A gas pipeline in Warri Southwest Local Government Area of Delta State conveying gas from Escravos-Warri-Lagos-Abuja was last night blown up by suspected former militants of the Niger Delta.
The strategic pipeline is a property of the Nigeria Gas Company, NGC, and its destruction is believed to be a signal of resumption of hostilities in the volatile oil-rich region.
A riverside dweller in one of the Ijaw communities, who confirmed the incident, said they could not sleep throughout the night as deafening sounds of explosion and gunshots rented the air, shattering the fragile peace.
“They blew up the gas pipeline from Escravos to Warri – Lagos and Abuja at three different points. They struck at Opudebubor, Okpelama and Kpokpo area, Chanomi creek and Sahara, behind Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL.
“We do not know what is going to happen next, but there is tension since last night over the bombing and many residents are afraid that it will continue. Some are already fleeing their communities because they suspect that government would deploy security agents to hunt for those bombing the pipelines and they do not want to be caught in the ensuing crossfire”, Vanguard quoted the source as saying.
The bombing of the pipeline came on the heels of an alarm raised by ex-Niger Delta warlord, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, earlier on Thursday that some persons were planning to bomb crude oil facilities and pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta and attribute the havoc to him.
Tompolo, who has a bench warrant for his arrest issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, fingered those allegedly dissatisfied with the re-election of Governor Henry Seriake-Dickson of Bayelsa state as behind the plot and urged them to desist
“I want to admonish those that are still aggrieved as a result of the outcome of the election not to resort to destruction of national assets, especially crude oil facilities and pipelines and attribute it to me because of my position on the election”.
The former militant leader warned that destroying crude oil facilities would not do the country any good and urged Nigerians, especially the Niger Delta region, “to support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to succeed”.
When contacted Friday morning, Chairman of Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, Chief Boro Opudu, said, “I am hearing rumour about such incident but I have not confirmed what happened. I cannot, therefore, speak on the matter until I have my facts”.