Suspected Niger Delta militants have again bombed a state-run oil pipeline at Batan, a community close to the southern port city of Warri, the second attack within a week.
According to the chairman of the community, Dickson Ogugu, the pipeline which was undergoing repair after previous attacks “was billed for commissioning either today or tomorrow,” before the latest attack.
Ogugu narrated to newsmen that four of the surveillance guards that were deployed to protect the Trans-Forcados export line narrowly escaped death after the militants opened fire on them.
He said: “The hoodlums after chasing them from the spot came down from their speedboat, (and) planted dynamite on swamp boogie, barge, crane and on the line.
“Unfortunately, only the dynamite on the barge exploded and immediately sank into the water.
“As I speak to you, the military are at the scene of the incident trying to dismantle the other dynamites,” he added.
Also, an army officer, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the incident.
“We heard the shots in the middle of the night, but as you know, we do not patrol the area at night, so there was nothing we could do,” he said.
Last week, the same pipeline was bombed just hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with stakeholders in the Niger delta to discuss how to end the militancy situation in the region.
The pipeline is being run by the state-owned Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, receiving crude from the Batan flow station and feeding the Forcados export terminal.
There had been several attacks by different militant groups on the line since the beginning of the year, leading to a drastic reduction in the nation’s crude oil output and its attendant loss of revenue.
The militants say they are angry over the seeming marginalization of the Niger-Delta region despite the fact that the bulk of the Nation’s revenue comes from there.
President Buhari’s administration has begun peace talks with stakeholders in the region with a view to bringing the crisis to an end.