Militants from the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have blown up gas and crude oil pipelines belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Delta State.
Eric Omare, a Delta State governor aide and spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council, said on Friday that the assailants carried out the attack at about 11:45 p.m. local time (2245 GMT) the previous night near the city of Warri.
“Another crude pipeline was attacked Thursday night near Batan oil field in Warri,” he said.
Warri resident Augustine Amaka said the assault on the crude pipeline had caused an oil spill and polluted the surroundings.
It was the latest in a string of attacks by the NDA militants, who have demanded that foreign oil companies leave oil-rich Niger Delta before the end of the month, and say they are fighting to protect the environment and to win locals a bigger share of the profits.
On Wednesday night, members of the Niger Delta Avengers shut down Chevron’s Escravos terminal in Niger Delta. The globally-renowned oil company announced the next morning that the attack on its main electricity power line had shut down all its onshore activities.
“It is a crude line which means all activities in Chevron are grounded,” a company source said on the condition of anonymity.
“We warned Chevron but they didn’t listen. The Niger Delta Avengers just blew up the Escravos tank farm main electricity feed pipeline,” the NDA said in a post published on Twitter on Thursday.
“Be informed that if we decide to strike it [is] going to be bloody … If you continue to undermine us and go ahead with the repair works you won’t see us coming but we are coming for you,” the group’s spokesman, Murdoch Agbinibo, had said in a statement entitled “Chevron, don’t dare the Avengers” two weeks ago.
The NDA attacks have had an immediate and significant impact on Nigeria’s wealth, as they have pushed the country’s oil output to its lowest level in decades. Oil exports account for 70 percent of Nigeria’s government revenue.
Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, head of the state-run NNPC oil company, says the assaults have slashed Nigeria’s oil production from 2.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 1.4 million bpd.
Kachikwu said the Nigerian government sees negotiations, not force, as the solution to ending the attacks.
He also called for a review of an amnesty deal reached in 2009 with militant groups, who were attacking oil facilities in Niger Delta, and demanded an “urgent need to create business opportunities for the locals in the region.”
Nigeria’s main opposition party, the People’s Democratic party, has accused Kachikwu of giving the Niger Delta Avengers a 10-million-dollar bribe, and appealing to them to stop militant attacks. The allegations have not been corroborated.