The Nigerian military on Sunday confirmed that multiple attacks were carried out on oil installations in the Niger Delta area.
The Commander of the Joint Task Force, JTF, Alani Okunlola, who confirmed the attacks, also threatened that community leaders would, henceforth, be held responsible for any attack on the country’s oil and gas facilities in their domains.
Militants, believed to be loyal to embattled former Niger Delta warlord, Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), attacked multiple oil facilities in protest against a court directive.
A Federal High Court in Lagos had on Thursday ordered the arrest of Tompolo for his refusal to appear for an alleged N34 billion fraud.
The ex-militant was one of the Niger Delta warlords who accepted the amnesty programme of the late Umaru Yar’Adua amnesty programme. He is being prosecuted by the anti-corruption agency, EFCC, for the alleged fraud although he has refused to appear before the commission.
On Sunday, the JTF Commander inspected the site of Friday’s pipeline explosion site at Egwa 11, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta.
Mr. Okunlola, a Major General, who led other security personnel to the explosion site, also warned that henceforth, extant laws banning the use of outboard engines with 200 horsepower and above would be enforced in the region.
´”This warning is coming as a result of the recent multiple attacks on oil facilities and platforms by suspected militants in the Niger Delta,” he said.
The JTF commander, who described the acts as economic sabotage, assured that the command would apprehend the perpetrators.
He, therefore, advised them to desist from further destruction of the nation’s oil and gas facilities.
He called on government officials and community leaders to furnished OPS and other security agencies with information that would facilitate the arrest of the perpetrators of the attacks.
He said that the acts were criminal in nature and were capable of undermining the security of the country.
“There is no way we will fold our hands and allow the criminals to get away with it.
“It is a massive sabotage and critical to national assets; we must fish out those responsible for it.
“We don’t have our men on ground in the area that is why they were able to carry out the act,’’ he said.
He assured Niger Delta residents of JTF’s determination to eliminate illegality from the region.
The Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya and the Commander, 3 Battalion, Igwe Omoke were on the team that visited the explosion site.
Others are Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed and other top ranking personnel from the Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps.