Police debunk Avengers’ claim on gas pipeline explosion in Akwa Ibom

THE Akwa Ibom State police command, on Monday, confirmed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) gas pipeline explosion in Obotim Nsit, in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.

State Commissioner of Police, Murtala Mani, who confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Uyo, attributed the explosion to a technical fault.

He denied any militant attack on the gas pipeline.

“This is no militancy attack. Our men are on ground and the fire service had put out the fire.

“It is confirmed that there is an explosion in Obotim Nsit, in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of the state.

“People from the pipeline confirmed that the pipelines are old and overdue for servicing. There are technical problems in the gas pipeline,” Mani said.

The Police Commissioner, however, said there was no casualty and no house was destroyed as a result of the explosion.

The commissioner said his officers and men were on ground, adding that the place was well-cordoned.

Earlier, militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), had allegedly said it blew up a gas pipeline belonging to NNPC.

The gas pipeline, the group reported on its website late early Monday, was located at Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

The act was allegedly carried out, according to the statement signed by the group’s spokesperson, Brigadier-General Mudoch Agbinibo, at about 11.30 p.m. on Sunday.

“At 11:30 p.m on Sunday, the NDA blew up NNPC gas pipeline at Nsit-Ibom Local Government Area of  Akwa Ibom State.

“NNPC should check its pipeline if it’s “system anomaly,” Agbinibo disclosed.

As of filing this report, officials of NNPC could not be reached to confirm the alleged economic sabotage.

Not even the new Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command, Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Mohammed Garba, could be reached for a confirmation, as his mobile line was unreadable.