SUSPECTED militants in the Niger Delta have blown up a valve platform located on the high seas near Escravos in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The platform was said to belong to the oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
This came despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to deal decisively with saboteurs of the country’s economy in the region.
The incident, occurred at about 10.40 p.m. on Wednesday, despite the surveillance being mounted over oil installations by the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the region.
A former Chevron staff described the blasted valve platform as a major onslaught on the country’s already dwindling oil production.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the platform was one of the CNL’s most significant platforms point, where all other platforms were linked up and it was a fulcrum to Chevron BOP and Chevron Tank farm.
Meanwhile, a new militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), has claimed responsibility for the attack.
NDA boasted that the recent deployment of soldiers to the creeks was an exercise in futility, as far as their nefarious activities were concerned.
The group made this known in a statement issued by its spokesman, Colonel Madoch Agbinibo and made available to the Nigerian Tribune on Thursday, in Warri, Delta State.
The group, which former Ijaw militant, Mr Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, has dissociated himself from, maintained: “This is what we promised the Nigerian government, that since it refused to listen to us, we are going to zero the economy of the country.
“As for zeroing the Nigerian economy, we, the Niger Delta avengers are done with Delta State major oil installations. Now, we are taking the fight out of the creeks to the Niger Delta. We are taking it to Abuja and Lagos.
NDA admonished oil multinationals to prevail on the Federal Government to accede to their demands or face more destructive activities, saying: “They should talk to the Federal Government to meet our demands, else more mishaps will befall their installations.”
The group, which had earlier claimed responsibility for the attack on the Forcados 48-inch Export Pipeline that was blasted two months ago, also had a word for the JTF.
“And to the military, we are the masters of the creek and it’s time for you to admit you don’t understand the terrain, thus making it impossible for the Nigeria military to stop the activities of the Niger Delta avengers,” it warned mockingly.
According to the militant group, “not until our demands are met, no repair works should be done at the blast site.
“Whoever is going there for any repair work will be doing that at his detriment.”
The group ended the statement by saying: “The high command of the NDA wants to use this medium to thank Strike Team 6 for successfully blowing up of the Chevron Valve Platform,” adding that “we are ready to protect the Niger Delta people.”
Chevron’s Public Affairs Manager, Deji Haastrup, could not be reached for reaction over the incident, as his telephone number was said to be switched off.
When contacted, the Base Information Officer (BIO) of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), Delta, N.B Lamu, said the incident was not an attack, rather a leakage observed on the platform.
Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, when later contacted, also said the incident was yet to be confirmed.
“We got a news like that this morning, but we are yet to confirm. We have asked our people in Escravos to confirm. It happened deep offshore, but we need confirmation to know what really happened,” he noted.