YENAGOA- A new militant group, Red Egbesu Water Lions, has surfaced in the Niger Delta region, just as suspected militants, Tuesday night, blew up the Sagbama-Tuomo gas line, belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, at Egbembiri, Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State .
A security source, who confirmed the explosion, said: “Egbembiri is a border town between Bayelsa and Delta states. They destroyed the Ayama section of the Ogboinbiri-Tuomo gas pipeline with dynamites at about 9.00 pm on Tuesday. That line was earlier repaired, last week and again vandalized.”
“We, however, suspect that dispute over the surveillance contract led to the attack. The Agip pipeline links major oil facilities in Delta and Bayelsa States,” he added.
The new militant group in a statement by its Creek Network Coordinator, “General” Torunanawei Latei, said it was teaming up with the Niger Delta Avengers and Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
“It issued the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to release Nnamdi Kanu, former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki and direct EFCC to defreeze the bank accounts of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupol, alias Tompolo,
Threatening to shut down all oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta at the expiration of the ultimatum, the group also demanded “unconditional immediate payment to victims of the Bonga Oil Spill and Chevron gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa state.”
“It is extremely important to note that the engine room of the national interest is the executive obedience to court orders, protection and preservation of citizens’ constitutional liberties. Justification of executive disobedience to court orders as a protection of national interest is abominable.
“This is a deliberate ploy to bend the law and suspend the 1999 Constitution. We ask, does President Muhammadu Buhari have any legal capacity to declare anyone as a criminal? Disobedience to court orders is an act of executive rascality in the country,” the group added.
Equip citizens to fight militants- Oboko
In a related development, foremost Niger Delta Activist and President, FNDIC, Dr. Bello Oboko Wednesday, called on the federal government and Joint Task Force to desist from bombarding Gbaramatu kingdom, but empower the citizens to secure their territories from militants.
Oboko, in an electronic mail to Vanguard, said: A land where crime is allowed but crime control is not allowed may be committing aiding and abetting. Aiding and abetting used to be a crime in Nigeria for which Gen. Bissala was executed over Dimka coup.”
“Remember destruction of Afghanistan and Osama Bin laden, Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and Lybia and Gaddafi. Also, remember Odi and Ken, Ayakoromo and John Togo. When foul is fair and fair is foul, we have our fears! You cannot eat your cake and have it!
“Devil is setting up communities for destruction with sinking criminals. We pray for mercy of the Lord in the land! Why selective vandalisation of Chevron oil and gas installations while sparing SPDC and other oil companies?
“Records show that during the recent Warri crisis, one fundamental reason offered by Ijaw people for vandalising only Chevron oil and gas installations was that Chevron aided and abetted military JTF by providing helicopters, sea-trucks and other logistics to enable the military carry out bombings and destruction of Opia, Ikenya communities of Egbema with Gbaramatu Kingdom not spared,” he said.
His words: “How dare you think you are not liable when you allowed your land to be applied by the Niger Delta Avengers to be vandalising pipelines, thereby perpetuating heinous crimes against the state based on controversial reasons? Even those who have surveillance contract and on their watch, pipelines are bombed, they are liable to explain at least.”
“Come to it, the pauperised populace of Gbaramatu kingdom are vulnerable and seem not to have what it takes to prevent NDA and their sophistry from seizing Gbaramatu land to launch their war by vandalising pipelines against Nigeria nation state,” he said.
Release 5 Ijaw, Itsekiri surveillance workers – IPDI
In addition, the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, yesterday, condemned the arrest of five Ijaw and Itsekiri youths said to be contract staff of Chevron Nigeria Limited in Gbaramatu kingdom by the military Joint Task Force, JTF.
National president of the group, Austin Ozobo, who called for their immediate release, said: “Tarrest of the innocent pipeline surveillance workers is provocative, barbaric and obnoxious. I want to say that the military should stop arresting innocent youths in the area to avoid people showing sympathy with the cause of the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA.”
Ozobo lamented the growing intimidation and threat to innocent communities and law- abiding citizens of Gbaramatu kingdom by the military task force, saying, “Such actions are capable of disrupting the ongoing peace efforts.”