There is tension in Igbomotoru Community, Southern Ijaw Council of Bayelsa State, as suspected militants set ablaze a Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) crude oil pipeline at the weekend.
Sources in the community said the attack on the pipeline might not be unconnected with the battle to control and influence surveillance contracts being handled by Dalong Security Company.
Following the attack, other crude oil platforms on the Ogboinbiri axis and adjourning communities had been shut down to avoid fire outbreak and damage to the crude oil supply route in the area.
A former militant leader ‘General’ Endurance who is alleged to be involved in illegal bunkering, was suspected to be behind that attack.
He is engaged in a battle of supremacy with another former militant leader from neighbouring Peremabiri Community in an attempt to dominate and take over oil pipeline security surveillance job in the area.
It was also learnt that residents of the community contacted the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) code named Operation Delta Safe and reported the activities of the militants, but they were still awaiting the deployment of security operatives.
A source in the community said: “We have reported their activities to security agencies and we expect to curtail their activities. Most members of the community are afraid to speak out.
“The boys engaged in sporadic shooting and they vandalised two Agip pipelines and set them ablaze close to the Beninkurukuru bush. The fire has led to the shutting down of some other facilities in the area.”
Another community source said the Igbomotoru people have dissociated themselves from the activities of Endurance and his boys, while a JTF source, who confirmed the development, said the Sector 2 Command of the JTF in the state, was investigating the incident.
When contacted, spokesman for the Joint Military Task Force, Major Victor Odukoya, said he would get back with details, but he could not do so as at the time of filling this report.
Meanwhile, no fewer than 100 youths with juju priests from Ayamakede and Ugamakede communities in Andoni Council of Rivers State yesterday blocked the premises of Green Energy International Limited and Lekoil in the GRA area of Port Harcourt, accusing the firms of negligence and insensitivity to their plight.
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The youths demanded the reinstatement of two of their chiefs, who were disengaged from surveillance contracts by the company without cogent reasons.
Speaking to newsmen during the protest, their spokesman, Awaji Etemila, said the firms had not employed indigenes of the communities for over five years, adding that the companies promised to provide electricity for them but had failed to fulfill their pledge.
Responding, Assistant Community Relations Manager of Green Energy, Enya Goodluck, appealed to the protesting youths to nominate three persons to negotiate with its management on the issues bothering them.