By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”Against the backdrop of alleged plan by some persons to attack a giant oil facility, Sea Eagle vessel, belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company in Bayelsa State, the Joint Task Force yesterday warned those behind the plot to have a rethink in their own interest.
The Joint Task force warned that the declaration of general amnesty and other measures taken by the Federal Government to consolidate the gains of the amnesty programme have not in any way diminished its vast capacity and capability as a military outfit.
Shell had earlier said it was taking steps to protect a giant oil facility floating off the Nigerian coast from attacks by â€œcriminal elements.â€
The oil major said it had evidence that its Sea Eagle vessel, which is designed to store up to 1.4m barrels of oil, â€œcould be boarded by force of arms and set on fireâ€.
It said any attack on the ship, which has been permanently moored nine miles off the Western Niger Delta since December, could result in â€œunimaginable carnageâ€ in both human and environmental terms.
The SPDC, the report added, also took the step of taking out full-page advertisements in the Nigerian press on Sunday, designed to warn militants that the company was aware of their intentions.
â€œThese hoodlums allegedly plotting to blow up the Sea Eagle are criminal elements bent on pursuing their personal gains, and do not have the interests of the communities at heart,â€ the advertisement read.
Shell, which accounts for roughly half of Nigeriaâ€™s 2m barrels of daily production, had to close down plants for its workersâ€™ safety, shutting in 320,000 barrels a day at one point.
The group declared force majeure on its export commitments, which will apply until 19 May. A Shell helicopter was hit and damaged by gunfire while evacuating staff last month. Yesterday, the company also said it was losing 100,000 barrels of oil a day to thieves, who tapped pipelines at night.
However, the Joint Task Force, through its Coordinator Joint Media Campaign Centre, Lt Col Timothy Antigha, Sunday warned the mastermind of the plot not to dare its might.