By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, Dapo Akinrefon, Egufe Yafugborhi, Perez Brisibe & Godwin Oghre
LAGOS — Ghanaian President, John Mahama, has blamed intermittent power cuts in his country on delays in delivery of crude oil from Nigeria to power thermal plants due to the activities of Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, which had been blowing up oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta.
Mahama’s lamentation came as the NDA, yesterday, blew up three Chevron Nigeria Limited manifolds at Diogbolo, near Dibi, Warri Local Government Area of Delta State, using controlled explosive devices.
President Mahama, who spoke during an Eid-el-fitr speech at a ceremony, said Ghana had been experiencing a massive shortfall in electricity production in recent times, causing individuals and companies to complain.
He noted that with the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, particularly the activities of Niger Delta Avengers, which had led to blowing up of oil facilities and causing disruptions in oil production, Nigeria’s oil production had been destabilised.
According to Mahama, this is the reason Ghana’s electricity supply has taken a dip.
“We have recently suffered some generational problems. I held a stakeholders’ meeting with all those involved in the power sector. Because of sabotage in Nigeria on the terminals, crude oil that we ordered last month has not arrived; and so, it has created some generational problem for us,” said Mahama.
He, however, assured Ghanaians that things would be normalised soon, saying: “We are taking steps every day to ensure that Ghana has security when it comes to power.”
Militants now use controlled explosion devices
Meanwhile, NDA has upgraded its activities and unsettled security operatives, as it now blows up oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta with controlled explosion devices.
The militant group used the controlled explosion method on Wednesday night when it blew up three Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, manifolds at Diogbolo, near Dibi in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State, without the knowledge of soldiers at the military locations nearby.
President Muhammadu Buhari raised the alarm recently that Niger Delta militants had become more sophisticated than Boko Haram, saying the technology being deployed by the militants to destroy oil installations wa6+s high tech.
“The way they can go on high sea and international waters and target oil installations is a national problem. It is affecting development,” President Buhari had said.
NDA blows up 3 Chevron manifolds
On Wednesday night’s attack, the NDA in a statement by its spokesperson, self-styled Brig-Gen Mudoch Agbinibo, said: “Between the hours of 10:50pm and 11:10 pm, our strike team blew up Chevron manifolds.”
While wishing Muslims a happy Eid Mubarak celebration, the group added: “The manifolds are RMP 22, 23 and 24.”
Avengers denies Rivers’ attack
The militant group, however, denied attack on the NNPC pipeline in Eleme, Rivers State, posted on a Niger Delta Avengers Facebook account, which it described as fake.
Warning the public that it was shutting down all its social media accounts, the group said: “Niger Delta Avengers is not out to mislead the public. As a result, we are closing our entire social network accounts and will be using our websites to pass information to the public.
“This Facebook account/page is an impostor page that was opened by fraudsters to deceive the general public. We are warning any group that wants to do anything to go about their activities without tagging us (Niger Delta Avengers). Instead, do your activities and claim responsibility.”
Itsekiri groups, activist blame FG for worsening crisis
The latest attack came as two Itsekiri groups, Niger Delta Movement for Socio Economy Inclusion, NDMSEI and Itsekiri Movement for Peace and Justice, IMPJ, criticized the Federal Government for allegedly not taming the group and allowing it to threaten the peace in Warri.
However, former chairman of the Delta Waterways and Security Committee, DWSC, Warri, Delta State, Chief Ayiri Emami, alleged, yesterday, that there was a calculated plot by Niger Delta Avengers to chase Chevron out of Delta State and urged the Federal Government to rise to its responsibility.
NDMSEI, in a joint statement by its president and secretary, Oki Ajogun and Inama Ejukokoh, said the actions and inactions of government brought the nation to where it was now, adding that people were feeding fat on the crisis.
“We have the names of some of the army generals, who are not from the Niger Delta but are chairmen of past pipeline surveillance companies in Niger Delta, as part of their reward for the bombing of flow stations, pipeline and killing of people in the last Warri crisis that snowballed into the Niger Delta crisis of today,” the group said.
It said an official that was a one-time bunkering kingpin and his group had a grand design to shut down all oil companies in the region to decriminalize their operation.
The group added: “We are set to reveal their latest agenda. Their plan is for all oil companies in the Niger Delta to shut down so that they can make bunkering legal.
“They are doing this to accumulate money to sustain militancy for the next four years, as it was in the north during Jonathan’s administration. It is also to fortify them for the 2019 general elections.
“We have detailed information that they are waiting for their order of arms and ammunition to launch full attack on the Nigerian Navy and Customs.
“This will enable them bring in foreign vessels as they were doing in the last Warri /Niger Delta crisis where the boys now doing the bombing will be doing the local creek and river bunkering.
“In conclusion, we want the Federal Government not to acknowledge their demand and promise of ceasefire because they are using that as a ploy to buy time, awaiting their weapons.
Equip navy, army for battle ahead
“Also, the Federal Government must fortify all the naval war ships to enable them ward off and defeat them when they start bombing flow stations in the offshore.
“Thirdly, the military needs more of prepared fast speedboats, not warships, to patrol the rivers and creeks.
“Lastly, the Federal Government should do more consultations with other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta that do not believe in burning of houses, killing of their neighbours, bombing and destruction of government and multinational facilities.
“We are ready to play the role of civilian JTF using the local communities’ boys because they are the ones that know how to manoeuvre all the creeks, even though we believe that the federal and state governments owe the people of the region massive infrastructure and human capital development.”
FG inciting another crisis in Warri —IMPJ
Speaking in a similar vein, Coordinator of Itsekiri Movement for Peace and Justice, Amaechi Omagbitse Ogbonna, said in Warri that the Federal Government’s indecision in dealing with the crisis was propelling another ethnic crisis in Warri South-West locality of Delta State.
Amaechi said: “The Federal Government’s continued dilly-dally in dealing with the overt criminality by the Ijaw, particularly in Warri South West, is sheer provocation of Itsekiri people.
“The environment of Warri South West council area is being degraded by the criminal destruction of its vast oil assets that belong to Itsekiri. Burutu is the only Ijaw locality producing oil in Delta State. There is no place called Gbaramatu clan or kingdom. It is simply an Ijaw settlement owned by Omadino and Ugborodo.
“There is a judgment to that effect. If Ijaws want to fight the Federal Government, they should go and bomb Burutu or go to Bayelsa.”
Blaming the current crisis on the patronizing romance of former President Goodluck Jonathan with ex-militants, who gained prominence with the introduction of the Federal Government’s amnesty programme, Amaechi suggested that the current administration must not make the mistakes of yester-years.
He said: “It was Ekpoko, who said in 2014 that empowering a militant to import war boats and arms will lead to a day that same militant will bring 20 weapons to Federal Government and keep to himself.
“Ekpoko’s prediction is the reality we are facing today and the Federal Government must ensure Itsekiri do not bear the brunt of their failure to act decisively.
“As far as I am concerned, Avengers are a product of Tompolo. Who imported arms into the Niger Delta for the six years of President Jonathan? Was it an Urhobo man, an Itsekiri or Ndokwa man?
“An Ijaw man brought in the arms through NIMASA. What concerns NIMASA with arms importation? If Tompolo knows he is not part of Avengers, let him come to prove his case.”
Why Avengers‘re difficult to catch —Security official
A top security officer, who spoke to Vanguard on Wednesday’s triple blasts, said: “Have you asked the question why these hoodlums successfully attack oil installations close to military houseboats without being caught?
“This is because these devices are planted in strategic areas they choose to attack, and they detonate them at will long after they had left the scene of the incident.
“These devices are reactive substances that contain explosive energies, which produce an explosion when released and this is usually