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JTF has compromised, we seek review of its operations in Niger Delta Region, says Council

Mr Pereotubo Oweilaemi(3rd from right) the factional leader of the Ijaw Youth Council, who led the news briefing

By Nathaniel Obrute
 The Niger Delta Ethnic
Nationalities Youth Leaders Council (NDENYLC) has appealed to the Federal Government to review the current Joint Task Force (JTF) operations in the region.

 The group stated this in a
communique issued on Saturday at the end of its Second Quarterly
Meeting held  in Warri.
The group leaders who expressed
displeasure over the rising wave of illegal bunkering and other criminal
activities in the coastal region said reviewing the JTF operations would help
to strengthen it to serve original purpose.
They alleged that the current JTF
Code name ‘Operation Delta Safe’ had compromised by way of aiding illegal
bunkering activities.
“The various ethnic
nationalities youth leaders of Niger Delta region worried over the activities
of the JTF Code name ” Operation Delta Safe” in recent times have
encouraged unabated illegal oil bunkering in the region.
“The JTF set up in 2003 to
fight against illegal oil in recent times has encouraged unabated illegal oil
bunkering in the region.
” It has compromise its
mandate of protecting oil installations, discouraged bunkering and militancy
under the watch of the Commander, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi.
” Presently, the Coastal
fringes at Bonny and Bille in Rivers are being identified as bunkering hot
“Also, Nembe in Bayelsa and
other coastal communities across the region are being flooded with bunkering
” Based on that, we call on
the government to review the current structure of the JTF operation in the
region with a view to strengthening it to serve its original purpose,” the
group said.
They also demanded that the
security of oil facilities be carried out in partnership with the host
communities to save cost.
“There should be an
immediate change of button  if government must win the battle against
crude oil theft,” they said.
Mr Pereotubo Oweilaemi, the
factional leader of the Ijaw Youth Council read the communique to journalists
in the presence of the youth leaders.
Fielding questions from newsmen,
Oweilaemi said their action had no link with the June 1 protest by some
aggrieved Niger Delta youth in Abuja.
The communique was signed by 20
youth leaders including Oweilaemi across the Niger Delta among whom were: Mr
Mathew Dighi, President, Ogoni Youth Council, Mr Eric Oluwole, President,
Yoruba Youth Council.
Others were: Mr Edeki Ahanmisi,
President, Owan Youth Council, Mr Okodugha Aluyah, President, Edo Youth Leaders
Council, Mr Terry Obieh, President, Urhobo Youth Council, Mr Stephen Okoko,
President, Ibibio Youth Council among others.
Effort to speak with the
spokesman of the JTF command, Major Ibrahim Abdullahi for comment was
unsuccessful neither did he responded to the text message put across to him.
But Apochi had earlier refuted
the allegation levelled against him through a cell phone that JTF was involved
in aiding illegal oil bunkering and challenged those accusing him 
to show proof.

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