there was nothing like Niger Delta Avengers, said: “The government knows who is behind these activities. When these individuals were taking contracts and living freely on the streets, did you hear anything like Niger Delta Avengers?
“There is no Niger Delta Avengers, rather, there is an avenger, who is carrying out the attacks on oil installations in the Niger Delta. When Buhari won the election, there was nothing these guys did not do. Some other individuals in the region and myself were called just to ensure that pipelines are tampered with in Bayelsa State, but I was not part of it. I do not want to be involved and I can tell you that no Bayelsan would be involved in that level of illiteracy.”
Groups exonerate Tompolo
Responding to a recent allegation by an Itsekiri leader that an ex-militant leader in the state was behind the bombing by Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta Security Watch, Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative and Ijaw Human Rights Monitor, in a statement, said the leader in question only exposed himself as a co-conspirator.
Directors of the respective groups, Dickson Bekederemo, Austin Ozobo and Fred Brisibe, said: “The truth about the utterances of the said Itsekiri leader regarding the recent incident of pipeline vandalism in specific areas of the Niger Delta is that he has succeeded in exposing himself to the world as an accomplice.
“From his position on the matter, it is clear that he can tell the identities of the heavily masked members of this new militant group, NDA, who claimed responsibility for the destruction of the Chevron oil facilities. The implication of his assertion is that he was there when the Avengers masked up and he knows them.
“This makes him an accomplice. It is baffling that the Federal Government is still on a voyage in search of the perpetrators when, indeed, a party to the offence has confessed to it. DSS, as a matter of urgency, should have invited him for questioning.
“Tompolo, from all accounts, is a helpless fugitive who is hoping on God to deliver him from the current travails. Linking him with this criminal act shows clear tendencies of phobia towards the Ijaw nation.”