The Trent reported exclusively Friday morning that Niger Delta militants had blown up three major pipelines belonging to AGIP, an oil giant, in Bayelsa State. According to a local source, who spoke with our reporter, the attacks were “well co-ordinated” and appear to be the work of the Niger Delta Avengers.
A few minutes ago, the leading militant group operating in the oil-rich region of southern Nigeria, the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for the attacks which are said to mean a slash of at least 80,000 barrels per day in Nigeria’s oil production.
The pipelines were attacked at about 3.00am on Friday, July 8, 2016; one pipeline is at Goldkiri, another is close to Obama, while the third one is a pipeline supplying gas to Brass, the source disclosed.
“At about the of 3am to 5am the Niger Delta Avengers blew up Nembe 1, 2, and 3 trunk-line in Bayelsa/River States,” the militants said in a statement on its website on Friday, July 8, 2016.
The statement, which was signed by the group’s spokesperson, Brigadier General Mudoch Agbinibo also warned of fake Facebook accounts pretending to be the Avengers. “Niger Delta Avenger is not on social networks anymore,” Agbinibo said.
The militant group say it is waging a war for a free Niger Delta Republic in what it tags, Operation Red Economy, with a view of halting crude oil production in Nigeria to force the government to grant the group’s demands.
The Avengers claims it has reduced oil production in the country to less than one million barrels a day. An analyst at VOA News corroborates the militants’ claims saying that oil production has dropped below one million barrels a day due to the waves of attacks on pipelines and oil installations.
The militant group has released its rules of engagement and says that it doesn’t kill anybody or attack oil workers or soldiers. The Delta Avengers called on all other groups operating in the region to abide by these rules of engagement. “We need God now, more than ever,” the group said in a statement.
The Niger Delta Avengers has presented an 11-point demand to President Muhammadu Buhari and the first is the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference. [Download Conference report HERE.]
President Muhammadu Buhari recently rejected the Avengers’ demands saying that the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. The president’s first reaction to the Avengers was to declare war against them. He later promised to “crush them” as he did Boko Haram. That position has shifted to begging them in the ‘name of Almighty God’ to stop the attacks.
Imposter Niger Delta Avengers Facebook Pages
On Wednesday, the Avengers warned of fake Facebook accounts and pages opened in the group’s name, sharing screengrabs.
Agbinibo warned that the fake accounts were claiming responsibility for attacks on NNPC pipeline in Eleme, Rivers State. He said the group was not responsible for the attack and asked militant groups operating in the region to claim responsibility for their activities and “stop tagging” the Avengers to their deeds.
“This Facebook account/page is an impostor page that was open by a fraudster to deceive the general public.,” the statement on the group’s website said.
“We warning any group that wants to do anything should go about their activities without tagging us, Niger Delta Avengers, instead do your activities and claim responsibility.
“The NNPC pipeline in Eleme blowing that was posted by this Facebook account yesterday wasn’t carried out by Niger Delta Avengers.
“We calling all national dailies to take note. Niger delta Avengers is not out to mislead the public as a result we are closing all our social network accounts and will be using our websites to pass information to the general public,” the terse statement ended.