A new militant group, the Red Scorpion, has carried out its threat to blow up oil installations and pipelines belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Corporation in Awara, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State.The AUTHORITY learnt that the group, which on Tuesday warned that it would destroy the pipelines because of the exclusion of its members from the Federal Government’s dialogue with Niger Delta militants, hit the facilities on Thursday.
A source close to the leadership of the group said the attack was a warning that militants in Imo should no longer be sidelined by the Federal Government.The group said that it will continue to attack Shell facilities as long as it was neglected by the government. In their Facebook post, the militants had demanded that equal rights should be given to all oil-producing areas in the country.The oil installations belonging to Elf Petroleum in Awara were earlier blown up by the Red Scorpion.
Prior to the attack, the Imo State House of Assembly had kicked against the exclusion of the state from the proposed dialogue by the Federal Government and the Niger Delta Avengers.When contacted, the State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said that the command was hinted of the incident but could not ascertain the extent of the damage.
He said: “We got the report of destruction of oil installation at Awara, but we are yet to know the extent of the damage.”And as the government grapples with the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) have denied any alliance with the NDA.
Their position was contained in a statement issued to newsmen in Owerri, the Imo State capital, on Thursday, wherein they told the public to disregard any publication or claim of association between them and the NDA.A statement jointly signed by Chief Okechukwu Nwaogu, a member of MASSOB Elders’ Council and Canice Anojuru, Owerri Zonal Leader of BIM respectively, described as false the June 15 publication by a national daily (not The AUTHORITY) linking them with the NDA.
“MASSOB and BIM have unequivocally condemned in its entirety the June 15, 2016 publication credited to one Uchenna Madu, claiming that MASSOB and the Niger Delta Avengers are working together. It is imperative to inform the public rightly that miscreants want to hijack the struggle of the freedom of Biafra due to selfish interest”, the groups stated.According to the duo, “the attribution of the said media report to a sacked member of MASSOB clearly shows that the pro-Biafra groups under the headship of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike have no hands with the said Niger Delta Avengers.”
Meanwhile, a former leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Kemeizompoukomumor Ayuba, has appealed to President Buhari to dialogue with new Niger Delta militant groups in the interest of peace and national coexistence. Ayuba, a self-styled founding leader of MEND, in a statement made available to The AUTHORITY, told the government that those opposed to the proposed dialogue were not doing the Buhari administration any good.