The Chief of Defence Staff(CDS), General Lucky Irabor has solicited the cooperation of all stakeholders in the Niger Delta in tackling the challenges of oil theft, vandalism of critical infrastructure and other criminal activities in the area.
He made the call when he paid homage to the Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom, King Edmund Daukoru at his palace in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
General Irabor promised to wade into a dispute between AITEO Exploration and Production Company and the Nembe Kingdom in which the community claims the multinational oil company owes the community over a billion Naira.
The Chief of Defence Staff said he was at the palace of the Monarch of Nembe Kingdom to seek the support of the community in protecting oil installations and facilities as well as combat criminal activities in the area.
General Irabor explained that he and his team were in the palace because they recognised the crucial role of traditional rulers, leaders of thought and opinion moulders in accommodating and strengthening the operations of the country’s armed forces.
He noted that any form of destruction of the nation’s oil investment was a direct attack on the future of the country’s economy, stressing that the visit was also to cement the partnership between the military and host communities, particularly in combating oil theft, kidnapping, sea robbery and piracy and other untoward acts in the region.
In a remark, the Amayanabo of Nembe Kingdom, King Edmund Daukoru who thanked General Irabor for the visit , expressed appreciation to the Operation Delta Safe in the peaceful resolution of a crisis in March last year at the Nembe Creek during an oil spill.
King Daukoru regretted that AITEO which is owned by Nigerians that took over from Shell Petroleum Development Company in operating the oil wells in Nembe about few years ago has been unable to maintain facilities such as pipelines and well heads, resulting in frequent oil and gas pollution and inability to positively engage the people, stating that the community is owed over a billion Naira in royalties and other payments.
The Former Minister of State for Energy and Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, noted that the operator has continued to decline summons from relevant authorities to dialogue with the community, an act which according to him threatens the peace in the area.
The Chief of Defence Staff who was accompanied by the Commander, Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan, other top military officers and the Group Executive Director, Upstream, Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, Adokiye Tombomieye, also visited Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State at Government House and inaugurated some patrol vans at the headquarters of the Joint Security Outfit in the Niger Delta in the Igbogene axis of the State capital.
Alambo Datonye Fred