The bombing of oil facilities by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has deepened the destruction of the Southsouth environment, Niger Delta Minister Usani Uguru Usani said yesterday.
He described the activities of militants as counterproductive and “harmful”.
The minister spoke in Abuja as the Avengers claimed responsibility for another round of bombings in Warri, Delta State.
But the group denied the claim that it bombed oil facilities in Eleme, Rivers State.
Usani said: “I must say that the environment is ours and destroying it will not do us any good.
“Imagine the Ogoni reclamation is going to take 30 years, yet we have not learnt.
“Rather than support President Muhammadu Buhari to do more, we are adding to the destruction of the environment, our ecosystem, fresh water and aquatic lives.”
The minister noted that the United Nations Environmental Report (UNEP) had not received the attention of previous administrations but just a year after his inauguration, Buhari began its implementation.
“I can say that the Niger Delta region is benefiting more under the APC regime led by President Buhari than it benefited from any other regime,” he said.
Also yesterday, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said the dialogue approach adopted by the Federal Government with militants would end the bombings of oil facilities.
The NSCDC Commandant General, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammadu, gave the assurance during an interview with reporters in Minna, Niger State capital.
“The Federal Government has commenced negotiations with some of the aggrieved militants in the region on the need to sheathe their sword and embrace peaceful resolutions of all perceived grievances that led to the bombings of oil pipelines in the region.
“To the best of my knowledge, I think the Federal Government is already negotiating with them.
“At the last meeting we had, we discussed at length and very soon all these bombings will come to an end.
“The government is trying to negotiate with them with a view to finding out why they are doing it so as to get to the root of the problem.’’
Muhammadu explained that the government chose dialogue with the militant groups in order not to send a wrong signal to the international community on some of the events in the country.
“You know we are in a democratic setting, so we have to be very careful of what we do.
“ After the first bombing, second bombing and the third bombing, we were sent there and we did our job there to find out some things.
“During the period of our assignment, we went on a fact-finding mission and we came back with some facts, which I will not disclose to you now. But I am sure it will soon come to an end,’’ he was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). .
In Port Harcourt,the President of Eleme Youth Council (EYC) Worldwide, Prince Brain Gokpa, described as a hoax Wednesday’s alleged bombing of pipelines of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Eleme, the headquarters of Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).
Gokpa said the claim was false and misleading. He described Eleme as peaceful.
The ETC President said: “Our attention has been drawn to online publications that NDA has blown up pipelines in Eleme Council of Rivers State. It is not true. It is unfounded. It is baseless.
“The report is a figment of the imagination of mischief-makers, who want to portray Eleme in bad light. Eleme Council is relatively peaceful. Security operatives, in collaboration with the authorities, have been able to curb criminality in the area.”
Gokpa also called on Eleme Council youths to abstain from criminal activities, while warning all criminal elements in the area to desist forthwith, declaring that EYC members would not fold their arms and watch miscreants take over the Council.
The president said Eleme youths had the capacity to confront any form of criminality in the council.
The Avengers yesterday announced another round of oil facilities’ bombings. The insurgent group, in a message posted on its website, warned the public against people it claimed were impostors to its identity.
In the message posted by its spokesman Mudoch Agbinibo, the Avengers identified the attacked manifolds as RMP 22, 23 and 24.
“Between the hours of 10:50pm to 11:10pm our (Niger Delta Avengers) strike team blew up Chevron Manifolds. the manifolds are RMP 22, 23 and 24”, the message said.
The group warned those following it to be wary of impostors as not all messages now being churned out about activities attributed to it may be true.
While dissociating itself from messages on Twitter, as its only Twitter Line;@NDAvengers, had been suspended, it said all its messages would now be relayed through its website.
It also denied being responsible for a reported attack on an NNPC facility in Eleme on Wednesday.
“This Facebook account/page is an impostor page that was opened by fraudster to deceive the general public.
“We are warning any group that wants to do anything to go about their activities without tagging us (Niger Delta Avengers). Instead, do your activities and claim responsibility.
“The NNPC pipeline in Eleme blowing that was posted by this Facebook account yesterday wasn’t carried out by Niger Delta Avengers.
“We are calling all national dailies to take note. Niger Delta Avengers is not out to mislead the public.
“As a result, we are closing all our social network accounts and will be using our websites to pass information to the general public,” the group said.
The spokesperson of the Delta state police command, Celestina Kalu, confirmed the development. “But we have not been able to confirm the extent of damage by the blast last night,” he said.