By Emma Amazie, Jimitota Onoyume & Godwin Oghre
Niger Delta Avengers have allegedly blown up a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, gas pipeline in Nsite Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. The claim has not been independently confirmed, but spokesperson of the militant group, self-styled Brig-Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo, in a statement, challenged NNPC to “check their pipeline for ‘system anomaly’.”
The statement read: “At 11:30p.m., on Sunday, the NDA blew up NNPC’s gas pipeline at Nsit-Ibom Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State. NNPC should check their pipeline for “system anomaly.” Meanwhile, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has reiterated his appeal to the Avengers to see reason for dialogue with the Federal Government.
Fielding questions from newsmen, yesterday, shortly after commissioning the newly built administrative complex of the 2 Brigade Headquarters, an Olympic size swimming pool, Garrison Quater-guard and residence of the Regimental Sergeant Major in the 2 Brigade barracks, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the COAS said that the Army will continue to encourage the option of dialogue for peace in the region.
The Army boss, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Major-General Attahiru Ibrahim, commended the former Brigade Commander of the barracks, Brigadier-General Stephenson Olabanji, for the projects commissioned, promising that provision will be made for periodic maintenance of the administrative complex.
Meanwhile, though the Niger Delta Avengers have denied holding talks with the Federal Government, the government has insisted that it was in peace talks with the major militants in the Niger Delta region.
Officials at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said yesterday that, “government is in peace talks with the major militants in the Niger Delta region. As such, those who often claimed not to be on the negotiation table with the Federal Government are neither aggrieved nor were they invited.”
Avengers had denied that they were in talks with the Federal Government a day after President Muhammadu Buhari announced that his government was holding talks with the militants in the Niger delta region.