18 May 2016, Sweetcrude, Lagos — Delta communities hosting the facilities of Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL have given the company 72 hours ultimatum to clarify the identity of alleged militants arrested by the military.
The communities had rubbished claims by the military that the five persons arrested over the weekend were militants responsible for bombing oil and gas facilities in the area.
The communities said contrary to the reports, the five alleged militants were actually contracted workers for the American oil giants, inspecting earlier bombed pipelines ahead of the visit of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) team to inspect the extent of damage when the military troops swooped on them.
Chairman of Kokodiagbene, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, who spoke on behalf of the oil producing communities in the area stated that the workers were with their identification cards and were ferried to the site in Chevron’s boat, adding that their explanations of been sent to inspect the site fell on deaf ears as they were taken to the military base at Koko and locked up.
Comrade Mulade expressed dismay over the lukewarm attitude of the management of Chevron over the arrest of its five workers branded Avengers.
He said: “It is pertinent to state that we are no longer safe in the hands of security agents going by the constant harassment of our people. We have handed a 72-hour ultimatum to Chevron to ensure the release of those arrested oil workers and if they fail to do this, we will withdraw all our services from all the oil companies including, Shell, Chevron, NPDC and Neconde.
“We are not Niger Delta Avengers. We are law abiding citizens of Nigeria and those workers were doing their legitimate work when the JTF pounced on them and arrested them, thereafter proclaiming to the world that they have arrested Avengers.
“They should adopt more of intelligence in doing their work otherwise they would end up killing innocent people in the communities.”