Yet Again, Militants Blow Up Agip Facility, Want Global Embargo on Nigerian Oil

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  •   Gbaramatu communities condemn bombings FG negotiating with wrong people, says IYC

By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba, Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa and Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Despite federal government’s olive branch, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) continues to wreak havoc across the region. Yesterday, it successfully carried out yet another attack on a crude oil pipeline in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State belonging to Agip-Eni, a company that had earlier been a victim of the series of pipeline attacks by the militants.

In a related development, the umbrella body of youths of Ijaw descent, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, yesterday accused the federal government of engaging the wrong set of people in negotiations to end the ongoing attacks on oil installations in the region.

A source noted that yesterday’s attack, which was carried out with dynamites caused a huge smoke in the coastal area, before fire broke out at about 3a.m.

The NDA which had rebuffed a proposed dialogue with the Federal Government claimed responsibility for the attack through its Twitter handle @NDavengers.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC confirmed the attack on the Agip-Eni facility.

Only last weekend, about 140,000 bpd of crude was shut-in by Agip following an attack on its facilities, for which the NDA also claimed responsibility.

The state Commandant, NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, who confirmed the incident said that the corps had started meeting with traditional rulers in various coastal communities as part of methods to resolve the crisis in the state.

Agu said that his men would continue to patrol oil facilities in the area, noting that officials of the NSCDC were on the trail of the perpetrators.

He said the meeting began with traditional rulers from communities in Southern Ijaw, a local government with one of the largest concentration of oil activities in the state.

Agu said the corps and other security agencies remained resolute and committed in protecting the country’s assets adding that his men were doing their best to protect the state from attackers.

He asked aggrieved youths to stop violence and embrace peace for Niger Delta to attain expected growth and development.

He said: “This is the case of people turning their weapons against themselves. This destruction is having grave impact not just on the economy of the region but also on the environment.

“Any polluted environment takes a long time to recover and become suitable for farming, fishing and other uses.”

Also yesterday, the NDA expressed delight over reports in the international media that some buyers were considering turning their back on Nigerian crude owing to the disruptive activities of the militants.

The group, in a tweet, applauded any decision by the international community to shun Nigeria’s oil alleging that Nigerian government had been denying the people of the Niger Delta benefits of its God-given hydrocarbon resources.

It urged the country’s customers not to buy Nigeria’s oil until issues bordering on alleged injustice and self-determination demand by the militants or freedom-fighters in the region were ironed out with the help of the international community.

The group had in a statement on Thursday defended its relentless bombing campaign against oil and gas installations in the region, stressing that it was prompted by decades of injustice against the oil-rich region, in terms of meaningful development.

The statement by the NDA spokesman, Mudoch Agbinibo, called on the international community and especially the advanced nations of Europe, Asia and America “to come to the aid of the Niger Delta people”  in their quest for self-determination.

Reacting to latest attacks, a prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Favour Izoukumor decried the bombings of national assets by members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) saying their activities were criminal and not in the interest of the region.

Chief Izoukumor, who is the Fiye-Owei of Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government, noted that the militants had done more collateral damage on the already fragile ecology of the Niger Delta.

Izoukumor noted that there were no justifications for resorting to violence instead of embracing dialogue in resolving issues.

“They certainly have no social, economic or political justification for their notorious actions. For me, their activities are purely criminal. Whatever reasons the Avengers have, they ought to seek dialogue with the government and it is when that fail to bring desired result that other options could be taken.

“But in all, militancy, wanton destruction of national economic assets and extreme violence are no options to modern day struggle and agitation”, the Ijaw Chief said.

The Ijaw Chief also advised the federal government to urgently enter into a robust dialogue with all stakeholders in the Niger Delta to end the senseless destructions by youths.

For peace to reign, he further suggested the implementation of the national conference report which signified a collective agreement negotiated by all Nigerians.

FG negotiating with the wrong people, says IYC… 

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has accused the federal government of engaging the wrong set of people in negotiations to end the ongoing attacks on oil installations in the region.

The IYC urged the federal government to engage credible leaders from the Niger Delta in the current dialogue with the NDA.

Spokesman of the group, Mr. Eric Omare, said that the breach of a ceasefire by the militants meant that the NDA did not trust those the federal government was currently talking to.

The government had directed the military to observe a two-week retreat from the communities in the ongoing efforts to return peace to the troubled region.

Omare said that the continued sabotage while talks were ongoing was an indication of lack of confidence on the representatives of the Niger Delta region by the militants.

 He noted that politicisation of the process was partly responsible for the non-compliance to the ceasefire by members of the NDA.

 In another development, the IYC Parliament, has described the purported suspension of the IYC President, Udengs Eradiri, and the spokesman,  Omare, as ‘’laughable, unthinkable and of no effect’’.

The Speaker, IYC Mobile Parliament, Mr, Mkpon Ijonama, at a news conference in Yenagoa, yesterday, passed a vote of confidence on the two executive members, noting that outsiders were bent on dividing the youths of Ijaw extraction.

Gbaramatu communities condemn bombings…

Also yesterday, riverside communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Council of Delta State, condemned in the strongest terms the bombings of crude lines in Bayelsa and Delta States respectively by the NDA.

Spokesman of the communities and Chairman of Kokodiagbene community, Comrade Sheriff Mulade said that the communities were the ones feeling the brunt.

The communities described the militant acts as appalling and inexcusable in view of the two-week ceasefire arrangement put in place by the federal government, advising them to embrace the olive branch by Abuja.

“Our position is that the continued bombings of the region in view of the ceasefire arrangement is highly condemnable.  They are technically crippling the economy to enable them get what they want. So, they should not personalize their Niger Delta demands.

“Some of the things they highlighted are what the Niger Delta people are agitating for and violence is not best way to get those things done. We think they are only taking advantage of government’s failure to address these fundamental issues.’’

“We want to draw the attention of these militants to the fact they are destroying our environment which is the only thing that we have. The massive spills these bombings triggered, have devastated the environment and to remediate the environment would take decades to do. So, their acts are roundly condemned,’’ they added.