Petroleum Minister says recent pipeline attacks are ‘unfair’

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has expressed ‘grave concern’ and disappointment over the recent pipeline attacks by suspected militants in the Niger Delta region.

He said that it was “unfair that this was happening with all the intensive and collective efforts to engage all stakeholders and the success of the meeting with President Buhari.”

In a statement from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja on Friday, he urged the attackers to calm down and give peace a chance.

Suspected militants had on Tuesday night, attacked the Forcados Export Pipeline in Delta State, the third onslaught on the facility since Niger Delta leaders met with President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1, in Abuja.

The latest attack came less than 24 hours after four community surveillance guards escaped death at Batan community near Warri when suspected militants opened fire on them during a failed attempt to blow up the pipeline under repairs.

The pipeline conveys up to the 400,000 barrels of crude per day, to the Forcados Export Terminal.

Kachikwu said it was unfortunate that three attacks had taken place over the last two weeks as efforts were ongoing to prepare for dialogue.

“The Minister condemns these wanton attacks and reiterates that the path to providing lasting solutions for the Niger Delta challenges remains dialogue.

He further appeals and enjoins all interested stakeholders in the Niger Delta to embrace the path of peace and dialogue and shun acts that further create difficulties for the country, impoverish the region and worsen the ecological problems of the region.”

He urged all militants to stop and give the ensuing dialogue a chance to birth peace in the region.

Kachikwu appealed to all leaders and stakeholders, in and outside the region, to join hands with the government to find a lasting solution to the problem.

“As distraught as he and most ministers from the Niger Delta region are with these unfortunate incidents, they shall not give up, but will continue to work under the mandate of the President to see how to deepen the engagement and get a complete stakeholder buy-in to the solution programme of the President,’’ the statement said .