‘Arrested persons in Delta are Chevron workers, not militants’
There were indications yesterday that the five persons who were arrested last Saturday by soldiers during routine patrol of the Utunana fields of Chevron Nigeria Ltd, Warri South West, Delta State are not members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) but staff of Chevron.
The five persons, comprising two Ijaw and three Itsekiri indigenes, it was learnt, are workers of the Pipelines Facility Surveillance and Protection Team who were on official duty when the soldiers ran into them in their boat.
The arrested persons, who were identified as Pamuel Emiko, Alfred Timede, Isaac Edeinde, Henry Arogboritse and Kelvin Modi, were said to be carrying official Chevron identification cards.
Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, in a text message, said “we are not making any comments at this time.”
The Guardian learnt that the workers were on official duty at the Utunana fields of a Chevron flow station when soldiers arrested them and confiscated their operational boat. The workers, according to the spokesman of the Gbaramatu communities, were working through the Itsekiri/Ijaw Regional Development Council (RDC) and the two Ijaw amongst the five arrested were from kokodiagbene, while the three Itsekiri are indigenes of Omadino.
He said: “They were doing their normal job when the army swooped on them and took them away. That is why we keep telling the military to work with their own intelligence, and not rely on the one given to them by the Itsekiri businessman, Ayiri Emami. He has been giving the military wrong information with the intention to destroy Gbaramatu kingdom.”
The spokesman disclosed that the Ijaw people have reported Ayiri’s antics to the Olu of Warri, His Majesty Ogiame Ikenwoli, with the hope that the monarch would call him to order, but that that had not happened.
“The security forces do not have credible information, that is why they arrest the wrong people.
“Fulani people have been killing innocent people all over the country but you don’t hear the President say go and crush them. Why is it that when it is Ijaw people, they want to kill them. Ayiri has been telling the military that it is Gbaramatu people that are destroying pipelines. He does not want to leave us alone,” the Gbaramatu spokesman said.
He urged the military to release the arrested people because they are chevron workers and not members of the avengers.