WHY MILITANTS ATTACKED AGIP
Fresh facts have emerged on why the two pipelines operated by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) at Osiama field, Southern Ijaw local government area of Bayelsa State were blown up by suspected militants on the orders of an ex-militant leader in the state.
According to a source, the incident which is already calling into question the amnesty programme of the Federal Government which the ex-militant leader embraced, was triggered by the refusal of oil major to accede to the demands of the ex-militant leader for money.
The attack has forced the military Joint Task Force (JTF) to intensify patrol around the Osiama oil field and other oil installations in the region.
The ex-militant leader, Sunday Sun gathered, sent a series of text messages to Agip officials demanding for money but was turned down by the company, citing the amnesty programme.
Frustrated, the ex-militant leader threatened to cause massive damage to Agip's facilities, it was gathered. But Agip again ignored the threat. Agip, a source said, however reported the threats to the government, which reportedly failed to act before the attack on their facility was executed. The government, the source remarked, appeared to be confused about how to handle the ex-militant leader.
The community, Sunday Sun learnt, was also worried about the consequences of the development on their relationship with Agip. Lt. Col Timothy Antigha, the spokesman of the JTF, confirmed that they have stepped up surveillance of the area, adding that investigation had already commenced into the incident. JTF confirmed that a splinter group of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Antigha pledged that the security outfit would do everything possible to unravel those behind the incident as it was ready to protect lives and property of residents. Antigha, however, said Osiama community needed to be vigilant and turn in pieces of information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators to the attack.
His words: 'Yes, we have deployed our patrol team and the entire area is under surveillance. We have started investigations. But the community people need to play a role. They need to be vigilant and security alert. This is because the people who did this thing are not spirits; they live in the community and if the community had passed the information, JTF would have been able to get the culprits before they escaped.'