By Gladys Nweke
The Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), has decried incessant fake reports of oil facilities’ attacks by militants in the Niger Delta, saying such stories were fabricated to diminish the operations of the JTF.
Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, Major Ibrahim Abdullahi, said some disgruntled elements have, since the dawn of 2019, fabricated several fake news to dent the reputation of the joint force.
Abdullahi explained that the fake reports range from attacks on Conoil pipeline in Southern Ijaw to planned blockade of East-West Road by petroleum tanker drivers, and alleged military invasion of Gbaramatu kingdom.
The JTF officer, who condemned the false reports in strong terms, called on the mischief makers and rumour mills to desist from their nefarious activities; while urging media practitioners to verify the authenticity of news stories before publication.
‘Operation Delta Safe’ has noticed with dismay that desperate and disgruntled elements within the society have vowed to foment trouble by spreading unfounded rumours aimed at misinforming the public and creating panic.
The string of these rumours began with reports that Conoil facilities/pipeline at Koluama 1 settlement of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area have been attacked and blown up on Saturday, 5th January, 2019. The report turned out to be fake.
Furthermore between Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th January, 2019, another fake story started rearing its ugly head again. This time the mischief makers alleged that military gunboats and fighter aircraft were laying siege to Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area in preparation for an attack. This was equally confirmed to be fake,” he said.
He added, again, it was alleged that the Tanker Drivers’ Union, Bayelsa State Chapter, planned to block the East-West Road on January 11 for unknown reasons which were also confirmed to be fake news.
All he said these were designed to create panic and an atmosphere of insecurity to lives and property within the Niger Delta region.
He went on: “We in ‘Operation Delta Safe’ do not have issues with the environment where we operate. We have maintained peace and law & order as far as our mandate is concerned. All the critical oil and gas infrastructures are secured and production is ongoing.
Slanderous utterances and libelous publications would not be of any profit to the society. Peace and progress thrive only in conducive atmospheres and climes devoid of falsehood, he stated.