Less than 24 hours after the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbanjo, visited Delta State, unknown persons set fire on a crude oil pipeline at Ughelli, in the state, sparking fears of attacks by suspected oil rebels.
The pipeline belonging to the Niger Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, located behind the SETRACO construction yard, along the East/West express road, was seen raging with fire at about 4:30p.m, sending huge balls of flame into the atmosphere, which could be seen from different parts of Ughelli metropolis. Though the flame had subsided at about 7:12p.m, Vanguard could not immediately reach the spot reason, as the terrain could not be easily accessed. As at press time, it was not certain if the cause of the fire was as a result of an attack or environmental impact, as no group has claimed responsibility.
However, confirming the incident, a security source, operating in the area, debunked insinuation that the inferno was as a result of an attack by suspected militants.
He said: “The cause of the incident is as a result of bush burning. Someone set fire on the area and the pipeline, which had some crude oil spill on it and the surrounding environment went up in flames, sending huge balls of flame into the air.”.Speaking further, the source said: “We are ensuring the maximum protection of oil and gas facilities in the area and I can assure you that there would be no form of attacks on oil facilities in the area like time past.”