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Niger Delta Militants blow up pipelines over Tompolo



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…Count me out says ex-MEND leader


Ex-militants loyal to the founder of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, Thursday night reportedly declared an end to the cessation of hostilities in the region by allegedly blowing up a gas pipeline in Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State conveying gas from Escravos–Warri-Lagos-Abuja, property of the Nigeria Gas Company.

The former militants had repeatedly warned that they may return to the trenches should the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) insist on bringing Tompolo to trial over alleged involvement in a N13billion deal with the Nigeria Maritime Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the blown pipeline, analysts and key watchers of development in the region disclosed that the perpetrators are sympathisers of Tompolo against whom a bench warrant was issued on Thursday.

‎Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court on Thursday issued the warrant after Tompolo failed to turn up to answer charges levied against him by the EFCC despite summons pasted at his residence in Warri by bailiffs.

The coincidence of the court order and the destruction of a major pipeline may have however triggered a chain of activities likely to further compromise the relative peace in the Niger Delta as well as affect projected income from oil at the Federal level, including the 2016 budget.

An eye witness who spoke on phone from one of the Ijaw communities, said, “We slept with our eyes open throughout the night as bombs boomed everywhere, the attackers were exploding bombs and shooting guns indiscriminately.”

His words, “They blew up the gas pipeline from Escravos to Warri – Lagos and Abuja at three different points. They struck at Opudebubor, Okpelama and Kpokpo area, Chanomi creek and Sahara, behind Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL.”

“We do not know what is going to happen next, but there is tension since last night over the bombing and many residents are afraid that it will continue. Some are already fleeing their communities because they suspect that government would deploy security agents to hunt for those bombing the pipelines and they do not want to be caught in the ensuing crossfire.”

But Tompolo says he has no hand in the vandalism that took place late Thursday night and raised the alarm that some persons were planning to bomb crude oil facilities and pipelines and other facilities in the Niger Delta and attribute the havoc to him.

He cited those allegedly dissatisfied with the re-election of Governor Henry Seriake-Dickson of Bayelsa state and urged them to desist from the plan.


His words, “I want to admonish those that are still aggrieved as a result of the outcome of the election not to resort to destruction of national assets, especially crude oil facilities and pipelines and attribute it to me because of my position on the election.”

He asserted that destroying crude oil facilities would not do the country any good and urged them “to support the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to succeed.”

Tompolo alluded that he was being persecuted for refusing to support the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship candidate, in the Bayelsa election.

Contacted Friday morning, chair, Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee, Chief Boro Opudu, said, “I am hearing rumour about such incident but I have not confirmed what happened. I cannot, therefore, speak on the matter until I have my facts.