Ex-militants resume hostilities in Niger Delta

Suspected ex-militants on Thursday night blew up a gas pipeline in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State conveying gas from Escravos–Warri-Lagos-Abuja, property of the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), in what is believed to be a resumption of fresh hostilities in the Niger Delta region.

A riverside dweller said, “We slept with our eyes open throughout the night as bombs boomed everywhere, the attackers were exploding bombs and shooting guns indiscriminately.

“They blew up the gas pipeline from Escravos to Warri – Lagos and Abuja at three different points. They struck at Opudebubor, Okpelama and Kpokpo area, Chanomi creek and Sahara, behind Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL.

“We do not know what is going to happen next, but there is tension since last night over the bombing and many residents are afraid that it will continue. Some are already fleeing their communities because they suspect that government would deploy security agents to hunt for those bombing the pipelines and they do not want to be caught in the ensuing crossfire.”

On Thursday, Niger Delta ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, who a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, issued a bench warrant for his arrest, same day, raised the alarm that some persons were planning to bomb crude oil facilities and pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta and attribute the havoc to him.

He cited those allegedly dissatisfied with the re-election of Governor Henry Seriake-Dickson fo Bayelsa state and urged them to desist from plan.

His words, “I want to admonish those that are still aggrieved as a result of the outcome of the election not to resort to destruction of national assets, especially crude oil facilities and pipelines and attribute it to me because of my position on the election.”

He asserted that destroying crude oil facilities would not do the country any good and urged them “to support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to succeed.”

Tompolo alluded that he was being persecuted for refusing to support the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, in the Bayelsa election.

Contacted Friday morning, chairman of Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, Boro Opudu, said, “I am hearing rumour about such incident but I have not confirmed what happened. I cannot, therefore, speak on the matter until I have my facts.”

 

Tompolo: I did not do it

Meanwhile Tompolo has said that he was not responsible for blowing up the pipeline. Speaking on Friday evening, the ex-militant dissociated himself from the wanton attacks on oil installations in the Warri area of Delta state on Friday.

Tompolo, however, did not rule out connection between the destruction and the arrest warrant issued by the Federal High Court in Lagos.

He said, “I am not responsible for the attack and I condemn it as a dastardly act. I am aware that some persons might want to destroy oil installations and link it with me that was why I said before time that I have nothing to do with it.

“I could not have gone ahead to carry out such action knowing that every finger will be pointed at me because of my case with the Federal Government,” he added.

Tompolo, who spoke through his media aide, Paul Bebenimibo, urged those who carried out the attacks to change their ways. He said he was willing to help the Federal Government and relevant security operatives fish out the masterminds of the attacks and bring them to book. 

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