Investors laud government, OGFZA for drop in piracy around Onne Free Zone
In February the Managing Director of OGFZA, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, wrote a letter to the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, to draw attention to deteriorating security around the seaport, marked by increase in the incidence of piracy and its consequential impact on investments in the area, particularly in the oil and gas free zones.
The initiative by Umana led to a security meeting with the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, and a subsequent deployment of several warships and patrol boats to secure the region and provide safe passage for commercial shipping. The better protection for shipping in the region’s waterways has helped to significantly bring down the rate of pirate attacks on shipping, as well as sabotage of oil and gas facilities in the area, FOC Oluwole said in a recent interaction with the management of OGFZA.
Commenting on the security outlook in the port area, the terminal operator of Indorama/Eleme Petrochemicals Limited at Onne Free Zone, Manjunath Gowdara said, “Security has improved since the Umana administration came into office. For about three months now, there’s zero incidence of attacks both on land and at sea.”
Port security report states that Indorama security alert level has been lowered from level two to one in the wake of the significant improvement in security around the free zone.
The Operations Manager of Brawal Oil Services Limited, Mr. Michael Agha and the Commercial Manager of the company, Mr. Ifeanyi Odili-Nwamana, made similar remarks, stating that the new management of OGFZA has helped to improve security in the zone. “There has been improved security and reduced militancy in the port,” Agha said.
He said the management of Brawal was pleased with Umana for his efforts at addressing security challenges in the port, especially the issue of abandoned vessels at the quayside, and would like to encourage his management and the federal authorities to sustain the enhanced security level in the zone.
Both managers said Brawal had complemented the efforts of government by putting many measures in place to improve security in the free zone.At the weekend, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-General Enobong Udoh, gave Umana another reassuring report when the OGFZA managing director paid the general a courtesy call in his office at Bori Camp in Port Harcourt.
“We have made specific security arrangements to protect lives and property as well as oil and gas assets in the region,” Gen. Udoh told Umana and his high level delegation during the courtesy visit. “I want to assure you that the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army will always support OGFZA.”
Addressing Umana’s request for more support from the 6 Division in terms of security for investors and their investments in the Oil and Gas Free Zones, GOC Udoh explained that the 6 Division was established and headquartered in Port Harcourt to regularise all the previous ad hoc security arrangements set up to address security challenges in the Niger Delta. He said also that all the brigades under the command had been strengthened and fortified to meet the challenges of criminality in the region.