Suspected hoodlums have launched arson attacks at the site of OML 16 operated by Sterling Global Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Advance Oil Production Systems Ltd (AOPSL)/NNPCL Joint Venture in Ochia-Awara/Assa community of Imo State.
Impeccable police sources stated that the incident specifically took place at the location of a contractor, Anotech Global Company Nigeria Limited, an indigenous oil and gas pipelines / facilities construction and installation company.
Anotech is handling 23km pipeline installation, which cuts across several communities, namely, Obitti, Ochia, Awala, Assa, Obile Ana and Ada Palm communities of Imo State.
It was gathered that equipment burnt during the invasion of Anotech’s site include: excavator, self-loader truck, several 150kva electric generators, over 20 welding machines, cables grinding machines of various sizes, welding tents and various tools boxes control panels.
The items are valued at over N500m.
Narrating the ordeal in a statement issued by Anotech’s Site Manager, Patrick Egwuatu, on Wednesday, he said the unknown invaders willfully set the company’s facilities ablaze.
Egwuatu said the incident had been reported to the representatives of the client, Sterling Global Nigeria Limited, leadership of the host communities and Imo State Police Command.
He added that the carcass of the burnt oil equipment littered the Assa work site of Anotech.
In the statement titled, “Incident Report On The Fire Outbreak On The AOPSL 18” Row Assa Site, Egwuatu, said, “At 7:22pm this evening, 31st August 2023, I received a phone call from one of our site night security men, Abuchi Elelu, who informed me that our self-loader vehicle with 2 nos. 150KVA generators powering about 10 nos inverter welding machines, 2nos tool boxes, many grinding machines, many consumables such as electrodes and welding cables were on fire.”
“He said that he doesn’t know how the fire started. That it was very sudden. That he and the 3 other security men went into hiding in the bush as they were not sure if the perpetrators were armed.
“Judging from the position of the equipment, one can estimate that the incident took place at about 1.150km [100 pipe lengths] from Ochia-Awara/Assa Community.
“After receiving the news, I called my colleagues and informed them about the incident. I called my base office and informed them. I also notified the site client reps Mr. Ernest and Mr. Vishal. I also informed the Assa PG.”
“My appeal to the law enforcement agencies is to carry out a thorough investigation with the view to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice.”
To this end, Egwuatu appealed to the law enforcement agencies, especially the Imo State police command to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident with a view to apprehending and bringing the arsonists to justice.
The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, Stephen Olanrewaju, could not be reached for his comment but competent sources in the command said investigation has begun into the incident.