29 May 2012, Sweetcrude, PORT HARCOURT – THE Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta region, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in the country of not doing enough to curb oil theft in the region.
Making the allegation on Monday, Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai, commander of the 2 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Port Harcourt, said at the Brigade headquarters while briefing the media that the principal players in the nation’s oil sector was insincere in the fight against the massive oil theft in the creeks of thr region.
“Oil theft is a major issue. It is an issue of national concern. If all the oil companies and indeed the NNPC will co-operate and work together, I want to assure you that we are going to completely stamp out oil theft in the Niger Delta,” he said.
The commander, who spoke through the spokesman of the brigade added: “I want to say that the major stakeholders in the oil industry are not quite sincere in the approach towards fighting oil theft in the Niger Delta.
“You have heard our achievements in that area within one month. If you go back to our previous achievements, it triples this present one.
“We had an assessment of the pipelines in the past. We discovered over 56 of those illegal bunkering sites and they belong to an oil company and the NNPC is a major shareholder in that oil company.
“Unfortunately as I talk to you, I have not been told that even one of the people involved has been picked. So, where will you get the solution to oil bunkering?”
But, Levi Ajuonuma, spokesman of NNPC, has promptly denied the accusation, challenging the JTF to make public the identities of those they arrested.
He said: “The allegation is unfounded and it shows that the JTF has abandoned their duties to play politics.They should show evidence to support their allegation.
“The JTF should show proof of NNPC’s complicity by making public all those they arrested and demonstrating to Nigerians that such thieves have any link either directly or indirectly with the NNPC”.