Niger Delta Avengers claims attack on NNPC pipeline
The Niger Delta Avengers on Thursday said its members blew a pipeline owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a claim that has been disputed by the police.
“At 4:00am (0300 GMT) @NDAvengers blow up NNPC Pipeline in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom,” the Niger Delta Avengers wrote on Twitter.
At 4:00am @NDAvengers blow up NNPC Pipeline in Oruk Anam Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom.
— Niger Delta Avengers (@NDAvengers) June 16, 2016
The group has previously attacked pipelines and facilities operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as local subsidiaries of Shell, Chevron and Eni.
Most of the attacks have been in the southern states of Delta and Bayelsa. Akwa Ibom borders the oil-producing hub of Rivers State.
Akwa Ibom police commissioner Murtala Mani told reporters in the state capital, Uyo, that the explosion was caused by a gas leak and engineers were working to repair the damage.
The Niger Delta Avengers this week indicated they would be willing to enter talks with the government on an end to the attacks, on condition that independent foreign mediators were involved.
A spate of attacks since February has slashed oil production in Nigeria to some 1.6 million barrels per day, well down from a budgeted 2.2 million bpd.
That has aggravated economic troubles for Nigeria, which relies on oil sales for most of its government revenue and has been hit by the global slump in crude prices for nearly two years.
The Avengers have issued a series of demands similar to militants who roamed the creeks and swamps of the oil-rich but impoverished delta region in the 2000s.
But they have also called for self-determination for the delta and sought to ally themselves with separatists in the southeast calling for an independent homeland for the ethnic Igbo people.