The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has disputed claims by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that it was responsible for the explosion that rocked the Port Harcourt Refinery recently.
The union also warned politicians against creating a state of uncertainty in the highly sensitive oil sector.
The NUPENG President, Comrade Igwe Achese, at a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday said such the false claim and unguarded utterances by politicians were capable of scaring away investors from the sector and the country.
“The utterances of some people concerning the recent explosion at the Port Harcourt Refinery is capable of heating up the political atmosphere,’’ Achese said.
He said the explosion was caused by vandals who attempted to scoop oil.
He said this was contrary to the position of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta ( MEND) which said it blew up the pipeline.
“Today, we are all aware that most of the investors in the oil and gas sector are trying to pull out because of insecurity issues. Contrary to MEND’s claim, the explosion which rocked the Port Harcourt Refinery in Alesa-Eleme and the nearby Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) Evacuation/Reception Jetty at Okrika in Rivers on Sunday was caused by the unscrupulous activities of oil thieves.
“It is not an issue of somebody coming up with hearsay or somebody claiming what he doesn’t know. We should stop giving attention to faceless organisations or faceless individuals who want to be claiming MEND or using the political environment to claim to be MEND.
“It is not the issue of MEND, and we should tell our brothers and sisters here in Nigeria that there is nothing like that. We cannot continue to create unnecessary tension in our environment. We must continue to ensure that the economy grows.
“The inferno was caused by criminals who were trying to scoop products from a line that was connected from the NNPC close to the water shores in the mangrove area,” the union leader added.