THE Federal Government’s proposed peace talks with militants on Sunday morning suffered a major setback as the Niger Delta Avengers blew up several oil facilities belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Chevron Nigeria Limited and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation.
Our correspondent gathered that the attacks occurred simultaneously leaving what industry sources described as major oil facilities shattered.
The incident happened between 11.30pm and 1.15am on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Affected in the renewed hostility included two major oil wells, head 7 and 8 situated near Abiteye flow station in Warri South West Council Area of Delta State.
Also damaged by the militant group are two major crude oil trunk line operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company close to the Batan flow station.
Security and community sources confirmed all incidents to our correspondent.
The Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Celestina Kalu, confirmed the attacks when contacted by our correspondent on Sunday.
According to her, “Incident report of 03/07/16 blowing up of oil wells at about 0110hrs and 0115 hrs respectively on Chevron oil wells 7 and 8 were blown up at Abiteye flow station.
“The Chevron CSO on ground at the location claimed that the twin explosions came in at about five minutes intervals. The bombed oil wells are a little distance from the Abiteye flow station. Chevron has reported a drop in pressure from the crude oil pipeline Abiteye.”
Also, the Batan Community Chairman, Ogugu Dickson, confirmed the incident, saying the attacks had led to huge oil spill in the creeks.
Dickson, who spoke with our correspondent from the community on the telephone, said that the community surveillance youths who had attempted knowing what was happening following the loud sounds that heralded the attack were shot by the militants.
The community chairman said his community youths could not challenge the militants because they did not bear weapons.
While calling on the militants to stop attacks on the oil facilities, Dickson noted that his people whose main business was fishing were now starving as the entire creeks in the area had been flooded with crude oil.
“The entire water is filled with crude oil as we speak and nobody can go out due to the attack. Our people are living in fears. Presently, nobody has been able to go for fishing due to the huge oil spill on the creek.
“The militants opened fire on our community’s surveillance youths who tried to know what was happening but thank God none was injured. The boys could not confront the militants because they were not armed,” Dickson stated.
A top security officer told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that the attack was a reprisal and might not be unconnected with the recent arrest of some members of the militant group by the operatives of the Department of State Services.
NDA confirmed the attacks in a series of tweets in their twitter handle.
The tweets read, “At 9:15p.m on Friday, the @NDAvengers blow up Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Crude Oil Trunk Line to Warri Refinery.
“At 11:26pm on Saturday @NDAvengers blow up two NPDC major crude trunk lines close to Batan flow station in Delta State.
“At 1:15am on Sunday @NDAvengers blow up two major Chevron Oil Wells. WELL 7 and WELL 8 close to Abiteye flow station in Delta State.
“All five operations were carried out by @Ndavengers strike team. Well done soldiers.”
Another senior military officer who also spoke on condition of anonymity said about five trunk lines were severely attacked.
The military source said, “We are aware of the attacks on some oil facilities in the creeks early on Sunday. The incident is under investigation. We have also informed the operators of the affected oil wells and trunk lines. It’s very unfortunate,” the source added.
Meanwhile, the umbrella body for Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council and the Urhobo Monitoring and Development Group have condemned the attacks.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Eric Omare, the IYC took a swipe at the Federal Government, saying it had failed to take any physical step towards ending the hostilities by the militants.