Fast-rising, notorious militant group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), has claimed responsibility for the Sunday morning inferno that occurred near Otu-Jeremi, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.
The group insinuated in a statement on Monday that the inferno resulted from its dastardly attack on the 42-inch delivery line operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and ND Western at Otu-Jeremi.
The bombing, according to the saboteurs, was carried out at about 4:00a.m of November 27 as against local residents’ claim that the explosion they heard Sunday took place around 6:40a.m,
Anxiety had ensued on Sunday, when the clangorous bang from the explosion rocked communities around Ughelli axis of the state as fire gutted the pipeline and vegetation around the area.
Residents of Otu-Jeremi, as of Sunday, were of the general belief that militants were behind the sabotage.
The spot of the incident was adjudged some hundreds of metres away from the Otorogu Gas Plant, a multi-billion naira project.
But 24 hours after the explosion, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate, (NDGJM), in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Gen Aldo Agbalaja, said the group’s Akuma Strike Force Team carried out the attack.
The group has been launching series of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the upland parts of the state over grouse against the Federal Government.
In the statement titled: “NOT UHURU YET,” the hoodlums said: “in the last few weeks, we have been silent and observing.
“The period of silence was definitely not of inactivity; as a matter of fact, it was rather a strategy session, the fruits of which shall start showing up in the coming days!”
Giving reason it struck in spite of the short interregnum, the group boasted that: “to register our presence and jolt those probably slipping into delusion back to reality, the Akuma Strike Force Team at about 0400hour November 27, brought down the 42 inch delivery line operated by NPDC/ND WESTERN in Otu-Jeremi.”
The group disclosed that it “has also observed the calculated psychological attack recently initiated by the Nigerian security forces against our people, believing that by pursuing and arresting our people, the struggle will be defeated and our resolve would be quelled.
This will not work because what motivates us is stronger than the Nigerian kind of patriotism.”
It vowed that “Once again, we proclaim that we shall fight till the last man alive.”
Agbalaja, however, warned the Federal Government against patronising conmen, political jobbers, who are grandstanding and parading themselves as the ‘lords of Warri’ and whose stock in trade, he averred, has always been using the struggle for personal aggrandizement.
“It has also come to the attention of the High Command of the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate that some impostors have now started a move to hoodwink the federal government into believing that they have what it takes to end this campaign that we have sworn to stay committed to.
These conmen, grandstanding and parading themselves as the ‘lords of Warri’, have forgotten that this campaign goes well beyond their purview or grasp.
Our advice goes to the federal government, to be wary of who they give attention to in the desperation to get the oil from our soil to flow unhindered.
Be wary of these political jobbers, whose stock in trade has always been using the struggle to profiteer.
We have severally indicated how to end this and definitely not through political jobbers and conflict merchants.
If and when we have reasons to trust anybody to hold discussions with, we shall through this same medium, announce the process and the persons.
This is a warning for the wise,” the militants submitted.
Meanwhile, chairman of Ughelli South LGA, Mr Paul Etaga, who visited the scene of the attack with Lt. Col. U Abdusalam, Commander, 222 Battalion, Agbarha-Otor, Ughelli North LGA on Sunday, confirmed the sabotage.
Etaga, however, decried the effects of the attendant inferno on several economic trees in the area.
“The incident led to fire outbreak. Meanwhile firefighters had restored the situation.
We appeal to our youths and militants to desist from vandalizing oil facilities.
It only causes more harm to ourselves, please.
Whoever that is responsible for the attack should stop.
Youths and militants should know there are better ways of agitating rather than destroying your environment.
If not for the fire service that acted swiftly, nearby houses would have been burnt and/maybe lives would have been loss too,” he said.