Agip ’ s facility bombed
How US intelligence aborted Buhari ’ s Ogoni trip
Strong indications emerged last night that the embattled former commander of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND ), Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), “ is still hiding ” in Oporoza community in Warri South – West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Saturday Telegraph checks revealed that Tompolo, who was alleged to have fled Oporoza , which is the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, to Libya by the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF ), contrary to reports, is believed to be within the Niger Delta creeks.
The latest development came on a day it emerged that President Muhammadu Buhari ’s aborted trip to Ogoniland , Rivers State was allegedly aborted by the United States owing to security concerns .
Investigations last night revealed that Tompolo, who was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over alleged fraud, may have resorted to “hiding ” in the creeks rather than surrender himself to the anti – graft agency .
A dependable source told Saturday Telegraph that reports making round that Tompolo may have fled the country were untrue as the former MEND leader was “still much around in the creeks . ” The source said: “It is absolutely laughable and untrue to say that Tompolo has fled this country.
Where do you expect him to run to? The Tompolo I know is in the creeks and for those who know him very well, Tompolo cannot leave his people . Of course such can be scripted but not with the kind of person called Tompolo . “The Libya story to me is diversionary . He has no where to go.
He is in the creeks. Yes, security intelligence may have made it impossible for him to speak or be seen, but I can tell you he is still in town.” The source, who further explained that Tompolo loves his country , said: “Occasionally , people may sell some funny dummies just to divert people ’ s attention and thinking.
This does not mean that he (Tompolo) is a bad person as people may want to think or claim. ” It would be recalled that the JNDLF had alleged that : “The Military can’t locate Tompolo but we have identified where he is now.” The group ’s claim which came on the heels of its threat that it would test six missiles in the Niger Delta states , said: “Presently, Tompolo is in Libya and we ’ll get him dead or alive for betraying us in supporting the Federal Government against us . ”
It said: “Nigerian military has weak intelligence gathering mechanism hence they could not identify our modus oparandi. Nigerian military is only good in carrying AK 47 to harass innocent people and raping young girls and women.” Though a close source to Tompolo laughed when contacted , he nonetheless said: “I do not know what you want to say, they should leave Tompolo alone.”
In the wake of the bombing of oil facilities, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA ), had issued a 72 – hour ultimatum to Tompolo to withdraw his comments on the bombed 48 – inch pipeline in Forcados or face severe punitive actions. Tompolo had said in a statement signed by his media adviser and consultant, Paul Bebenimibo, that he had no link with the Niger Delta Avengers, which has claimed responsibility for the bombing of the pipeline.
Avengers blow up Agip ’s Obi Brass oil installation
In the same vein, the bombing of oil installations by the NDA continued yesterday when the militants announced that it had destroyed the Obi Brass Trunk line belonging to Agip ENI in Bayelsa State. Saturday Telegraph gathered that the bombed pipeline is Agip ’s major crude oil line in Bayelsa State.
A tweet released by the militant group ’s official handle yesterday said: “At 3 : am of Friday (yesterday ) @ Niger Delta Avengers blew up the Obi Brass Trunk line belonging to Agip ENI . It is Agip ’s Major Crude oil Line in Bayelsa State.” The attack came just hours after Niger Delta militants on Thursday night blew up another pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC ).
The pipeline is located at Chanomi Creeks in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. It was gathered that the militants had stormed the facility in two fast boats about 7:45 p.m and used dynamite to blow up the crude oil pipeline at Kurutie which supplies crude oil to Warri and Kaduna refineries.
Though no group had claimed responsibility for the attack as at the time of writing this report, it was, however , gathered that the attacks have continued despite the two weeks unilateral ceasefire declared early this week by the Federal Government in a bid to get the militants to submit to dialogue.
‘Why Buhari didn’t t go to Ogoniland ’
On President Buhari ’s aborted trip to Ogoniland, it was gathered from a top -placed security source in the presidency , who confided in the Saturday Telegraph, that if it was not for the intervention of the US government, the story would have been a different one.
Though the militants had threatened to carry out their “threat to assassinate the president , if he had embarked on the trip, ” Saturday Telegraph gathered that the reports from the U.S, which advised him against the proposed visit to Ogoniland , actually aborted the trip.
The NDA had threatened to attack Buhari , who was to flag off the cleaning of Ogoniland but changed his plans at the last minute by sending his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to represent him at the event.
When queried on the supposed superiority of the militants’ weapons to that of the president ’s security apparatus , the source said, though Buhari might have escaped unhurt, there would still have been many casualties due to the exchange of firepower . “It was actually the US government that said we should not go there and we later realised that it was a good advice.
They made us to understand that from their intelligence report, those guys were going to act as planned. Even the DSS agreed with them that we should not go. When the matter was tabled, and we were confronted with evidences , we all realised that those guys were not joking at all. “It is not that they will over power the presidential guard , no , far from it, the security of any president is not a child’s play . It is just that those militants would have wanted to make a point and there would have been serious casualties.
When our correspondent probed further on the veracity of the claim, and sought to know how the intelligence report was relayed to Buhari , he simply said there were normal channels of communication between both countries. “There are ways the two countries share intelligence reports . The security people frequently exchange such reports and there is a way they go about it.
On our side , we know when they are telling the truth, this is one of such times . “You know there are times we don ’t take them serious but when you see facts that are incontrovertible , it is better to heed than regret later ,” he said.
Avengers give condition for ceasefire Giving the Federal Government a condition to cease hostilities , the militants wrote: “we are calling on the international community , to come and support the restoration of our right to peaceful self determination from this tragedy of 1914 that has expired since 2014 . “ We want our resources back to restore the essence of human life in our region for generations to come because Nigeria has failed to do that . The world should not wait until we go the Sudan ways . Enough is enough . ”
UK pledges job creation , economic growth in N ’ Delta
The United Kingdom has indicated its preparedness to enhance security in the Niger Delta through job creation and tackling environmental pollution . The country also pledged to seek ways of boosting the economy of the Niger Delta region . The British High Commissioner to Nigeria , Mr . Paul Arkwright , gave the indication during a courtesy call on the Bayelsa State Governor , Henry Seriake Dickson in Government House, Yenagoa . He was accompanied by Mr . Edward Dunn, Political Secretary , Niger Delta and Mr . Osaro Odemwingie, Senior Political Adviser of the High Commission.
A statement issued yesterday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor , Mr . Daniel Iworiso- Markson , quoted the envoy as saying his visit to Bayelsa State was part of efforts to explore the Niger Delta, with a view to understanding the challenges facing the people . Arkwright said: “ Part of my job is to try to encourage British companies to come and invest in Nigeria , the Niger Delta region and indeed in Bayelsa State and help create jobs and employment opportunities to see what we can do on the security front in broad terms .
Ijaw communities beg Niger Delta Avengers for ceasefire
Ijaw communities in Gbaramatu kingdom , Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, yesterday appealed to the NDA to accept the Federal Government ’ s ceasefire and stop the attacks on oil facilities . The appeal is coming on the heels of renewed hostilities by the militants despite the Federal Government ’ s readiness to hold talks with the people of the region .
The spokesperson for the communities and Chairman of Kokodiagbene community , Mr . Sheriff Mulade , said the communities were the ones bearing the brunt of the incessant attacks as they were already making lives unbearable for the people.
He said: “Our position is that the continued bombings of the region in view of the ceasefire arrangement are highly condemnable. They are technically crippling the economy to enable them to get what they want . So, they should not personalise their Niger Delta demands .
Militants ask FG to reclaim Bakassi
Over 600 militants yesterday asked the Federal Government to reclaim the ceded Bakassi Peninsular from Cameroon . The armed group , referred to as Bakassi Strike Force, said apart from not being carried along before, during and after the ceding process , the indigenes of Bakassi have been neglected by the Federal Government and other local and international stakeholders .
The militants, also known as Esighi group , had a onehour boat display with heavy weapons around Esighi axis of Bakassi, before proceeding to Esuk – Mba . In a display to show its combat readiness , the group brandished weapons such as sophisticated gun boats , Browning machine gun , rocket launchers, among others.