Confusion Clouds New Niger Delta Hostilities

  • 08,Jan 2019 02:19 AM
  • By Iwedi Ojinmah

Suspected militants may have renewed hostilities against oil companies operating in the Niger Delta.

For example, a group yesterday claimed it was behind the attack on an oil pipeline at Koluama community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

The Friday explosion reportedly damaged the pipeline belonging to Conoil.

The group, Koluama Seven Brothers, in statement by one Angel Michael, described the attack as a warning, saying: "Our early morning hours' strike of 12:20 a.m., January 4, 2018, at Angel II field of Conoil is just a warning to Conoil, King Solomon, and his cartel. If Conoil and King Solomon fail to address the issues behind the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), scholarships, job creation for peace and love of the Koluama clan, then we (will have) no other option (but) launch a strike to shut down Conoil."

The spokesman of the Bayelsa command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Mr. J. N. Harcourt, said he was yet to receive full details from the officer in charge of Koluama due to poor network signals. Secretary-General of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Alfred Kemepado, however, condemned the attack. He said the destruction of oil facilities worsen environmental conditions for people of the area, urging the group to shun violence in its agitation for a better Niger Delta.

He nevertheless said he was of the "opinion that the Federal Government and her allies should be held responsible for the unending reactions from the region.

I had expected sincere attention to be given to people of the region by the President Buhari administration. Instead, even the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that used to work a bit has been totally politicised under this administration."

He said further: "The Federal Government and multinational companies operating within the region must come up with sustainable policies to deliberately employ more of our indigenous people at all levels of employment and also qualify them for such jobs."

But Reuwell Oil and Gas Surveillance Company, a security firm overseeing Conoil rigging activities in Koluama, contradicted the group's claim, saying it was a hoax existing in the imagination of youths masquerading as militants.
It said the declaration was aimed at creating panic and arm-twisting the oil company.

Signed by its chairman, Clifford Wilson, the firm added: "As a surveillance security company, we are fully on the ground and working with military personnel of Operation Delta Safe (ODS) and Nigeria Security and Defence Civil Corp (NSCDC) patrolling every nooks and crannies of Conoil activities.

"We urge the misguided youths to shun the idea of attacking any facilities in the area as they will be resisted with brutal force. We urge the peace loving people of Koluama to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement of person or persons that may want to cause violence of any sort on any oil facility in the area."

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