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Avengers blow up oil wells, mock military

The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), in the early hours of Wednesday blew up two Chevron oil wells in Warri, Delta Sate, leading to a further drop in Nigeria’s oil output which had gone down from 2.2 million barrels per day at the beginning of this year to 1.1 million bpd before the incident. The NDA claimed responsibility for the attack via a tweet from their Twitter handle @ NDAvengers. Mocking the military, the Avengers tweeted “With the heavy presence of 100 Gunboats, 4 Warships and Jet Bombers NDA blew up Chevron Oil Well RMP 23 and RMP 24 [at] 3:44am this Morning.” “This is to show the whole world that Nigeria Military is good in harassing innocent civilians,” the group further tweeted. RMP 24 and RMP 23 are Chevron’s swamp area highest producing wells.

The avengers have claimed responsibility for various attacks on oil facilities in the region. Facilities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell and Chevron have previously been blown up by the group. Following the attacks, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Army had declared war on the new militant group who say the presence of the military will not stop their attacks.

They say they will continue till they get a sovereign state. The Avengers have also warned President Muhammadu Buhari against visiting the Niger Delta. Buhari is expected to visit Ogoniland in Niger Delta on Thursday (today) to launch a much-delayed programme to clean up areas heavily polluted by oil spills, In warning against the visit, the militants told Buhari to sign his death warrant before coming to the creeks and further said that any representative sent will also be killed.

The group made the threat in a statement on Radio Biafra on Wednesday in reaction to the killing of some Biafra protesters by the Nigerian Army on Monday. “This is Niger Delta Avengers… has come to our notice that the Nigerian army killed our brothers who went to remember our dead heroes on 30th May in Nkpor, Anambra State, the army will hear from us, you are all monsters but you must pay. “Buhari do not step your foot in our land because we heard you want to visit Ogoni land. Before coming you should sign your death warrant because we will kill you.

“If you don’t come and decide to send representatives, you should also sign their death warrants. Any Niger Delta elder working against our people should also sign their death warrant. “Finally we are urging all Biafrans who to us are our brothers to keep faith with Nnamdi Kanu as they cannot harm him even in their custody thank you”.

Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters has declared that the Nigerian Armed Forces will not relent in their efforts to flush out economic saboteurs masquerading under whatever guise to perpetuate evils in the Niger Delta area of the country.

The declaration was made on Wednesday in a statement by the acting Director Defence Information, BrigGeneral Rabe Abubakar. The statement explained that as part of the constitutional mandate of the Armed Forces, the military will not jettison the confidence reposed in it by the good citizens this nation in ensuring that peace and security prevail in our land. The military, the statement noted, was not unmindful of the campaign of calumny against its soldiers by paid agents claiming that soldiers are harassing members of the public while performing their constitutional responsibility.

The military said that it was pertinent to state that it is the same group of people that are wreaking havoc on the critical national assets that are blackmailing the Armed Forces and other security agencies to divert attention. The military and other security agencies, the statement added, will continue to discharge their lawful duties in the Niger Delta and any other part of the country in a most professional manner devoid of the claim by the criminal elements of harassment, intimidation and arrest.

The blackmail by sponsored persons, it categorically said, would not deter the military from being focused and committed in its effort to fish out the vandals as the whole world is seeing what the so called Militants are criminally doing in the attacks of oil pipelines. The military further stated that “The security measure put in place is not meant to intimidate any innocent individuals but to bring normalcy to our land. “We urge the communities and well-meaning Nigerians to cooperate with the security agencies in their bid to apprehend the perpetrators. “The military would respond 0decisively in a professional manner at appropriate time.”

Also on Wednesday, Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo in Abuja condemned the activities of Niger Delta Avengers, saying Nigerian State should not submit to blackmail from any quarters. The governor stated this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, the country deserves respect from all, adding that the political elite should help in promoting and strengthening the bridge of unity in the country. “I don’t think the state should submit to blackmail, for me I think the state should be respected. “For me I believe in Nigeria, I believe no part can do without the other, I believe our unity is not negotiable, I believe the responsibility of the political elite is to strengthen the bridge of unity, to discourage preaching hatred; discourage amplifying weak points rather work to strengthen those points.

“I salute our armed forces for what they are doing and the confidence they have brought back to our security,’’ he said. Oshiomhole further stated that “President Buhari deserves the support of everyone and there is no part of Nigeria that can be better off without the other part’’. He said: “The sooner we accept this reality the better it is for all of us.

The days of ethnic champions and imaginary divides will not help anyone.’’ The governor maintained that the president had shown leadership and determination to keep the country going and “for once, we are enjoying respect in world capitals, in different continents’’. Oshiomhole, therefore, enjoined all Nigerians, particularly the people of the South-South region, to support and cooperate with the Buhari-led administration in his efforts to transform the country.

“We don’t need to be security experts to accept the universal truth that wherever there is insecurity there will be no investment because no investor will go to where is unsafe. “And where there is no investment poverty will be endemic because there will be no job for our people. “I appeal to all of us in the South South, we need to wake up; it is for our own self interest that we make the region the most investor friendly.

“The assets being destroyed is not just national assets, it is our own assets. It is what makes the South South the hub of the Nigerian economy.

“So, if somebody for whatever reason decides to destroy pipelines and thereby compounding the problem of pollution, the cost of cleaning up that area, making it attractive either for fishing, farming or other business, is a huge cost,’’ he added. The governor commended Buhari for his commitment to clean up Ogoni land and other polluted areas in the Niger Delta. He urged the people of the region to work together and encourage the President and the Federal Government to continue to do.

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