Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the new militant group that has launched multiple attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region, has struck yet again. The group said it blew up a gas and crude trunk line belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Warri, Delta State. The Avengers announced the attack via its Twitter handle.
The group said that the facility was “heavily guarded” by the Nigerian military, in an apparent attempt to mock the Nigerian armed forces’ capacity to check its activities. The insurgents, claimed to have destroyed a trunkline belonging to the NNPC at about 11:45pm at a location close to Warri. “At 11:45pm on Thursday, @NDAvengers blew up other #NNPC gas and crude trunkline close to Warri. Pipeline that was heavily guarded by military.
“The Niger Delta stakeholders’ meeting is an insult to the people of the Niger Delta. What we need is a sovereign state, not pipeline contracts. To IOCs, Indigenous Oil Companies and the Nigerian military; watch out, something big is about to happen and it will shock the whole world”, it said.
The spokesman for the joint military tasks force in the area, Isa Ado, could not be immediately reached for comments, but security sources and residents in the area confirmed the attack.
“We are in the process of accessing the incident and the cause and details are not yet available,” a military personnel deployed to the area said. Residents of the area said the attack on the crude pipeline caused an oil spill. Augustine Amaka, who resides in Warri, Delta State, said the spill that followed the pipeline blast polluted the surroundings while soldiers cordoned off the area. Eric Omare, an aide to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, and a youth activist, confirmed the incident on telephone on Friday.
“Another crude pipeline was attacked Thursday night near Batan oil field in Warri,” he said. “There were two attacks on Pipelines and Petroleum Marketing Company and NNPC pipelines, following shortly after an earlier attack on Chevron in Escavos,” Mr. Omare said. The so called Niger Delta Avengers had rejected a meeting recently convened in Abuja by the federal government, warning of its readiness to carry out an attack that will “shock the whole world”.
“The Niger Delta stakeholder’s meeting is an insult to the people of Niger Delta. What we need is a Sovereign State not pipeline Contracts. “To the IOC’s, Indigenous Oil Companies and Nigeria Military. Watch out something big is about to happen and it will shock the whole world,” the group tweeted on Friday. The group has launched several attacks on oil and gas infrastructure since February 2016, demanding a sovereign nation of the Niger Delta people. On Thursday, it claimed responsibility for an attack on a gas pipeline belonging to Chevron in Delta state. “We warned Chevron, but they didn’t listen. NDA just blew up the Escravos tank farm main electricity feed pipeline,” it said.
The militants said the oil facilities were sabotaged following attempts by Chevron to carry out repairs of main Escravos crude oil pipeline it blew up earlier. A spokesperson for the group, Mudoch Agbinibo, had earlier this month warned the Nigerian government of further attacks if their demands were not met. Last week, Chevron’s Makaraba crude oil line was attacked on the offshore Okan manifold in the region.
The attack followed previous ones on the company’s facilities at Abiteye, Utunana and Makaraba platforms in Warri South- West area of Delta State resulting in the loss of over 40,000 barrels of oil per day. Although there was no official security confirmation of the incident, as none of the top security operatives who could make comments on it were unavailable as at press time, a reliable senior naval officer confirmed that an explosion had been recorded close to Egwa 1 area, which is the oil fields Batan community belongs to. The insurgent group has in recent times cost Nigeria’s crude oil output and gas production huge losses.