Group Accuses Aiteo of Frustrating Reduction of Oil Theft in N’Delta

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Sylvester Idowu in Warri

The Niger Delta Oil and Gas Monitoring Group (NDO&GMP) Monday again accused Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production, operators of Nembe Creek Trunk Line (NCTL), of orchestrating a campaign of calumny against the
Commander of Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, and his operatives in an attempt to frustrate the successful reduction of oil theft in the Niger Delta region.

The group, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator Biukeme
Pereteibo and Secretary Tolaifa Government decried the Aiteo management and its Chief Executive Officer Benedict Peters’ persistence to scuttle the relative peace being enjoyed in the region for selfish benefits.

Aiteo’s Chief Executive Officer Peters and the Commander of JTF have been having altercations over the sponsors of penultimate Friday’s protest at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja by a group of youths calling for the removal of Rear Admiral Apochi.

The JTF boss had accused Peters of being behind the protest which the company reacted to last Monday absolving the Aiteo’s boss.

But NDO&GMP in its reaction to the development, accused Aiteo and its chief executive officer of being behind the protest and last Saturday’s press conference addressed by Niger Delta Ethnic Youths led by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) President Oweillami Peretubo, who also called for the removal of the security chief.

NDO&GMP wondered where the said protesters got the money to hire buses and print glossy banners for the protest and the press conference held at a posh
hotel by ethnic nationality youths in Warri if not from Peters that has the resources to fund such project.

The group alleged that it had it on good authority that over N200 million had been budgeted for the campaign to remove the JTF Commander by Aiteo, adding that N30 million was disbursed for the Warri press conference held by “the so called ethnic nationality youths” for the exercise.

The group noted that it is obvious in Aiteo’s reactions, as published by
various national newspapers that the company has an aim which is to remove the JTF boss by all means.

“We are aware that Aiteo has been engaged in illegal activities, including oil bunkering. We reported our observations to the JTF. It is the efforts of the security outfit to curb the activities of this
company that makes it to react this way by sponsoring the protest and press conferences to impugn on the integrity of the naval boss.

“Is it only Aiteo that is operating in the Niger Delta? If Admiral Apochi is involved in illegal oil bunkering as alleged by Aiteo, why are other IOCs not also complaining? The JTF boss is supervising other security agencies like Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, NSCDC and DSS, why are these agencies not reporting to their offices for action?” It asked.

The group appealed to the media not to allow themselves to be used by the
Aiteo management and others to thwart the good job JTF is doing in the region.

“The oil thieves have a lot of money to throw around to thwart any process that will disturb their illegal operations. So, we appeal to the media to be wary of those coming to them with phantom allegation. Please do your investigations properly before any further publications
so as not to discourage those trying to change things around for good,” it pleaded.

NDO&GMP also urged the Defence Headquarters to wade in and investigate
the activities of Aiteo and save the Niger Delta region from another crisis.

Efforts made to get Aiteo’s reaction proved abortive as calls made to the phone of the firm’s Public Relations Manager, Mr. Ndiana Mathew, were not answered and the SMS sent to the same number was not answered.