Hostilities have continued within the Niger Delta with a major NPDC oil pipeline been blown up by suspected militants. Though no group has, as at press time, claimed responsibility for the explosion at the oil field operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, in Delta State, the sabotage is coming barely a day after President Muhammadu Buhari met with stakeholders of the Niger Delta to resolve the crisis in the region.
The Joint Military Task Force, JTF, deployed to the Niger Delta confirmed Wednesday’s explosion.
Olaolu Daudu, spokesman of the JTF, code-named “Operation Delta Safe’’ said investigations had commenced.
He said troops deployed to the area heard an explosion at the Bantan Flow Station run by NPDC, a subsidiary of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
“Troops of Operation Delta Safe located at Sector 1, in Delta while on routine patrol heard an explosive sound caused by suspected economic saboteurs at Bantan Flow Station around Ekweregbene, Bantan general area.
“The incident is however, being investigated and details will be made available as events unfold.
“Also, troops of Forward Operation Base, deployed at Bonny in Rivers, while on anti – crude oil theft/ illegal bunkering patrol, discovered two illegal refinery sites along Ogbunku Creek,” he said.
He reiterated that troops recovered three 40 horse power outboard engines and three pumping machines. Wednesday’s explosion may further affect Nigeria’s dwindling foreign earnings which have been blamed for the country’s current recession. Sabotage of oil and gas facilities led to an almost 50 per cent reduction of Nigeria’s crude exports and also worsened the electricity situation as gas powered plants could not receive gas.
The stakeholders of the Niger Delta in their meeting with the President presented some demands which include rapid development of the region and inclusion of people from the region in ownership of oil blocs.