“Why destroying a barge on mere suspicion of involvement in crude oil theft or oil bunkering without proper investigation? To whose advantage are the destroyed evidences?”
Stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas sector have decried the actions of the men of Operation Delta Safe and Tantita Security Services who set ablaze Barge FP Amangwu reportedly owned by First Priority Limited and burnt down a waste treatment facility belonging to Mawe Services Limited just on the mere suspicion of involvement in crude oil theft or oil bunkering without proper investigation.
The stakeholder group, who claimed to have extensive knowledge of the industry and information about the transaction that triggered the shameful and condemnable actions of the security operatives, noted that the wanton destruction of property, people’s means of livelihood and environmental damage has become the modus operandi these agencies.
Referring to similar instance in the past, the group said that the burning of the FP Amangwu and Mawe Services Limited facility is just another instance of the countless reprehensible acts of the blatant disregard for due process and rule of law that characterizes the operations of security operatives in our oil and gas industry.
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In a statement signed by Sekibo Joan for League of Seafarers and Crude Merchants (LSCM), the group said that setting ablaze Barge FP Amangwu and Mawe Services Limited facility within 24 hours of arrest amounts to destruction of evidence and willful attempt to conceal information and facts.
“To whose advantage are the destroyed evidences?”, the group asked, and pointed out that with the manner the operations were carried out, there could more to the issue than what was publicized by the security operatives, especially when available facts suggested that the security agencies acted alone without engaging the relevant government agencies and oil and gas regulators and Petralon 54 Limited, the company that was reported to have engaged Barge FP Amangwu to barge legally produced and government authorized crude oil from its operated Dawes Island Marginal Field to close proximity to the offtake terminal – the Ajapa FPSO, operated by Britannia – U Nigeria Limited.
“In recent times, we have noted the high-handedness, unlawfulness and irresponsibility of security operatives on our waterways, and by this notification, we call on the federal government to sanitise the space for increased efficiency in the Nigerian oil and sector”, the group stated.
Rather than act as enablers of a process that would support Nigeria in meeting its crude oil quota, the security operatives have become a stumbling block, forging dirty alliances that now constrain the attainment of the country’s economic goals. Aside from the visible economic losses their actions cause, the security operatives are also setting the country back by contributing to our carbon footprint by consistently burning citizens’ means of livelihood, which makes a mockery of responsible citizens’ determination to withstand the effects of climate change, and this is indeed unacceptable and unconscionable.
Clearly, if the activities of these operatives are not checked, they will become a hindrance not only to national economic prosperity, but also to the citizens, who struggle to operate in our challenging business environment and still contribute their quota to the nation’s economy, but get harassed by some imprudent security operatives, or state agencies.
As concerned Nigerians and stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, we urge the relevant government agencies to conduct a rigorous and transparent investigation into this matter because the lack of proper investigation and haste with which actions were taken regarding the destruction of Barge FP Amangwu, and the waste treatment facility suggests a foul play.
In fact, we are almost certain that there may be more to the matter and a detailed investigation involving all parties to the transaction may help in developing a better security framework for our waterways.