Despite warnings from the federal government, some Niger Delta militants have blown the Chevron Valve Platform located on the high sea near Escravos in Warri South-West council area of Delta state.
A source told TheCable that the incident happened around midnight on Wednesday.
The attack happened less than three weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari threatened to treat pipeline vandals like Boko Haram militants.
“The government is still being dared, but those who are sensible should have learnt a lesson. Those who are mad, let them continue in their madness,” he had told some Nigerians resident in China.
“I am aware that in the last two weeks, the national grid collapsed a number of times. I hope this message will reach the vandals and saboteurs who are blowing up pipelines and installations. We will deal with them the way we dealt with Boko Haram.”
An oil expert described the attack as a major setback to the country’s oil production, saying the facility is among the company’s most significant platforms.
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a new militant group, has claimed responsibility for the attack, warning that the deployment of soldiers to the region would not deter them from carrying out further attacks.
NDA threatened not to relent until it cripples the economy of the nation.
“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers wants to use this medium to thank strike team 6 for successfully blowing up of the Chevron Valve Platform. And we are ready to protect the Niger Delta people,” read a statement issued by Madoch Agbinibo, the group’s spokesman.
“This is what we promised the Nigeria government. Since they refused to listen to us we are going to zero the economy of the country.
“As for zeroing the Nigerian economy, the Niger Delta Avengers is done with Delta state major oil installations. Now, we are taking the fight out of the creeks to the Niger Delta. We are taking it to Abuja and Lagos now.
“We want to pass this message to the all international oil companies operating in the Niger Delta that the Nigeria Military can’t protect their facilities. They should talk to the federal government to meet our demands else more mishaps will befall their installations.”
The group had earlier claimed responsibility for the attack on the Forcados 48-inch Export Pipeline, which was attacked two months ago.
When contacted, Raimi Mohammed, commander Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, said: “We got a news like that this morning but we are yet to confirm. We have asked our people in Escravos to confirm. It happened deep offshore but we need confirmation to know what really happened.”