…Youth leaders accuse contractors of sponsoring pipeline job protests
The military has attacked militants, pirates and destroyed illegal oil facilities in the Niger Delta. The ongoing Operation Crocodile Smile III in 6 Division Area of Responsibility (AOR) of the Nigerian Army achieved the mission.
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed yesterday in Port Harcourt that a weekend search on Awonikiri in Bille, Degema Local Councilof Rivers State led to the discovery of a hideout for militants and sea pirates.
He listed the recovered items to include 24 rounds of 9 mm calibre bullets, a pair of camouflage uniform, a camouflage face cap and a camouflage T-Shirt. Others are two gas cookers, a DSTV dish and two Samsung Plasma television sets.
The rest were a battery charger, two generating sets, two ladders and a Sesco mobile handset.
The spokesman said the troops also discovered and destroyed six illegal oil sites during the exercise.
The raid equally claimed four large reservoirs containing stolen crude as well as seven Cotonou boats used for the illicit act.
In Akwa Ibom, he said the military located and destroyed illegal dumpsites in Eket and Ibeno council areas of the state.
According to him, a total of 500 drums and two surface tanks were annihilated in the course of the operation.
He explained that in the same vein, troops of Sector 1, Joint Task Force Operation Delta Safe (JTF OPDS) in their anti-illegal oil bunkering patrols last week in Yokri near Funkoro Forest of Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State discovered and destroyed three refining camps with four large dug out pits and 12 surface tanks.
The troops also found three illegal refining sites at Obodo Asisan, Ogbesedua and Ogbokoko all in Warri South Council Area hitherto destroyed in previous operations but reactivated.
“Nevertheless, the troops successfully destroyed all the three illegal refining camps, including 10 cooking tanks, two Cotonou boats and two pumping machines. Two suspects, Oghenemaga Egubare, and Maxwell Umar, were also arrested at the illegal oil bunkering camp vicinity and handed over to sister security agency for investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.
Iliyasu noted that the activities of the special task force were to curtail criminal activities and present a genuine platform for the development of the oil-rich region.
He added that the troops of 19 Battalion under Sector 1 JTF OPDS conducted an educational outreach at Ethiope Model Primary School and Malachi Primary School Sapele where free exercise books were distributed to pupils.
Meanwhile, youth presidents of the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Isoko and Ndokwa ethnic stock in Delta State yesterday blamed the ongoing protest over alleged hijack of a pipeline surveillance job on some contactors who lost out.
Some youths, who claimed to be representing the aforementioned ethnic nationalities, had barricaded roads, alleging the hijack of the pipeline surveillance contract of the Trans-Forcados Crude Oil Trunkline under OML 30.
At an emergency meeting, the youth leaders warned the protesters to end the uproar, as it could force government to cancel the contract and throw a lot of them out of job.
The President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare, who spoke on behalf others, stated that the leaders were shocked by the report of protests by some youths and ex-militants against the alleged plot to seize the job.