…Chief of Defence Staff says ‘Operation Wase’ is on stand by

Nigeria government has opted to formally use the services of the armed forces in the search for oil in the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue Trough. The step is aimed at protecting the civilian search made up of local and international oil and gas exploration experts, as well as high-tech equipment.

Oil search in the Chad Basin was suspended after a team of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Frontier Exploration Services and their consultants from the University of Maiduguri were attacked and some of them abducted on July 25, 2017. It was reported that at least about 27 people died during the attack after rescue efforts by soldiers and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF). The victims included soldiers, CJTF members, and university staff.

The then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who described the incident as a major setback to the quest for oil in northern Nigeria, promised that resumption of oil search in the Lake Chad Basin can only continue when the ministry gets a security clearance.

The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, said that NNPC has been assured of adequate military support when oil search in the listed Basins resumes. He made the submission when he led top management staff of the NNPC on a visit to the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, at his office in Abuja last Tuesday.

“Am visiting the Chief of Defence Staff as my first port of call following my appointment to seek the support of the Armed Forces to help the NNPC in re-entering the Chad Basin, Gongola and Benue Trough to enable us carry out our mandate for national development. Your support in terms of providing full security for staff and equipment is critical to us.”

He added that the corporation equally required the military to intensify efforts in the protection of NNPC’s pipelines and Right of Way (RoW) across the nook and cranny of Nigeria.

Mallam Kyari stated that the NNPC was seriously challenged due to the nefarious activities of pipeline vandals, petroleum products thieves and other economic saboteurs that breach the operations of the corporation in various parts of the country.

The GMD recounted the significance of NNPC’s contributions to the national economy, saying corporation’s synergy with the Military was critical to the well being of the nation’s economic lifeline.

Responding, the CDS, General Olonisakin, described the NNPC as a strategic corporation that would be given full military support to enable her to deliver on her mandate to the Nigerian people. “It is imperative for the Armed Forces and the NNPC to collaborate and synergize for the benefit of the country going by their various strategic roles to the nation. 

“The Armed Forces operations, code-named: Operation Wase and Operations Delta Safe, along with other operations, were geared towards protecting pipelines and various oil and gas facilities,” General Olanisakin averred.

He said the military and the NNPC had been working together and the visit of the GMD would further bolster the various operations to secure the oil and gas installations, adding that the Military had devised several strategies to stem the tide of pipeline breaches in the country.

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