*Why we failed to launch missiles in N-Delta – JNDLF
*Makes 7-point demand, including defreezing Tompolo bank accounts
*Avengers blow up Agip ENI crude pipeline in Bayelsa
Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Sam Oyadongha, Egufe Yafugborhi, Perez Brisibe and Akpokona Omafuaire
THE Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, yesterday, warned that it would go after any state governor from the Niger Delta region that betrays the current struggle by militants. The militant group gave the warning on a day the Niger Delta Avengers blew up a key crude oil pipeline, belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Agip Eni, in Bayesla State making it the 16th of such attacks on pipelines since it commenced pipeline bombing on February 10.
JNDLF in a statement by the Commander, General Duties, JNDLF, General Akotebe Darikoro, and three others, also explained why the militant group did not launch six missiles in the region as earlier threatened. The group, which has agreed to engage in dialogue with the Federal Government also made a seven-point demand to forestall further attacks.
Its words: “We shall continue to engage in dialogue if our demands are met. Our representatives for the dialogue, especially the governors and others will not betray our demands with the federal government. Any betrayal on their own part shall be viewed as betrayal of the entire region and we shall go after them immediately as they know our mode of operation in which they will not escape from us.”
The group asserted: “There is no gainsaying that we made our earlier promise to launch six Missiles simultaneously against some targeted areas. But this was waved aside as a result of appeals made to us through email by the Federal Government and some international nations to open talks with (President) Buhari.” “We saw some genuine aspiration on the part of Buhari, who made several contacts to us to see reason with them over the issue of under-development of the region. And since he (Buhari) had set the ball rolling for a clear negotiation with us, there is no problem without solution. We have therefore declared ceasefire in order to negotiate with the government if it is a true reflection of what they have in mind to develop the Niger Delta region”.
The group added that: “We are not ready to negotiate with the federal government for the sake of monetary benefit to us but how genuinely the government will develop the region is at the centre of our discussion and anything less than that we will continue our struggle without further warning to the federal government.”
Conditions to forestall further attacks
The group also gave some conditions which the government must meet in order to avert resumption of struggle which include: “immediate release of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) and Dr. Nnamdi Kanu, whose release was ordered by the court severally, pointing out that “their continued detention was unconstitutional and against the tenet of our nascent democracy in the country”. JNDLF also demanded that: “the government must “direct EFCC to defreeze the bank accounts of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, (a.k.a. Tompolo). The only Nigerian Maritime University sited in the most appropriate and befitting place – Okerenkoko in Delta State, must start the 2015/2016 academic session immediately;
“The immediate implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference report, failure of which Nigeria will forcefully break-up. “ Oil-polluted lands in the Niger Delta must be cleaned up, while compensation should be paid to all oil-producing communities, e.g. Chevron fire outbreak of gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa state and Bonga Oil Spill in 2011; “Removal of Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd.) as an Amnesty Coordinator who does not understand the programmes and policies of the Amnesty and does not know us to the grassroots.
“Hence he (Boroh) should be replaced with Dr. Felix Tuodolo who has been in the struggle of non-violence since 1980 and he was the designer of the Amnesty programme. The group added: “We carry out all these attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the region because of the statement made by President Buhari that, he will develop those areas that gave him 95% votes during his presidential election last year. We, the Niger Delta people only gave him 5% hence we vowed that our oil money will not be used for the development of any other region. The President should change his mind-set towards the region, if not this will continue.”
JNDLF asserted: “We further thank the American government and other international nations through several emails for prevailing on us not to use missiles, but to come to round table discussion with the federal government. We also thank our foreign partners who have gone back with their chartered submarine vessels. However, if these demands are not met as we have embarked on cease fire now, there will be no further ultimatum to the Nigerian government,” it said.
Avengers blow up Agip ENI crude pipeline in Bayelsa
Meanwhile, while Nigeria is still bleeding over previous pipeline attacks, Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, wreaked more pains, Friday, blowing up a key crude oil pipeline, belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Agip Eni, in Bayesla State. Barely 24 hours earlier, militants, bombed a crude pipeline belonging to NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, around Ogidigben, Warri South-West local government area of Delta state. The unrepentant militants have noticeably spurned the two-week ceasefire by the Federal Government and also turned away from dialogue,
Avengers did not claim responsibility for the Thursday evening attack, initially thought to be an SPDC facility around Ogidigben, Warri South West local government area, Delta state, but in a tweet on its twitter handle, it said: “3.00 am of Friday @NDAvengers blow up the Obi Obi Brass Trunk line belonging to Agip ENI. It is Agip’s major crude oil line in Bayelsa state.” Joyful about the country’s calamity occasioned by its crushing strikes, the group in another tweet said: “It is good as foreign refineries stop buying Nigeria oil because the Nigeria state has been robbing the Niger Delta of her oil and gas. We will inform the international community when we are open for business,” NDA added.
On June 2 at about 2:00am, the group blew up the Ogboinbiri to Tebidaba and Clough Creek to Tebidaba crude oil pipelines in Bayelsa State and at about 3:00 am, blasted the SPDC Forcados 48″ Export line, saying, “We warned SPDC not to go ahead with repair works but they refused.”
Gbaramatu communities deplore fresh attacks
Reacting to the latest pipeline attack riverside communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, yesterday, condemned the bombings of crude lines in Bayelsa and Delta States respectively by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). Spokesperson of the communities and chairman of Kokodiagbene community, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, said: ‘’Our position is that the continued bombings of the region in view of the ceasefire arrangement is highly condemnable. They are technically crippling the economy to enable them get what they want. Therefore, they should not personalize their Niger Delta demands.
“Some of the things they highlighted are what the Niger Delta people are agitating for and violence is not best way to get those things done. We think they are only taking advantage of government’s failure to address these fundamental issues. ‘’We want to draw the attention of these militants to the fact they are destroying our environment which is the only thing that we have. The massive spills these bombings have triggered have devastated the environment and to remediate the environment would take decades to do. So, their acts are roundly condemned,” he said.
In spite of the provocation, Mulade appealed to the federal government to be patient and adopt a more robust intelligence gathering mechanism to fish out the perpetrators whom he described as criminal elements masquerading as Niger Delta agitators. The communities urged the military high command to look inward because they were moles in its ranks and files, who work hands in gloves with the masterminds of the heinous crimes.
Cease bombing or lose support —Onokpasa
In addition, APC chieftain in Delta state, Jesutega Onokpasa, has called on the Niger Delta Avengers to stop bombing pipelines or lose the support of Niger Deltans, He said: “Niger Deltan Avengers and other groups targeting oil and gas facilities should embrace the olive branch extended to them in form of the ceasefire declared by the Federal Government. The Avengers and similar groups must now demonstrate their love for the region by embracing dialogue. Recalcitrance and further destruction of our oil and gas infrastruc
ture on their part will only cast them in the light of vandals and not the freedom fighters they claim to be. The danger in such conduct will have the effect of further alienating the Niger Delta people from them which will prove to be quite ironic since they claim to be fighting our collective cause,” he said.
Onokposa urges Tompolo to intervene
Onokposa added: “I equally call on Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, wherever he might be to now demonstrate that he can be a part of the solution and not the problem. He has done it before during the Yar’Adua era when he was the last man standing and keyed into the Amnesty Program. “He should strive to do it again and be assured that his intervention will not be construed by reasonable men as indicative of the fact that he masterminded the attacks in the first place. Many people already know that disenchanted former militants, who have returned to armed struggle due to hunger and frustration occasioned by the dynamics of our recent political experience, orchestrated the attacks.
“I therefore urge Tompolo to be part of the solution and to take my advice in good faith in spite of the differences we might have had in the past. At the end of the day, Buhari’s government is the one we have and it needs money to function for our own good. If it cannot function, we will all be the losers if the country collapses on our heads.”
Group faults Buhari
However, Secretary, Gbaramatu Political Forum, Comrade Isaiah Ogah, blamed the recent upsurge in militancy in the region on President Muhammadu Buhari’s desperation to rubbish former President Goodluck Jonathan. Ogah said: “Buhari demonstrated hatred for the people of Niger Delta, particularly the Ijaws by cancelling the Maritime University at Okerenkoko and proposing six new universities. “I sincerely appeal to the Niger Avengers to please embrace dialogue for the sake of the innocent Nigerian people.
“We are waiting also for the military to apologize to the people of Gbaramatu kingdom for the unwarranted harassment and inhuman treatment of criminalizing us in the wake of the attacks,” he asserted. Ogah further called on the Delta gtate governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, to visit Gbaramatu to assuage the pains suffered by the king and victims of military harassment.
Bid to bomb Tuomo gas pipeline thwarted
In a related development, security operatives, have foiled an attempt by suspected militants to blow up the Tuomo gas pipeline in Bayelsa state after blasting the Agip crude oil pipeline in the early hours of Friday (June 10). A source said security agents pursued the leader of the gang, one VIP, suspected to be from Azagbene community in Ekeremor local government and four others, but they escaped into the mangrove swamp.
NDA attack timeline
(Not less than 16 attacks between February 10 and June 9)
* February 10, 2016: At about 1:30 am, the group attacked the Bonny Soku Gas Export Line. The line conveys natural gas to the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas plant and an independent power plant at Gbaran in the Niger Delta.
* February 14: It attacked an SPDC giant underwater Forcados 48-inch Export Pipeline at the Forcados Export Terminal.
* February 19: At about 3:30 a.m, blew up the Clough Creek Tebidaba Agip Pipeline Manifold in Bayelsa State.
* May 4: Attacked the Chevron Valve Platform located at Abiteye. This platform is reportedly the most significant platform for Chevron as it serves as the main connecting point where all other platforms link up and it is a fulcrum to Chevron BOP and the Chevron Tank Farm.
* May 5: Launched a coordinated attack on the Chevorn Well D25 in Abiteye and blew up major pipelines. *May 13: Bombed a Chevron pipeline at two separate spots near a military location
* May 20: It attacked the Escravos Gas Pipeline, a facility of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Delta State.
*May 25: NDA Struck Chevron main electricity feed pipeline to the Escravos Tank Farm at Ciera creek in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
* May 27: Destroyed the Nembe 1, 2 and 3 Brass to Bonny trunk lines belonging to Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC and Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC in Bayelsa State at about 2.15am on Saturday
*May 27: Blew up NNPC Gas and Crude trunk lines in Warri at 11.45 pm
*May 31: Blew up Chevron Oil Well RMP 23 and RMP 24 believed to the company’s highest swamp producing oil wells at about 3:44 am
*June 1: It carried out twin -attack on Well RMP 23 and RMP 24 owned by Chevron Nigeria Limited. Both wells are located at Dibi in Warri South West local government area of Delta State.
*June 2: About 2.00 am, it also bombed the Ogboinbiri to Tebidaba and Clough Creek to Tebidaba Crude oil pipelines in Bayelsa State.
*June 3: At about 3:00 am, it blew up the SPDC Forcados 48″ Export line in Delta State because the company went ahead with repair works against its warning
*June 3: At about 3:30am, strike team blew up Brass to Tebidaba Crude oil line in Bayelsa state.
*June 9: At 3:am of Friday, NDA blew up the Obi Obi Brass Trunk line belonging to Agip ENI. It is Agip’s Major Crude oil Line in Bayelsa State