Less than 24 hours after the visit of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas to Bayelsa State, militants from the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) launched devastating attacks on three oil facilities in the state.
NDA, through its spokesman, Brigadier General Murdoch Agbinibo said the attacks in Nembe were in response to ‘Operations Sharkbite’ an art of terrorism allegedly commissioned by the Navy establishment and orchestrated by some elements of the ruling political class to continuously undermine any effort by the Nigerian state to address the legitimate demands of the people of the Niger Delta and to bloat the accounts of some security contractors and conflict merchants within the party structure of the APC.”
According to him, at about 11.45pm on November 15 “our Elite Strike Team 03 struck Nembe 1, 2 and 3 truck lines operated by Agip, Oando and Shell with supply capacity of 300,000 barrel per day to Bonny export terminal in Bayelsa State.”
Agbinibo, who declared that time was thinning out for the Federal Government to kick-start a genuine dialogue, disclosed that NDA was ready for war and would do everything to ensure the Federal Government gave in to its demands.
The statement read in part: “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 demand presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) on November 1.
“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.”
The state Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) confirmed the attacks on oil trunk lines.
The Commandant, Mr. Desmond Agu, who confirmed he got a report on twin explosions at oil pipelines, said his men immediately rushed to the scene only to discover that Egbikiba pipeline was also attacked.
He explained that the explosion cut the pipeline riser, adding that the operatives of NSCDC were combing the area to track down the culprits.
A further cut of 300,000 bdp would further worsen the Nigeria economy, which is battling with recession.
Market survey in August and September had indicated that oil output dipped to 1.44 million with oil companies battling with several militant attacks.
Ibas, during his visit to Bayelsa, had announced the plans of the Nigerian Navy to build mobile stations to curb the increasing wave of militant activities in identified creeks and flash points.
During the visit, the state Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Gboribiogha Jonah had urged for more formations, equipment and infrastructure to enhance the operational efficiency of naval personnel in the state because of “increasing level of sophistication, with which the criminal elements are carry ing out their nefarious activities in the maritime environment of the country.”