The commander, Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, has warned that henceforth surveillance contractors protecting oil pipelines would be held accountable for any damage to the pipelines in their areas of coverage.
Suleiman gave the warning Friday at an emergency meeting with the surveillance contractors in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital.
The Commander who stressed the need for the contractors to be proactive in discharging their duties expressed concern over increased incidents of destruction of the nation’s critical assets.
Suleiman remarked that the meeting dwelt on the need for cooperation between pipeline workers and pipeline maintenance groups, issues of breakage of pipeline within contractors line and responsiblites of surveillance contractors, he said.
Other issues he said were the need for the surveillance contractors to provide their employees the needed working materials, report irregularities of members and criminals to the outfit.
He revealed that some workers with the outfits connive with criminals to commit vandalism, and maintained that a detail of the outfits workers was imperative in their operations.
The JTF commander also warned oil companies to monitor and repair obsolete pipelines emphasizing that the official mandate of Operation Delta Safe (ODS) was centred on the protection of oil and gas installations and prevention of crimes.
He further called on the oil companies to closely monitor the activities of the contractors adding that companies whose workers were found wanting would be held accountable for any breach of the pipelines. On the communities, the commander urged host communities to work closely with surveillance contractors in protecting pipelines across the communities and environs, noting that the command would continue to ensure that interest of the communities as contained in their GMU with the companies was protected.
He stressed the need for the community people to refrain from taking laws into their hands by blocking the operations of the oil ocmpnaies or harbouring criminals who fled the scene of crime to hide in the communities.
However, some of the surveillance contractors accused the oil companies of not providing them with needed equipment to enable them function effectively.
In same manner, some community representatives blamed the oil companies for the tensions in the areas, saying they either reneged on their obligations as agreed upon in the GMU or applied divide-and-rule tactics.