Lagos - Nigeria has arrested seven suspects for allegedly supplying high-calibre explosives and detonators to militants wreaking havoc on key pipelines and facilities.
National Security Adviser Major-General Mohammed Monguno said on Thursday the explosives were diverted from an explosives-distribution company in the Niger delta to the rebels.
"A detailed audit of the records of explosives magazines and quarries in that region was conducted, which revealed the diversion of about 9 000kg of high explosives and 16 420 pieces of detonators for illegal use," he said.
"The actors, including the storeman of a major explosives distribution company in Nigeria, an accomplice and five security operatives, have been arrested and handed over to the appropriate authorities," he said.
Monguno said an inquiry has been launched.
"Right now, investigations are being conducted and I can assure you that they are deeply culpable and necessary action will be taken on the conclusion of these investigations," he said.
He said any company implicated in the illegal diversion will be sanctioned.
"Any individual or company that operates outside the confines of legitimacy or legality will have itself to blame, and we want to add that the government of the day will not listen to... any company that decides to sabotage national security."
Nigeria has been plagued with devastating attacks by militant group the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) since the start of the year.
Oil majors like Shell, Chevron, Exxon, Eni and state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have been targeted.
The attacks have slashed output at a time when Nigeria is struggling with low global crude prices which have hammered government revenues, weakening the naira currency and pushing up inflation to 16.5%, an 11-year high.
The rebels want oil majors to leave the Niger delta, blaming them for contributing to widespread poverty and under-development of the region.
They also seek self-determination for the oil-producing states in the delta.
The Avengers, who have spurned a government truce, are believed to have sympathies for Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, a fugitive former militant leader wanted for corruption charges.