Militants have reportedly blown up the Abura oil pipeline operated by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) near Otu-Jeremi in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.
According to the report, the pipeline which is one of the major trunk-lines that supplies crude to the Otu-Jeremi Flow Station and the Otorogu Gas Plant, was destroyed on Sunday morning.
There have been conflicting reports on the cause of the explosion, with some section claiming it was a fire outbreak, while locals in the area believe that militants blew up the pipeline. The military however reportedly said it is investigating the matter.
“Yes, there was a huge explosion on a pipeline known as Abura line at about 7.45 p.m operated by NPDC but we are not sure whether it was bombed or a fault,” a local told ThisDay.
No casualty was recorded in the explosion. The Punch Newspapers reported that the fire resulting from the explosion was swiftly extinguished by firefighters from the nearby Otorogu Gas Plant.
No militant group including the dreaded Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for the explosion.
The Ughelli South Local Government Chairman Paul Etaga, who visited the site of the incident alongside Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Abdulsalam and Ughelli South police officer Oghenedoro Samuel, also confired the explosion.
According to him: “The incident led to a fire outbreak. Meanwhile, firefighters had quenched the inferno. We appeal to our youths and militants to desist from vandalising oil facilities. It only causes more harm to us, please.
“Whoever that is responsible for the attack should stop. Youths and militants should know there are better ways of agitating rather than destroying your environment. If not for the fire service that acted swiftly nearby houses would have been burnt and maybe lives would have been lost too.”
Since the resurgence of militant activities in the Niger Delta region, Nigeria’s oil production output has severely plunged resulting in depleting the country’s revenue compounded by economic hardship.