FIFTEEN days after the rampaging Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) issued a two-week ultimatum to owners and operators of oil blocs in the Niger Delta to quit, the new militant group, on Thursday, blew up the main gas pipeline of Chevron Nigeria Ltd, which provides electricity to the Escravos tank farm in Delta State.
Sources, who could not give the exact location of the spot, said the pipeline, which was blown up at the wee hours of Thursday, lie under the Escravos river, not visible to security personnel.
The implication of the damaged pipeline is that onshore activities of Chevron in the region had been brought to a halt.
The group, claiming responsibility on its Twitter handle, @NDAvengers, on Thursday, said the attack was because the company continued with the repair works on the valve platform it blew up recently.
A source told the Nigerian Tribune that the reason given by NDA smacked some understanding of nexus between individuals or companies who get contract to fix damaged oil facilities and members of the militant group.
General Manager of CNL on Policies, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, in a text message to journalists in Warri, said the attack was yet to be confirmed.
Sources, including a civil rights leader and a Niger Delta resident, Eric Omare, however, confirmed the attack.
Omare, who is spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) said the attack was real.
Another rights activist, Austin Ozobo of Ijaw stock, also confirmed there had been an explosion. He said he heard a loud blast at the Abiteye to Escravos crude pipeline midnight of Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS DELTA), Warri, has deployed more of its men to join their colleagues in the creeks, to ascertain the veracity of the claim.
Commander of the base, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, through one of his aides, said through telephone on Thursday afternoon that additional troops had been swiftly detailed to locate the blast and do the needful.
He condemned the attacks saying if not quickly checked, might further dip the already low oil production due to previous attacks.