•I’m taking them to Tompolo’s guest house -Suspect
In what could be described as a major breakthrough against economic sabotage in the Niger Delta, operatives of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS DELTA), Warri, Delta State, on Thursday, paraded two suspected allies of the rampaging Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
The two suspects were paraded along eight others who were allegedly caught while engaging in the murder of naval personnel and other economic sabotage such as illegal refineries and oil bunkering.
Commander, NNS DELTA, Commodore Joseph Dzunve, while speaking on the arrests, said the two suspected members of the NDA were caught recently with materials suspected to be used for the bombing of oil and gas pipelines in the creeks.
The two suspects, who gave their names as Felix Ibiador and Prince David, were allegedly caught on July 10 with new 11 motor batteries and electric cables allegedly used for bombing oil and gas pipelines in the state.
“They are suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers.
“Ibiador was the supplier of the equipment used for the bombing of oil pipelines.
“David was the mechanic who repairs their boats which they use in conveying these materials whenever they run into problems,” Commodore Dzunve disclosed.
According to him, “further investigations would be handled by the appropriate quarters who will review the extent to which they partook in criminal activities in the region.”
Meanwhile, one of the Avenger suspects, Ibiador, while speaking with Nigerian Tribune, initially denied being a member, but later confessed that one Akpos and Godbless asked him to convey the 11 batteries to the guest house belonging Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo at Oporoza.
He said he was not aware of what the batteries were meant for, when Nigerian Tribune inquired from him.
“Na fuel, naim I dey sell for waterside. I no know where Avengers dey.
But when challenged by a Naval officer who asked him what he was doing with 11 batteries and cables, the suspect recanted, saying: “Akpos and Godbless they are the ones bringing the batteries to me and whenever they come, they chatter my boat.
“They no tell me the full details of wetin dey won use am for.
“But dem say make I take am go Tompolo Guest House for Oporoza.
“Na for Waterside dem take pick me on July 10,” the suspect mused.
David, on his part, denied any ties with the Avengers when asked to defend himself.
However, Commodore Dzunve has said the Nigerian Navy was poised to rid the waterways and creeks of criminalities, admonishing youths in the region to embrace hard work and peace.
He also disclosed that four out of the 10 suspects were caught in the act of illegal refining of crude oil in one of the camps in Delta creeks.
Some of the suspects, he said, also engaged in trading of products from the illegal refineries.
He vowed to also go after buyers of the product, saying profits accruable from the trade was the reason the illicit trade has continued to thrive in spite of continued effort being made to stamp out the menace.
It will be recalled that former militant, Tompolo, has consistently being linked with being the brain behind the the deadly Avengers who have claimed responsibilities for blowing up several oil and gas pipelines in the creeks since February 2016.
Tompolo, on his part, has also unabatedly, denied being a member or sponsor of the activities of the Avengers, alleging that his foes were out to nail him unjustly.
Meanwhile, spokesperson of NDA, Brig. Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo, had, in a statement earlier on Wednesday, claimed that the militant group was already winning the war against the Nigerian state.
He said it was appalling that every criminal nabbed by security operatives in the Niger Delta was being tagged member of the Avengers.
He described the development, particularly on the part of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigeria Army as unprofessional and a means to continue to fleece the Federal Government of taxpayers’ money.
Agbinibo, in the statement, averred that: “Contrary to local news that Nigeria Navy has arrested Niger Delta Avengers logistics supplier is the biggest joker of the 21st century.
“As at now any Tom, Dick and Harry is a suspect of Niger Delta avengers. Nigeria Navy has lost the sense of professionalism.
“The Nigeria military arrested school students in Oporoza and called them the Niger Delta Avengers, any criminal caught is NDA, even their Business partners (Illegal Oil bunkers) with which things went south are NDA, Sea pirates are now NDA.”