- The military paraded two masterminds of the attacks in Niger Delta
- "General Eagle" and "General VIP" are reportedly responsible for the attacks at Agip’s oilfields in Bayelsa state
- During the interrogation the militants reveal how they planned their further attacks
The Nigerian troops engaged in the Operation Delta Safe have announced the arrest of two Niger Delta militants who are reportedly responsible for the recent attacks on the oil and gas facilities.
The commander of the force, Rear Admiral Suileman Apochi, paraded the suspected militants before journalists on December 15, Thursday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital, Sahara Reporters says.
Admiral Apochi said that the suspects are popularly known in the Niger Delta as "General Eagle" and "General VIP."
According to him, the arrest of the militants, who had reportedly admitted to being the masterminds of attacks at Agip’s oilfields in the state, was as an outcome of the tenacity of operations commenced against vandals by the troops.
The commander of the operation states that the activities of the two arrested oil militants was responsible for the fall in oil output following several attacks and threats to oil firms.
He said: “I am glad to announce that two notorious kingpins identified as General Eagle and General VIP have been apprehended. From interrogation, they have admitted to committing several crimes.
“The criminals and their group have at various times masterminded the destruction of oil infrastructure and sabotage to the economy.
“They have engaged in illegal bunkering and kidnap of high profile victims.
“The self-acclaimed General Eagle said he recently organised and blew up one of the oil company’s risers at Golubokin along Obama-Brass pipeline in Bayelsa. He also claimed responsibility in the planting of explosives at Agip's oilfields."
Admiral Apochi added that preliminary investigations had discovered text message threats to oil companies and their personnel, continuing that the suspects announced their intention to carry out more attacks if their demands for money were not met.
He stated that the soldiers acting on intelligence stormed the militants' hideaways in Yenagoa and arrested three other suspects currently being questioned.
One of the suspects in the custody of the joint task force reportedly revealed during interrogation that he is a pirate and "pipeline bleeding expert" responsible for the destruction of several oil pipelines.
The commander of the Delta Safe advised groups to take advantage of the federal government’s window of opportunities to peacefully resolve grievances rather than resorting to criminal acts.
This came just as federal government confirmed the discovery of crude oil in Borno which is north east Nigeria.
The country’s oil production decreased to 30-year lows at one point in 2016 as militant groups, comprising the Niger Delta Avengers, attacked oil and gas pipelines in protest at what they view to be an unfair distribution of Nigeria’s oil wealth.
Nigeria is facing an economic crisis and recession mainly due to its reliance on the oil sector, which accounts for 70% of Nigeria’s GDP and over 90% of the value of its exports.
Meanwhile, President Buhari in a new budget put daily crude oil production at about 2.2 million barrels per day.