*They want a share of the N9bn pipeline protection contract
Militants of the Urhobo minority ethnic group blew up a natural gas pipeline in Nigeria’s Delta state in the early hours on Friday, a Nigerian official said on Saturday.
“The Urhobo militants who carried out the attack have claimed responsibility,” said Isa Ado, spokesman for the Pulo Shield taskforce, made up of members of various Nigerian security forces investigating oil theft in Nigeria’s oil-producing delta region.
Ado added that the militants were trying to draw attention to their exclusion from lucrative pipeline protection contracts with the state oil company.
The outgoing Jonathan administration in a bid to win election gave pipeline protection contracts valued at N9 billion to various militant groups, from the Nigeria Delta groups to Yoruba Oodua Peoples Congress, in western Nigeria.
The contracts had been criticised, especially as it renders government security agencies redundant. They also once again question the essence of the Nigerian state when it outsources security work to outlawed groups.