18 April 2014, Asaba – Delta State Government, yesterday, denied a newspaper report, quoting the state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan as indicting the Joint Task Force, JTF, in crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah, in a statement, said: “In the story on the second annual Oil and Gas conference in Warri, the report quoted the governor as blaming the JTF for the increasing rate of crude oil theft. The quotes attributed to the governor on the issue are absolutely untrue.
“Dr. Uduaghan did not, at any time during his remarks at the forum, blame the security agency or any arm of the military for the spate of crude oil theft in the country. On the contrary, the governor noted that the incidence of pipeline vandalism and oil theft had reduced significantly due to the diligence of security operatives. He illustrated this with a recent incident where a naval team that apprehended some expatriates and
their Nigerian accomplices was offered money. In the governor’s words, ‘you must have heard that two to three weeks ago, some people were arrested, two expatriates and some Nigerians were arrested, and what was the story? The expatriates and Nigerians tried to bribe one of the Commanders so that he would give them free passage to their boat, but that did not work so they were arrested. It shows the commitment of the security agencies in dealing with this problem. So, we have to encourage them and that is what we have been trying to do.’
Diligence of security operatives
“Acknowledging that the diligence of security operatives is yielding positive results, Dr. Uduaghan said ‘a lot of arrests are being made, but in moving forward, a lot still needs to be done.’
“Although he spoke ex-tempore, the full transcript of his speech showed no mention of indictment on any body or organisation. Rather, the governor harped extensively on the long term impact on the environment through the crude way oil was being illegally refined. He appealed to representatives of oil producing communities to place greater emphasis on their environment which will still continue to suffer the fall out of the criminal acts many years after oil may have dried up, See Vanguard Newspaper of April 16, 2014.
“Had Uduaghan made the statements attributed to him by the said report, it would definitely have elicited immediate response from military commanders from the JTF and the Navy who were seated beside the governor. In fact, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command of Nigerian Navy, Rear-Admiral
Samuel Ilesanmi Alade, alongside the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Ade Abolurin, who are members of the Crude Oil Anti-Theft Committee headed by Dr. Uduaghan were in the conference as resource persons.
“Given that only the said report from the mainstream media attributed the false statements to the governor, it is apparent that what we may have here is a case of inadequate capacity.”