By Emma Amaize & Festus Ahon
Ughelli – ARMED youths at the weekend blew up a gas pipeline at the Utorogu oil fields in Delta State with dynamites.
Some unexploited dynamites with control wires were found still planted on the parts of the pipeline by security agents, according to our findings.
The pipeline is operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) and conveys compressed gas to the Delta State Company (DSC), Ovwian-Aladja in Delta State.
It was, however, discovered that the incident has nothing to do with militants not accepting the amnesty programme of the Federal Government, but, a protest by some youths against the government and some oil companies.
Soldiers from the Joint Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta cordoned off the area, making it impossible for people to get to the vandalized spot to see the level of destruction.
Some Shell personnel who spoke to Vanguard said the restriction was for the safety of the residents of the area, adding, â€œAside the health risk whichÂ the gas emitted, preliminary investigations have revealed that unspent dynamites with control wires are still planted on the spot and it is better for the security experts to sweep the spot to clear further likely dangers before free movement could be guaranteed around the spot.â€
Vanguard gathered that a group, Ughievwen Youth Body Fighters reportedly left a banner and flyers claiming responsibility for the blowing up of the pipe to register their grievances and demands on government and the oil companies to develop the area.
In the leaflets signed by one Idi-Amin and Ogigi as leaders, the group, which also claimed responsibility for the failed attack on the Utorogun Gas Plant, early this year, said the attack was one of more to follow until they were given N150 million for relatives of their allies killed during the gas plant attack.