Akwa Ibom state police command has refuted claims by the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, that it exploded gas pipelines in Ikot Osutek in Oruk-Anam local government area of the state yesterday.
State Police Commissioner, CP Murtala Mani, told newsmen in Uyo yesterday that the rumoured explosion was an accident caused by leakage in the gas pipelines sited in the area.
The CP explained that the explosion was caused by a technical problem and that Engineers from Port Harcourt were working to rectify the leakage, assuring that the state was safe from the activities of the militant group.
Nigeria Pilot reports that the gas pipelines are owned by the Seven Energy Company, the operator of Ibom Gas Power Plant in Uquo in Esit-Eket local government area of the state.
The community, Ikot Osutek, where the leakage of the gas pipelines is identified, is along Ikot Abasi-Ogoni-Port Harcourt axis of the East West Road in Akwa Ibom.
The militant group had claimed that it has blown up a Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipeline in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State.
The group, via its Twitter account on Thursday morning said, “At 4:00am @NDAvengers blow up NNPC Pipeline in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom.”
After snubbing an invitation to dialogue with the Nigerian government, the Niger Delta Avengers militant group on Monday, made a U-turn and stated a number of conditions that it expects the Nigerian Government to meet before it would engage in any form of dialogue.
The group, through its spokesperson, wants the home countries of international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to be involved in the peace process with independent foreign mediators.
It also says the sincerity of the Nigerian government is paramount and would be a major factor that would determine if its call for dialogue would be successful or not.
The group has also warned the government, oil companies and their service firms, not to carry out repair works and suspend the buying of crude oil from the Niger Delta region, pending the creation of “the right atmosphere that will engender genuine dialogue”.
Nigeria’s oil output has fallen to a 20-year low due to a series of attacks on oil pipelines in the southern Niger Delta, home to much of the country’s oil and gas wealth, in the last few months.
Residents of the state have expressed worry by the rumour even as the NDA had vandalised 23 gas pipelines since Feb. 14 when it started attack.