Sylvester Idowu in Warri
After about three months of quiet, the Niger Delta Avengers resumed destruction of oil and gas infrastructure yesterday, when it bombed a Chevron-operated export pipeline at Escravos in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The attack on the major pipeline came as a surprise to security forces in the oil-rich region, as they had lowered their guard in anticipation of a negotiated peace agreement between the militants and the federal government.
The militant group claimed its Strike Team 06 brought down the export pipeline at about 3:45 a.m. yesterday as warning to all international oil companies (IOCs) to heed to its warnings not to effect repairs to their bombed facilities pending the negotiations or dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta.
According to a statement by the group’s spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo, NDA said: “Today at about 3:45 a.m. our Strike Team 06 took down Chevron Escravos export pipeline at Escravos offshore.
“This action is to further warn all IOCs that when we warn that there should be no repairs pending negotiations/dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta, it means there should be no repairs.”
The militant group said it would not allow any attempt to use dialogue to distract it from the struggle, in order to allow the free flow of oil from the region.
“Any attempt to use dialogue to distract us so as to allow the free flow of our oil will halt the dialogue process,” it warned.
The General Manager, Government, Public and Policy of Chevron, Mr. Deji Haastrup refused to confirm or deny the attack when contacted by THISDAY.
He ssaid in a text message: “As a matter of longstanding policy we do not comment on the safety of our personnel or the security of our assets.”
Also, the acting spokesman of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Lieutenant Commander Thomas Otuji could also not be reached for confirmation.
Fear of resumption of attacks on oil infrastructure in the region was rekindled last Saturday when the Niger Delta Avengers broke its silence, warning that only genuine resolution of the crisis with the region controlling its resources under true federalism will guarantee peace in the area.
It said that no amount of military action would stop it from halting the flow of the oil from the region to sustain Nigeria.
“This is our land and we are the masters of its battlefields,” the militant group said.