Delta Oil Community Killing: Navy Denies Invasion *Accuses Media Of Sensationalism

navy2The Nigerian Navy has denied and disproved claims of its alleged invasion of the oil-rich Ugborodo community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State.

Although it recognised that there was fracas in the area between the Arotun and Madagho communities in Warri South-West, it insisted that “the Task Force remained neutral in the crisis”, and was not involved in the intra-communal feud in Ugborodo community.

While admonishing media professionals in the country to guide against sensationalism in their reportage, the Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Sidi-Ali Hassan Usman, during a press conference at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, Naval Base Warri, described the reported invasion and killing of people in Ugborodo as entirely false and baseless.

He said there was “no confrontation with any community or group of persons” whatsoever involving members of the security ad hoc security task force, which comprises the Navy, Army, Air Force and the police.

The text of the press statement issued on Monday, January 06, 2014 read in part:

“The attention of the Nigerian Navy has been drawn to The Nation Newspaper of Sunday, January 5, 2014 report headlined, ‘Three feared dead as naval gunboats storm oil-rich Delta Community’. The report alleged that naval gunboats were involved in operations that led to the killing of some persons in Delta State.

“We wish to draw the attention of the media and the public to the facts that, till this moment, no naval gunboats were involved in any operation that led to shootout or the alleged loss of lives as reported by The Nation Newspaper.

“The command wishes to state that it recognises the roles of the media in the realisation of the Nigerian Navy objectives. However, circulating reports that are untrue, unverified and baseless will only heat the polity, which is not in the good interest of the Nigeria Navy and indeed the nation at large. Additionally, it would not engender the partnership that exists between the Nigerian Navy and the other stakeholders, particularly the media, towards the provision of adequate security and elimination of criminality in our maritime environment for national development.”

Admiral Usman further explained that the necessity and modality for the formation of the ad-hoc security committee at the instance of the Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, stressing that the Nigerian Navy was not involved in the intra-communal feud in Ugborodo community or any other community in the state for that matter.

According to him, the fracas in the area was only between the Arotun and Madagho communities in Warri South-West, “which the Task Force remained neutral in the crisis.”

“At this juncture, I would like to put the record straight, that the task force was formed to ensure the security of the proposed site of the federal government multi-billion dollars gas city project; to keep open the sea lanes of communication and secure Key Points and Vulnerable Points. Additional, the task force had no confrontation with any community or group of persons”, he further said.

“The setting up of the task force was a result of the Delta State Security Council meeting of 30 December, 2013 to provide security in the proposed site for the federal government multi-billion dollar Gas City in Escravcos (and) it comprises the Navy, the Air Force, Nigeria Police and Department of State Service for the security of the area.

“Notwithstanding the misgivings of the said report by The Nation Newspaper, it is important to thank you for the continued support of the Nigerian Navy programmes and policies toward the realisation of Mr. President’s National Transformation Agenda.”

With the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command during the press conference were the Commanding Officer, NNS Delta, Commodore Mohammed Sanni Garba, Commodore V.C. Okeke, Navy Captain Hauna Zeggo and Navy Captain S.S. Garba of the Naval Air Station, Warri.

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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