For the second time in two days, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the militant group responsible for the relentless attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, on Monday night breached two manifolds operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the exploration and production subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), at Batan community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The group, which blew up five oil facilities in the wee hours of Sunday morning, also bombed two more trunk lines belonging to the NNPC in the area and oil well 10 operated by Chevron at Mararaba community in Gbaramatu Kingdom.
The reign of destruction by the group is likely to impact oil prices which fell by four per cent yesterday amid concerns of a global economic slowdown sparked by Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) and data showing an increase in US crude stock.
Several security sources confirmed yesterday that the bombings took place between 10 p.m. and 11.20 p.m. on Monday night without any resistance from the military.
He said the militants had a field day because of the scaled-down military operations in the kingdom, the area where ex-militant leader and fugitive of the law, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, hails from.
A highly placed security source disclosed that the attacks at Batan took place between 10.35 p.m. and 11.20 p.m. while that of Chevron occurred about the same time.
Claiming responsibility for the latest attacks later, the Avengers said it blew up the Chevron oil well 10 close to the Otunana flow station.
A terse statement signed by its spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, added that other attacks were carried out at 11.15 p.m.
“Niger Delta Avengers blew up the NPDC manifold close to Banta and two PPMC/NNPC crude oil trunk lines,” it said.
But as condemnations continued to trail last weekend’s bombings of five oil and gas installations by the militant group, after a lull in its nefarious activities, a foremost non-governmental organisation, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), joined other Nigerians to condemn the dastardly acts, which have upended the gains recorded in recent weeks.
The position of CEPEJ was contained in a statement signed by its coordinator, Mr. Sheriff Mulade, saying that the continued bombings of oil and gas facilities was an ill-wind that would do the region no good.
He said, instead it would adversely affect the environment and slow down its economy.
The NGO reiterated its appeal to the Avengers to sheathe its swords and allow peace to reign, adding that no development could take place in an environment wracked by conflict.
CEPEJ also appealed to the federal government to go ahead with the proposed peace talks, but cautioned against engaging directly with the militants in the peace parley, suggesting rather that critical stakeholders should be identified and engaged by the government.
“Otherwise government would create more room for other pseudo-groups to emerge. If the government wants to truly resolve the issues, it should involve critical leaders and not political stakeholders; otherwise it will be another jamboree and failed attempt.
“The fundamental issues are clear: the people of the Niger Delta need development and remediation of their environment which has been devastated by years of oil and gas exploration and exploitative activities.
“The politicians are the beneficiaries of the system. When they are fraternising with the militants, on the one hand, they want to end the militancy, on the other.
“That is why we said the government should not make it a political talk, rather Niger Delta stakeholders at the grassroots should be involved,” it counselled.
The group warned that the dialogue committee constituted by the federal government should not be seen as a diversionary ploy, explaining that weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari announced the composition of the committee, nothing concrete had happened.
However, before news of the attacks filtered into the oil market, prices of the commodity fell about four per cent yesterday amid concerns over an economic slowdown sparked by Britain’s exit from the EU and data showing an increase in US crude stock.