Militants shift attacks to Bayelsa, bomb Agip gas pipeline

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Suspected Niger Delta militants on Tuesday night blew up the SagbamaTuomo gas line, belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, at Egbembiri, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. This is even as a new militant group, Red Egbesu Water Lions, has surfaced in the Niger Delta region demanding the de-freezing of the bank accounts of exmilitant leader, Government Ekpemupol, alias Tompolo as well as release the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), while another, “Niger Delta Buffalos” has issued oil companies operating in Akwa Ibom State a seven-day ultimatum to shut down operations or face destructive consequences.

A security source, who confirmed the blowing up of the Sagbama-Tuomo gas line, said: “Egbembiri is a border town between Bayelsa and Delta states. They destroyed the Ayama section of the Ogboinbiri-Tuomo gas pipeline with dynamites at about 9.00 pm on Tuesday. That line was earlier repaired, last week and again vandalised.” We, however, suspect that dispute over the surveillance contract led to the attack.” The Agip pipeline links major oil facilities in Delta and Bayelsa States,” he added.

Meanwhile, the new militant group, Red Egbesu Water Lions, in a statement by its Creek Network Coordinator, “General” Torunanawei Latei, said it was teaming up with the Niger Delta Avengers and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The group issued the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to direct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to defreeze the bank accounts of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupol, alias Tompolo as well as release the leader of the IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

The group threatened to shut down all oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta at the expiration of the ultimatum, and demanded “unconditional immediate payment to victims of the Bonga Oil Spill and Chevron gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa State.” Also, another militant group with the name, “Niger Delta Buffalos” has issued all Oil Companies operating in Akwa Ibom State a seven-day ultimatum to shut down operations or face destructive consequences.

The group sent the notice through an email emanating from gadaffi@gmail.com, posted to the ink newspaper website on Monday signed by a certain General Mankiller. According to the email, their demands includes an apology by President Buhari for the utterances he made recently, concerning the Niger Delta Avengers, another militant group who claimed responsibility for the attacks on oil installations in Rivers State recently.

They also demand President Buhari to convene a national sovereign conference with resource control as its main agenda. Other demands includes the relocation of Mobil Headquarters to the state and the declaration of how much is paid by the company as penalty for gas flaring and immediate release of such funds to the Core Oil Communities of the state.

“We will take it no further, the blatant abuse and neglect of our region by the Federal Government: we are giving all Oil Companies in Akwa Ibom State a 7-day ultimatum to shut down operations until our demands are met.” They also demanded for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Oil Companies and the Core Oil Communities and that the Federal Government must declare how much it has collected so far as penalty from Mobil for disobeying the gas flaring dateline and that such monies should be remitted to the State Government and paid directly to the people of the region.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, on Wednesday, warned that resurgence of violence and militancy in the Niger Delta region would only exacerbate the developmental and environmental problems in the region. Dickson in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel IworisoMarkson, warned youths in the region against violence and destruction of national assets. The statement said the governor who spoke during a meeting with heads of oil companies operating in the state, said peace and security was needed for sustainable development and prosperity in the region.

He condemned the killing of military personnel and pipeline vandalism and assured that government would arrest and prosecute persons behind the dastardly acts. However, Dickson called on security agencies to exercise restraint in their quest to tackle the violence, assuring that his administration was working closely with community leaders and other stakeholders to bring the perpetrators to book

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