It is now certain that the ongoing dialogue between the Pan-Niger Delta Elders Forum and President Muhammadu Buhari is heading for the rocks as Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), yesterday claimed it brought down three trunklines in Nembe, Bayelsa State, with supply capacity of 300,000 barrels per day to the Bonny export terminal in Rivers State.
The NDA said in a statement issued yesterday that its elite strike team 03 attacked Nembe 1, 2 and 3 trunklines operated by Agip, Oando and Shell at about 11.45p.m last Monday in response to the ongoing naval exercise in the region, particularly in Delta State.
THISDAY checks revealed that the attacks came up less than eight hours to the arrival of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, to Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS Delta) Warri; Navy Hospital Effurun near Warri and other naval formations in Sapele and Oghara in Delta State.
A statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Mudoch Aginibo, said: “At about 11.45p.m. November 15, 2016, our Elite Strike Team 03 struck Nembe 1, 2 and 3 truckline operated by Agip, Oando and Shell with supply capacity of 300,000 barrel per day to Bonny export terminal in Rivers State.
“This is in response to the so-called ‘Operations Sharkbite,’ an art of terrorism inaugurated by the tyranny of the Nigerian Navy establishment and orchestrated by some elements of the ruling political class to continuously undermine any effort by the Nigerian state to addressing the legitimate demands of the people of the Niger Delta and a conspiracy to bloat the accounts of some security contractors and conflict merchants within the party structure of the APC.”
The latest attack was in contrast with the position of the Niger Delta stakeholders led by Chief Edwin Clark which last Friday condemned the renewed attacks on oil facilities, describing the avengers as criminals and enemies of the region.
Other rights groups, including Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI) led by Austin Ozobo and Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) headed by Sheriff Mulade, have condemned the renewed attacks on oil facilities by the group.
THISDAY checks revealed that the spontaneous reactions and condemnations of its attacks led to NDA’s statement last Sunday in which it laboured to justify its recent actions which still did not gel with its hitherto supporters and sympathisers in the region.
Trying to justify the attacks on the Nembe lines yesterday, the NDA said its attack on the trunkline was to reiterate its strong resolve that time is running against the Nigerian government and “that there is doom ahead.
“The Nigerian government needs our cooperation more than we need the government as it concerns the extraction of the crude oil and hydrocarbon resources in our God-given land. We are determined to continue this war by all means necessary, until that environment prevails for a genuine dialogue and negotiations within the framework of the 16-point key demands presented to President Buhari by PANDEF on the November 1, 2016.
“We want the peace with honour, we don’t want the peace of our time. Since that moment military was drafted into the Niger Delta as an instrument of suppression to our fatherland against all peaceful protest and legitimate demands, the fear had gone. The message is getting stronger with more messengers.”
Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) yesterday confirmed the bombing of an oil facility believed to be owned by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Bayelsa State
He said the corps has already launched an investigation into the attack on the pipelines located at Lasukugbene, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
The Commandant, of NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, said he got a report that two explosions rocked the pipelines, noting that his men immediately rushed to the scene only to find out that the Egbikiba pipeline was also attacked.
He said the explosion cut the pipeline “riser” adding that the operatives of NSCDC were combing the area to track down the culprits.
Agu said his command had recorded many successes against pipeline vandals in the state describing the current incident as an isolated case.
“We have been arresting suspected vandals in the state and that is why Bayelsa State has been kept safe from major attacks. We had also foiled many attempts in the past to bomb pipelines. We are investigating this matter to bring the culprits to book.
“We are also warning youths in the state to stop fomenting trouble and to stay away from oil installations. The state and the Niger Delta region need peace to develop,” he said.
Aside the explosion in Southern Ijaw Council, the NDA said earlier that they also struck three other facilities in Nembe .
“At about 11.45p.m. November 15, 2016, our Elite Strike Team 03 struck Nembe 1, 2 and 3 truck line operated by Agip, Oando and Shell with supply capacity of 300,000 barrel per day to Bonny export terminal in Bayelsa State.
“This is in response to the so-called “ Operations Sharkbite” an art of terrorism commissioned by the tyranny of the Nigerian Navy establishment.
“This operation is orchestrated by some elements of the ruling political class to continuously undermine any effort by the Nigerian state to addressing the legitimate demands of the people of the Niger Delta and as well a conspiracy to bloat the accounts of some security contractors and conflict merchants within the party structure of the APC,” Mudock Agbinibo, the group’s spokesman said.
In a statement, Agbinibo said the group was only reiterating its strong resolve that “time is running against the Nigerian government, that there is doom ahead.”
“The Nigerian government needs our cooperation more than we need the government as it concerns the extraction of the crude oil and hydrocarbon resources in our God-given land.
“We are determined to continue this war by all means necessary, until that environment prevails for a genuine dialogue and negotiations within the framework of the sixteen point key demands presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by PANDEF on November 1, 2016.
“We want the peace with honour. Since that moment military was drafted into the Niger Delta as an instrument of suppression to our fatherland against all peaceful protest and legitimate demands, the fear had gone. The message is getting stronger with more messengers,” the NDA boasted.
However, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has told a delegation of the Niger Delta Peoples Congress that putting an end to vandalism in the region is key to resolving the multifarious challenges in the region.
Osinbajo yesterday met with Niger Delta Peoples Congress, (NDPC) at the State House in Abuja.
The group was led by Amanyanabo of Twon Brass, Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diete Spiff.
The group is making fresh demands from the federal government to ensure peace in the Niger Delta.
A source at the meeting informed THISDAY that the vice president told the delegation that the priority first should be to ensure that vandalism was stopped.
The vice president also reminded the delegation that the problems in the Niger Delta region were not created by the Buhari administration but was inherited.
Osinbajo also challenged the elite in the region to rise up and support the peace initiatives being championed by the government.
He was quoted as saying: “If the elite in all regions of the country decide to end the problems in their regions, the problems will be resolved.”
He was also said to have told the delegation that independent producers who are mainly Nigerians also suffered from vandalism.
Two weeks ago, Niger Delta stakeholders, under the aegis of Pan Niger Delta Forum led by Spiff and elder statesman, Edwin Clark, submitted a 16-point demand to President Buhari.
The Secretary of the NDPC, Professor Benjamin Okaba, said the delegation was not only to re-affirm the plausible submissions made earlier but to also prioritise the concerns and place them in clearer perspectives.
Speaking with State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, two members of the delegation, Mike Oloyebo and Hendricks Okpokeme shed light on the fresh demands.
Oloyebo said: “This is Niger Delta Peoples Congress. King Alfred Diete Spiff and other leaders, about 38-member delegation came again to represent the aggrieved people because you can’t be finding peace without taking into consideration of the problem of the boys in the creeks.
“That is what we have come to inform the presidency and I am very sure the aggrieved people were represented in this meeting and we don’t have any political affiliation to any other group, we have come genuinely concerned to solve this problem once and for all.”
Asked if his group was different from the first one, he said that the mission of the groups are the same towards finding lasting peace in the region.
He said: “The mission is the same, we are trying to find peace whether we are talking about differences or not, we are all one people.”
On the response of the presidency to the presentation, he said: “It was very positive, we have a president that is very honest with governance and the issues that affect Nigerians and I am very sure that what he told us that the issues are very legitimate and we should go back and try to get a roadmap for permanent peace and that is what we are doing.”
From the meeting, he said that more consultations and interactions would follow, which culminate in a summit.
He said: “We are going to do a stakeholders summit in the Niger Delta in the next one month where every body will be invited to the table to hear what government want to do. So that if we continue to ask government to do things for us, without us stopping the bombing, then it does not make sense.
Asked if the first meeting did not achieve its purpose, he said: “After the first meeting there were a lot of distractions and other issues, we were misrepresented. The people said we came to ask for oil bloc for ourselves and they came with specific demands and we have come to inform the presidency this is the demand of the aggrieved people.”