Reports from Bayelsa Tuesday evening said that armed militants operating in the Niger Delta had again blown up a gas pipeline operated by Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) at Ogbembiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
A security source, who confirmed the explosion, said Egbembiri is a border town between Bayelsa and Delta States and that the pipeline is a major gas pipeline in the country, reportedly crosses Tumor community in Bomadi, Delta State, Ogbuasiri in Ekeremor Local Government Area and Ogbembiri in Southern Ijaw, both in Bayelsa State.
Gunmen reportedly stormed the community at about 9 pm on Sunday, traced the pipeline and ruptured it at the same point where it had been repaired after the last attack. The source explained:
“They destroyed the Ayama section of the Ogboinbiri-Tuomo gas pipeline with dynamites at about 9.00 pm on Tuesday. That line was earlier repaired, last week and again vandalized.”
This latest attack makes it the umpteenth time oil and gas facilities belonging to the Italian oil giant would be breached in the state this year alone. Suspected militants also recently attacked a pipeline carrying crude oil located at Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, resulting in an oil spill in the environment.
While some sources said dynamites were used to blow up the pipeline, others said the gunmen deployed other mechanical devices to rupture the line along the axis.
The source however, said it is suspected that the dispute over the surveillance contract led to the attack.
“We, however, suspect that dispute over the surveillance contract led to the attack. Agip awarded the contract for security surveillance and repairs of the pipeline in the event of a breach to a contractor from the community.
“So the contractor enjoys the dual contract of protecting the pipeline and also repairing it whenever there is a leakage.”