Ex-militant leaders yesterday distanced themselves from the bombings of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta region especially in Delta State.
The former warlords from the six Niger Delta states said none of them including Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, was involved in the recent destruction of oil installations.
The government said the destruction of pipelines has reduced electricity supply by over 600mw while not less than N470milion is lost daily. It has already led to the shutting down of Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries.
Defence minister Mansur Dan-Ali and led a team of Defence chiefs to the site of the pipeline sabotage in Warri South, Delta state and vowed to deal with the culprits.
The attack on the pipelines started after a high court declared Tompolo wanted when he failed to appear to answer charges of money laundering and fraud levelled against him.
The ex-militant leaders, under the aegis of the Leadership Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) said unknown criminal elements, who were bent in causing disaffection between the region and the Federal Government, were behind the act.
The former creek warriors in a statement signed by their leader, Chief Reuben Wilson popularly known as General Pastor, said they were ready to partner with the government to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.
Wilson said: “What happened was not carried out by ex-militants. The world should not label the ex-militants with evil deeds. These attacks were carried out by criminal elements.
“Some people claim Tompolo did it but he has come out to clear himself. Tompolo is a man known for his words. If he is involved in such things, he will come out to say it and give reasons. But he is not behind these recent attacks.”
Insisting that their investigations absolved Tompolo, Wilson, said no ex-militant leader would send anybody to blow pipelines in the region.
He said: “We call on the Federal Government to key in the ex-militant leaders into the protection and surveillance of oil pipelines in the region.
“The ex-militant leaders have important role to play with their knowledge of the creeks and water channels. Because we don’t carry arms, we expect that such security job will involve the security personnel
In Abuja, the Senate condemned the blowing up of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta.
The upper chamber asked the Federal Government to take necessary measures to safe guard the pipelines in the interest of the country.
Chairmen of four committees of the Senate including committees on gas, petroleum (downstream and up stream) and media and public affairs stated this at a news conference. Chairman Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who read the position paper of the committee, said the activities of the vandals who blew up the pipelines should be condemned in their entirety.
He said: “It is very disheartening that at a time when all hands should be on deck to revive the economy and ensure the survival of the country, some people could decide at this point in time in the history of the nation to further sabotage the efforts of the present administration to bring some sanity into our country.
“It is therefore apt for the Senate to condemn strongly and make an ambiguous statement about this dastardly act that portends to send the hands of the clock backwards”.
He noted that “this sabotage has led to the shutting down of two refineries that had just started working few months ago.
The militants, he said should give respite to Nigerians “so that we can see some governance.”
He added, “It is not good enough for an administration to be fighting one war there and they are waging another there, when will he have time to govern? So please help us appeal to them so that Nigeria can move forward.”
Source: The Nation