….JTF, ex-militant leader, Bayelsa residents deny attack
By Emma Amaize & Sam Oyadongha
YENAGOA—CONFUSION, yesterday, trailed the alleged bomb attack on Conoil facility in Bayelsa State, as a Niger Delta militant group called Koluama Seven Brothers, said it carried out a “warning” strike on the facility, while the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, and residents said it was not true.
The attack was allegedly carried out by the group on Friday.
The militants also threatened a production shut down at the facility.
The Koluama Seven Brothers said in a statement it would carry out further strikes if its demands, including job creation, were not met by the company and a traditional leader.
Conoil operates six highly prospective blocks in the Niger Delta and produces over 80,000 barrels of oil per day, according to information on its website.
JTF, NSCDC, residents deny attack
Meanwhile, the military and community sources in Bayelsa State, have described media reports of militants’ attack on an oil pipeline in Koluama 1, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state as “fake news.”
Maj. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Spokesman for the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, condemned the reports in an interview, yesterday.
Abdullahi described the reports as a hoax and the handiwork of mischief makers aimed at misinforming the public.
“After exhaustive verifications following enquiries from media practitioners, we found out that no such incident happened. We enjoin the media to crosscheck their facts before rushing to the press to avoid publishing falsehood such as this report,” Abdullahi said.
Also, James Dou, a resident of the area said. on phone that Koluama 1 had been peaceful since the New Year with the joint military task force frequently patrolling the waterways.
“I am in Koluama 1 as we speak and there is no report of any attack on Conoil or any oil facility nearby. I did not hear any explosion neither did I hear anyone discuss it,” Dou said.
Mr Mathew Sele-Epri, a community leader in Koluama 1 and Chairman, KEFFES Rural Development Board, said the report was false.
“There is no such incident. If it happened I should have known. I have made contact with my people back home and there is nothing like that; it is fake news,” the community leader said.
Similarly, Chairman, Reuwell Oil and Gas and ex-militant leaders, Clifford Wilson, aka General Pastor Reuben Wilson, also dismissed the attack.
He said, “The Reuwells Oil and Gas Surveillance Company, an indigenous company in charge of security surveillance of Conoil rigging activities in Koluama, Southern Ijaw council of Bayelsa State, wants to deny the reported claim that there was a bomb attack on the facilities owned by the energy company in our area.
“The news about the attack is nothing but hoax that only existed in the imagination of the misguided youths masquerading as militant group and geared towards creating panic, blackmail and to arm-twist the company into succumbing to threat in the area.
“As a surveillance security company, we are fully on ground and working with the military personnel of Operation Delta Safe, ODS, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, patrolling every nooks and crannies of Conoil activities.
“We urge the misguided youths to shun the idea of attacking any facilities in the area as they will be resisted with brutal force.
“We urge the peace loving people of Koluama to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement of person or persons that may want cause violence of any sort on any oil facility in the area,” he said.
An official of NSCDC contacted by Vanguard in Yenagoa, said: “As far as I know, there was no attack on any oil facility within our area of jurisdiction in Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa State.”