17 July 2016, Yenagoa – Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the militant group claiming responsibilities for pipeline bombings in the Niger Delta, has warned ExxonMobil not to repair its vandalised Qua Iboe terminal blasted by its operatives last Monday.
The group, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mudoch Agbinibo, warned that if the oil major makes any attempt to repair the terminal, “something big and worst (sic) will happen”.
The Niger Delta Avengers had last Monday night claimed that it breached Qua Iboe 48” crude oil terminal, operated by ExxonMobil in Akwa Ibom State. It claimed in a statement then that the attack was carried out at about 7.30 p.m. for alleged refusal to yield to its directive not to effect repair works on any breached facility.
ExxonMobil however reacted, noting that none of its facilities was attacked as claimed by the militant group.
According to a terse statement signed by its spokesman, Agbinibo, the Niger Delta Avengers said it blew up the ExxonMobil Qua Iboe 48” crude oil export pipeline at about 7.30 p.m.
In the statement titled ‘Other Export Pipeline Blown’, the militant group said “At about 7:30pm the Niger Delta Avengers blow up ExxonMobil Qua Iboe 48” crude oil export pipeline. When will these International Oil companies (IOC) learn to listen. We (Niger Delta Avengers) said no export.”
Reacting swiftly to the NDA claim, ExxonMobil Corp said no attacks had taken place at its facilities after the militant group said it had blown up the Qua Iboe 48” crude oil export pipeline operated by the company. “There were no attacks on our facilities,” said ExxonMobil spokesman Todd Spitler.
But the militant group said yesterday that it was aware of a plan by ExxonMobil to carry out repairs having claimed “system anomaly”.
“When we published the Que Iboe 48-inches crude oil export line was blown by us (Niger delta avengers) ExxonMobil denied it, but now ExxonMobil has admitted that the 48” pipeline we (Niger Delta Avengers) blow up is “System Anomaly”, it added.
The Avengers urged the oil company to admit its terminal was blown, stressing that its refusal was none of the militants’ business.
“We urging (sic) them to follow the path of safety by admitting it was blown but them (ExxonMobil) not admitting it to their traders/international refineries is none of our business. It will become our (Niger delta Avengers) business when ExxonMobil carry out repair work on the blown pipeline. When that time comes it won’t be ExxonMobil declaring false (sic) majeure but it’s going to be something worst.
“ExxonMobil and Akwa Ibom government can deny Niger Delta Avengers is not in Akwa Ibom state but we want them to know one of our elite strike team is based in Akwa Ibom State. We are warning ExxonMobil not to carry out any repair work on the blown pipeline; if they refuse and go ahead with any repair work something big and worst will happen.
“To the traders/international refineries doing business with them, don’t let ExxonMobil deceive you that the repair work will take three to four weeks with the level of damage it will take them (ExxonMobil) months to fix it”, it added.
The group recalled that what happened to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) crude oil export pipeline in Forcados was an example to all International Oil Companies that no repair works would take place until the federal government heed to its demands.
“If ExxonMobil fails to listen to us (Niger Delta Avengers), your personnel are going to be our next casualties not pipelines”, the group warned.
Meanwhile, one of the militant groups in the Niger Delta, the Ultimate Warriors, yesterday rejected the position taken by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to lead the agitators’ negotiations with the federal government.
The group, in a statement by its spokesman, Sibiri Taiowoh, accused MEND of lacking the credibility to take on such a huge task, noting that the ex-militant group would only worsen the current situation.
“Furthermore, MEND should stop playing itself up as if they are one credible body to reckon with in respect to the renewed agitations. We did not embrace the dialogue initiative because of MEND; so, it is not for MEND to dictate and set the pace for us. Let them not give us or any of our affiliate bogus criteria to force down our throat, otherwise they would only succeed in worsening the situation”, the group said.
But MEND while recently accepting the dialogue option, held that the aegis under which all militants would negotiate should be its Aaron 2 Peace Initiative to be headed by a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Odein Ajumogobia.
“With this development, it has become more imperative for the entire Niger Delta region to unite and speak with one voice under a single umbrella in the forthcoming dialogue on the Niger Delta question with the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The single umbrella is the MEND Aaron Team 2 peace initiative headed by Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, SAN,” the militant group stressed, after it said it had received “firm assurances from the highest level of government about its readiness to dialogue with the Aaron Team”.
Aside dissociating itself from the position held by MEND, the Ultimate Warriors, also took a swipe at President Buhari yesterday, saying that the federal government has refused to put its house in order as the militants prepare for the proposed talks.
“We have watched with chagrin the recent utterances by the President and his Vice and all we are seeing is their tacit double standard and lip service to the demand of the groups as it concerns the Niger Delta question.
“That is why all of our units and affiliates have not fully heeded to the ceasefire. Today the President will say something, tomorrow his Vice and some of their dishonest and selfish lieutenants will contradict him. That only shows how confused and unserious the government is about the problems and how to deal with them”, the Ultimate Warriors stated.
It added, “We have said it before that the government would not be able to muster the political willpower to handle the crisis in the Niger Delta region because of deceitful tendency of the current government. If you recall one of our statements, we said when the whirlwind descends, they will start blaming the opposition because of their ineptitude and missteps.
“Otherwise, what has stopped the government from capitalising on the window of the month-long dialogue created to commence a genuine and sincere negotiation process? We have said it before that we have nothing to lose on the bombing of oil pipelines because our mission is to ground the oil economy if our demands are not met.
“We have said we are doing what we are doing to prod the government to renegotiate the control of our oil resources and other related matters. What we are doing now is the only way to this kind of agitation”.
The group noted that it was using the opportunity to let the world know that the posture of the government is what is currently fuelling the crisis.
“Moreso, the divide and rule tactic currently being applied by the government and its surrogates will not help them get the peace they need. We have long spotted their shenanigans especially as it concerns the proposed dialogue so as to avoid being fooled just like many Nigerians are already regretting being fooled by the government in regard to their flaunted campaign promises”, the Ultimate Warriors said.
Meanwhile, the people of Orogun community in Ughelli North Local Government area of Delta State have denied that any of its indigenes belonged to the Niger Delta Avengers or any other militant groups.
President General of Orogun community, Chief Josiah Ntekume, told THISDAY yesterday that a militant who claimed to hail from their community never existed in their area.
A self-styled militant leader, who identified himself simply as Ogheneghochuko, had in a video that has gone viral on social media on July 7 threatened to kill President Muhammadu Buhari, his family and Governors of the South-east region if the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOD) Nnamdi Kanu was not released by month end.
Oghenghochuko, who claimed to be from Orogun and leader of Biafra Avengers 2, also demanded for Biafra nation in the 8.55 minutes video used derogatory words again the President and threatened to unleash violence against the state and solicited for youths in the South-east to join any of his group closer to them.
But the President General of Orogun community, Chief Josiah Ntekume said since the video became viral, an investigation was conducted in the area only to reveal that there was no such person.
“The militant claim to come from Orogun having listened to the video, I condemned it in its entirety. Having examined it, it is obvious he is not from Orogun. He did not mention his surname. We have been doing internal investigations since on the 7th of July when the video came out and indications show that he is not from Orogun”, he said.
Chief Ntekume noted that Orogun, an Urhobo kingdom, is a peaceful community and that the self-acclaimed militant mentioned Biafra in the better part of his address whereas Orogun is in Ughelli North area of Delta State.
“Orogun is in Ughelli North Local Government area of Delta State. We do not belong or subscribe to Biafra ideology. We do not belong to Niger Delta Avengers. Our community should not be dragged into this nonsense. This man is just trying to drag our peace loving community into the nonsense that is going on in the Niger Delta.
“If you listen carefully to the voice, you will know that after mentioning Orogun, every other body language and things he said were geared towards the South East and because he has threatened the President, his family and governors in Biafra region, I want the whole world to understand that he is not from or part of Orogun and we condemned the action”, he said.
The President General said emphatically that there is no militant group in the community and disclosed that they were already working with the security agents to fish out the culprit.
“We will continue to work with the security agencies that if he is seen around, he will be apprehended and made to face justice. He is trying to drag Orogun into the nonsense. If he feels he is from Orogun, he should mention his father’s name and compound”, Ntekume challenged.
- This Day