Nigeria is losing over one million barrels of crude oil per day, estimated to be about N8.7 billion daily, from the on going crisis in the Niger delta
Thisday newspaper reports that: In Warri, Delta State, the raging battle between the men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and militants operating in the creeks shifted to the metropolis yesterday as men of the Nigerian Navy invaded the predominately Ijaw enclave, the “Warri Corner” and Miller waterside near the Naval Base and the Warri Port, a move that resulted in a shoot-out that lasted several hours.
In Lagos, Speaker of House of Representatives Dimeji Bankole said that the military operation in region is peace-keeping”.
Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), said the fall in the production was sad and should be of concern to all.
“Nigeria has a production capacity of 3.2 million barrels a day. Today we are down to about less than half of that in terms of production. There are over one million shut in. I think it is something that should concern all of us.
“I understand that the military high command is about issuing a statement and theirs will be more accurate and precise. I will say however that the loss of lives whether the militants or members of the armed forces is sad. I mean, they are all Nigerians and so we will try and do what we can to prevent loss of lives.
Everything this administration has been doing is to restrain the military in its activities to try and minimise loss of lives,” he said.
Ajumogobia lamented that the huge loss comes from onshore production which is the most lucrative source of revenue to the government.
“To take one example, Shell has lost most of its production in the East; is completely shut down. The irony of it is that onshore is the cheapest to produce and therefore the return on that investment is greater but that is where we have most of the shut-ins,” he said.
Commenting on the effects of the bombing in the region on the environment, the Minister of the Environment, Chief John Odey, said: “Of course, there are implications as far as environment issues are concerned on human activities generally. If there are any adverse effects of the actions of militants or even the military, it could affect the environment adversely.
Let us even talk about the oil spillage. That, of course, will negatively impact on the soil and at the same time pollute the water. And this water is of course a source of resource for us.”
Yesterday in the creeks, militants claimed to have shot down a helicopter gunship belonging to the Nigerian Navy at Oporoza.
The military authorities refused to comment on this claim last night.
Although the JTF spokesman, Col. Rabe Abubakar, said the invasion of the Ijaw enclave in the heart of Warri city centre was a continuation of its condone and search operation, the resultant gun battle triggered a stampede as workers from the nearby NNPC Zonal office which also houses the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the Warri South Local Government secretariat and the Warri ports took to their heels.
Some journalists who were in the vicinity at the time of the invasion took shelter at the nearby Police Area Command office as the bullets continued to fly for over two hours.
The JTF did not give any casualty figure but admitted that it took its “rescue operations” to Okerenkoko and Oporoza where more arms were recovered.
Abubakar, in a press statement yesterday, said: “Large quantities of arms and ammunition which include, Anti-aircraft Guns, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), locally made guns, machetes and native charms, were recovered at Okerenkoko and Oporoza Communities.”
He said: “The operations at the two communities were executed after a reliable intelligence source fingered them as grouping points for the dislodged militants from former camps presently being occupied by the JTF.”
He clarified that against insinuations from some segments of the public and the media that the JTF invaded those communities with jet fighters and helicopter gunships, “it was only the foot soldiers that searched and recovered those items mentioned… the operation was timely considering the calibre of military arsenals discovered in those locations.”