Perturbed by the incessant attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta Region, the Delta State governor Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa has pleaded with the Niger Delta Avengers, a new militant group whose activities has attracted the Mohammadu Buhari-led federal government to the region to sheath their sword.
Okowa gave the plea at the end of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state congress in Asaba, “I want to plead with us that in our various communities, we should appeal to our brothers and sisters who are still attacking oil facilities. It isn’t good because the oil prices are down and it is a double challenge for us. I plead with us to please talk with our brothers, our various sons and daughters in the communities that there is a need to embrace peace, to be patient with us as a state and even with the federal government because we need the cooperation of all for us to have a success story”.
Okowa who has not ceased crying more than the bereaved over the continued dwindling allocation occasioned by the fall in oil price, said, “I know that the issues are tough, the economy bad nationally, we are mindful that the oil prices are down and there is a huge challenge for us and also a huge challenge for Delta State”, he cried.
Meanwhile, despite the various calls from the federal and state governments and eminent Nigerians on the militants to drop their warring weapons, the unrepentant militant group, the Niger Delta Avenger has warned Chevron Nigeria Limited to be prepared for dire consequences should it commence repairs on the destroyed Okan Valve Platform in Escravos, near Warri axis of the state.
The group, which had claimed responsibility for the recent devastating attacks on strategic oil facilities in the state, threatened to carry out a more deadly action despite the heavy military presence in the Niger Delta creeks if Chevron goes ahead with its planned repair works.
It claimed that Chevron was planning to commence repairs on its destroyed offshore facilities despite earlier warning not to do so until the group’s demands were met.
Industry sources said that the American oil giant, Chevron has being losing approximately 35,000 barrels per day, bpd, of net crude oil production in Nigeria since the devastating attack which cut off supply to its Abiteye, Alero, Dibi, Otunana and Makaraba flow stations even as the gas pipeline attacked by the militant feed a major Chevron’s tank farm in the state.
Both Chevron and NNPC’s facilities were heavily attack last Wednesday and Thursday after its earlier strike on a 48-inch pipeline at Forcados belonging to Shell in Burutu Council area of the state.
The Chevron and NNPC facilities were attacked by the group after the expiration of a three days ultimatum to Ex-MEND warlord, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) whom the group earlier accused of interfering with its activities and demanded an apology from.
NDA had attributed the recent twin attacks to the failure of Tompolo to apologize after they warned of taking the ‘war’ to cripple Nigeria crude oil economy to his backyard ostensibly because he gave the multinationals assurances to commence repair work on their destroyed facilities in an advertorial he (Tompolo) placed distancing himself from the group.
In a statement entitled: “Chevron, don’t Dare the Avengers”, the militant group threatened that if Chevron continues to undermine them; they would not only destroy the company’s pipelines but would take the ‘fight’ to Chevron’s Lekki headquarters.
The group however warned contracting firms carrying out repairs works for Chevron to be cautioned of the looming crisis so that their staff are not caught in the firing line.
The statement by the NDA spokesman, ‘Colonel’ Mudoch Agbinibo, read in part; “From our investigation Chevron Plc is about to carry out repair works at the Valve platform that was blown by us (Niger Delta Avengers). We made it clear that no repair works should be done until our demands are fully met.
“Chevron have been operating in the Niger Delta region for over 40 years and no day has their terminals gone without electricity. While the host communities and villages have no basic amenities (Portable Drinking Water, Schools, Hospitals, Roads, Electricity). They have pact with the federal government to undermine the people of the region leaving it to rot.
“When we blew the Chevron Valve Platform it resulted to total blackout in the Escravos Tank farm for more than three hours. If we (Niger Delta Avengers) can do it just know that we are capable of bringing down your tank farm if you continue with repair works on the blown valve platform.
“Chevron and Nigeria Government are pushing us to do against our belief. Despite making it clear we are not after innocent human lives but as its going we might cause human casualties if they don’t listen to us.
“Be informed that if we decides to strike it going to be bloody. And the contracting firm going to do the repair works we want you to know that your facilities and staff will be our first casualties.
“Our warning to Chevron is that despite the heavy presence of Military in the creeks, it will not stop us from carrying out our operations. We are ready to destroy more pipelines, we won’t only destroy pipelines, but will bring the fight to your tank farm and your Headquarters in Lekki, Lagos. If you continue to undermine us and go ahead with the repair works you won’t see us coming but we are coming for you.”