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Published On: Mon, Feb 11th, 2013

JTF Investigates Soldiers Involvement in Oil Theft

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The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta region, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, on Thursday ordered the immediate establishment of a panel to investigate an allegation that some of its soldiers in Rivers State were involved in oil theft.
The military outfit saddled with the protection of Nigerian oil wealth was said to have insisted that the soldiers must be probed to determine their involvement in oil theft at the Ososike area of Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State.

The panel constituted by the Commander of the JTF,Major-General Bata Debiro, is to be chaired by the outfit sector two commander.
It was learnt, the body would find out if the accused soldiers attached to the 29th Battalion were culpable of stealing the petroleum product identified as dual purpose kerosene.
The Head of the Joint Media Coordinating Centre, Lt. Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, told our correspondent that the accused soldeirs, whose names were kept secret, were on official duties in the area.
He said they were deployed to the area by their Commanding Officer,Col. Peter Mala, to protect a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He said the soldiers were deployed to the area at about 2am on February 6, after a tip-off that some bandits were about vandalising the pipeline to scoop the product.
He said the soldiers while guarding the facility prevented HYSERP delegation from accessing the location.
He said, “The protection of the damaged site includes preventing unauthorised persons from accessing the facilities. The soldiers had stopped the visiting HYSERP delegation from accessing the location and the denial of access by soldiers must have angered the team and triggered the erroneous perception that the soldiers were involved in a theft.”

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