Oscarline Onwuemenyi 21 January 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Following the renewed incidents of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta, President Buhari has threatened to deal decisively with those behind the act.
*Niger delta militants.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to Buhari on Media and Publicity, Shehu Garba, Buhari made the threat while speaking with Nigerians residing in Dubai earlier today.
While stating that the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, Buhari said the activities of oil thieves and vandals would soon be brought to an end.
“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them,” he was quoted as saying.
Attacks on oil installations in Delta State took the authorities by surprise, as militants blew-up major crude oil and gas pipelines to the Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, Tank Farm in Warri South West Local Government Area of the state.
Blown up last Friday night was the main crude line from Makaraba through Otunana and Abiteye to Escravos while Olero to Escravos gas line was attacked in the early hours of yesterday.
Also, last Thursday, the Escravos – Warri – Abuja – Lagos pipelines came under attack. The Itsekiri raised the alarm, yesterday, that the attacks could metamorphose into another Ijaw-Itsekiri war.
These acts of sabotage are coming at a time when global crude oil price continues its downward move.
The military, on Sunday, deployed army and naval personnel in the creeks of Delta State to contain the militants.
One source, who spoke from one of the Ijaw communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, at about 5.30 pm said, “The situation is not clear yet, but there are gunboats everywhere. It is a combined team of soldiers and navy people patrolling the creeks.
“Movement is restricted. The military personnel are going about to show their presence and scare the militants, who strike in the night and not in the daytime. But, at least, their presence has shown that the military was ready to confront them.”
The authorities, caught napping by the resumption of hostilities six days ago, reportedly saw the danger of allowing further bombings and mobilised to counter the militants.
After bombing the Escravos-Warri-Abuja-Lagos pipelines at about 10.00 pm on Thursday, the militants were emboldened to blow up Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL’s Utunana –Makaraba crude oil line at 10.30 pm on Friday and proceeded to bomb Olero gas line in the early hours of yesterday.
Their target it is believed is to cripple crude oil production and arm-twist the Federal Government. Already, CNL, heavily hit by the Thursday and Friday attacks, was considering shutting down operations, even as workers have been restricted to their camps in the affected locations.
In the same vein, President Buhari warned telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria not to place their desire for huge profits above the security needs of the country.
He said all telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the Nigerian Communications Commission in this regard. He spoke on his administration’s war against corruption.
President Buhari assured Nigerians at the session that his administration’s war against corruption will continue to be vigorously pursued.
The president pledged that more persons who have abused the public trust will be exposed and brought to justice soon, adding that his government was committed to re-establishing former standards of accountability and probity in the management of public funds which were jettisoned under past administrations.
The president appealed for more patience and understanding from Nigerians as his administration takes steps to safeguard the economy from the shock of falling oil prices.
“In the face of our new economic reality of dwindling oil prices, there are a number of things we can really do without to preserve our economy.
“We must develop the capacity to feed ourselves and we should be spending our resources on real development projects, not luxuries,” he said.