There is anxiety in the Niger Delta and Federal Capital Territory as the two-week ultimatum given to owners of oil blocs in the region by Niger Delta Avengers to evacuate their staff and shut down operations ends today, while secret talks with the militant group have run into a hitch.
The militant group in a statement by its spokesperson, Col Murdoch Agbinibo on May 12, gave the former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and other declared oil bloc owners two weeks to shut down operations or have themselves to blame.
Meanwhile, earlier today, the Avengers destroyed the pipeline support supplying electricity for the Escravos tank farm in Delta state owned by Chevron.
The group had asked the oil firm not to fix a major crude pipeline blown early in May by the group.
Eric Omare, spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council, said to Reuters this morning: “The attack truly happened.”
A resident, Yebo Austin, also confirmed an explosion.
“We heard a loud blast at the Abiteye to Escravos crude pipeline which was blown up last night by yet-to-be identified militant group,” he said.
The Avengers say they are fighting for a greater share of oil profits, an end to pollution and independence in and for the region.
They have given an ultimatum to oil firms to leave the Delta before the end of May.
Tensions have heightened since President Muhammadu Buhari reduced funding for the amnesty programme and cancelled contracts held with former militants to protect pipelines they used to attack.