How community foiled attempt to blow up Nigeria’s largest gas plant

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What could have become a deadly attack on the largest gas plant in the country, Otorogun Gas Plant, was l recently averted as youths in Iwhrekan in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State apprehended 18 suspected militants who had allegedly sneaked into the community to carry out the operation.
Luck, however, ran out on the over 200 suspected militants who had come from neighbouring communities and gathered at the Iwhrekan Primary School, allegedly waiting for the opportune time to strike their target.
A youth leader in the community, who pleaded anonymity, said that the over 200 suspected militants, whose ages ranged between 20 and 30 years, were believed to have stormed Iwhrekan from the Isoko area in Delta State, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers and some other places that could not be ascertained.
He said that on noticing the troop of suspected militants in the community and having realised the threat they could pose to security, Iwhrekan youths mobilised themselves and raided the primary school where the suspected militants had encamped.
He added that during the raid, 18 of the suspected militants who were armed with various dangerous weapons, were apprehended while their other colleagues fled into the bush.
“We suspect that there is a link between these youths, about two hundred of them, gathering at the primary school and the recent security threats from the new militant group, Utorogu Liberation Movement, especially when we also consider the fact that the Utorogu area is a very sensitive area that houses very important oil and gas Assets and Facilities,” he said.
The 18 suspects apprehended by the Iwhrekan youths were then handed over to the Otu-Jeremi Police Station in Ughelli South LGA, and were later transferred to the Delta State Police Command, Asaba. The community youth leader said that while nobody could actually identify the reason such a large number of youths from different locations outside Iwhrekan were gathered at the primary school, it was obvious the heavily armed suspects had no good intention. According to him, “The unknown youths had dangerous weapons such as cutlasses, knives, axe, spanners, hammers, etc in their possession.
“For such number of youths, about two hundred, who are not from Iwhrekan Community, to have gathered in the said primary school, obviously indicates that they were out to cause serious havoc, public disorder and constitute threats to the oil and gas facilities in Utorogu area.”
He added that considering the recent threats and attacks by new militant groups, Niger Delta Avengers and the Utorogu Liberation Movement, such a gathering of youths from different locations armed with various dangerous weapons “would be very suspicious and should not be taken lightly.”
“You would recall that the said new militant group which goes by the name Utorogu Liberation Movement (ULM), had announced its emergence in the Niger Delta region and according to their online publication, the group’s major focus is mainly on gas plants, as it has threatened to attack West Africa’s biggest gas plant, Utorogu Gas Plant in Udu and Ughelli South Local Council Areas of Delta State,” he added.
The youth leader further alleged that the ULM had in a banner message signed by one Gen. K. Omovudu and others, which was placed close to the Motor Park in Otu-Jeremi, headquarters of Ughelli South LGA, declared support for the avengers.
“The ULM had vowed to blow up oil facilities along the OML 34 and other oil facilities in the upland parts of the Niger Delta. With the recent development and the gathering of about two hundred youths who are not from Iwhrekan Community, we suspect that there is a link with the recent threat by the group,” he said.
A community leader, Pa. Amos Omoefe, advised all the stakeholders and relevant security agencies to always be on the alert to discourage such suspicious gathering of youths, especially with the threats from the ULM to bomb oil and gas facilities in Utorogu area.
Omoefe said, “While we ask that this issue should be given the needed attention, we equally ask that those arrested should be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
All efforts to reach the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, Celestina Kalu, proved abortive.
Kalu, a deputy superintendent of police did not pick her calls.