A major breakthrough has been recorded in the fight against renewed militant activities and oil pipelines vandalism in the Niger Delta region of the country, Tuesday, when the Nigerian Navy said it has arrested a militant kingpin who is best described as the coordinator of recent attacks on NNPC and Chevron oil facilities in the region.
He said his men also apprehended another militant leader who spearheaded last week’s attack on Shell Petroleum Development Company’s 48-inch crude pipeline in Forcados, saying the militants’ coordinator, also illegally operates about 35 abandoned oil well heads and crude oil pipelines in Okpoko and Obodo creeks in Warri South West Local Government Area of the state.
The Navy disclosed this while briefing journalists as the suspects were paraded at the Naval Base Warri, Delta State on Tuesday.
Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, Commodore Riami Muhammed, said this was a major feat in the bid to stop militant activities in the region.
Commodore Mohammed said the suspects were arrested through efforts with other security agencies.
He said, “Today, I’m pleased to announce that after several weeks of persistent efforts, the Nigerian navy in collaboration with other security agencies has arrested the main coordinator of the attacks on the NNPC and Chevron oil and gas facilities that we have witnessed since May 4, 2016, with the attack on Chevron Okan Valve platform offshore Escravos.
“You are aware of the recent series of attacks on oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta and in Delta State for which some groups/persons have claimed responsibilities. The Nigerian Navy and other security agencies have been doing their best to curtail these attacks.
“It’s important to mention that the suspect is also deeply involved in pipeline vandalism and stealing crude oil.
“He steals crude oil from about 35 abandoned oil well heads. The Nigerian Navy believes with the arrest of this suspect, the attacks on Chevron/NNPC facilities will abate.”
Mohammed said the suspect behind the 48-inch Forcados attack: “Has provided useful information that will assist NNS Delta to arrest other culprits.”
The suspects were said to be shaded from journalists during the briefing for security reasons.