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Wanted suspect denies ownership of illegal refining site in Bayelsa

By Julius Osahon, Yenagoa
03 August 2022   |   4:21 am
Endurance Amagbein, wanted by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF), Operations Delta Safe (OPDS), has denied ownership of the illegal refining site marked for destruction in Igbomotoru...

File Image: In Bolo creek, villagers are illegally taking oil from Shell facilities and refining it to sell it on the black market. Around 30 to 40 illegal refineries can be found all over the creek. (Photo: Veronique de Viguerie via News24)

Endurance Amagbein, wanted by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF), Operations Delta Safe (OPDS), has denied ownership of the illegal refining site marked for destruction in Igbomotoru, Southern Ijaw Local Council of Bayelsa State by military authorities.

Amagbein, who was declared wanted by the JTF after series of raid on illegal bunkering and mining sites in the local council and neighbouring communities, said the allegations against him were lies manufactured by the military and Darlon Oil and Gas Company to get him out of circulation.

JTF had declared Amagbein wanted after taking journalists on a tour of the illegal refining sites in Igbomotoru.
After the tour, the Commander, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan, told journalists that information at their disposal clearly pointed at Amagbein and challenged him to come out of hiding to clear himself of the allegations.

While denying the allegations of intimidation and invasion of the twin communities of Igbomotoru, Hassan reiterated that JTF’s operation in the community was to stamp out illegal crude mining camps allegedly operated by the suspect.

But in a statement, yesterday, Amagbein described the allegations by the JTF as false, malicious, and mischievous and a desperate attempt to injure his reputation.

He maintained that the JTF was acting in concert with Darlon Security Company and former paramount ruler of Igbomotoru, Aseimieghe Ofongo, who was reportedly dethroned for high-handedness and embezzlement of community’s funds.

“In their desperation to incriminate me, it is over two weeks since the military under their direction arrested and incarcerated Pere Igoli, Patterson Joseph, Emmanuel Boma, Jonah Belawari and Paebi Obinne, torturing and forcing them to make statements linking me.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I, Endurance Amagbein, wish to set the record straight and state unequivocally that I am a peaceful and law-abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am not a militant leader and I do not have any dealings or connections whatsoever with any illegal crude oil mining site howsoever described in any forest,” he stated.

He used the medium to join the chiefs, elders and other leaders of Igbomotoru to urge the state government and to stop a popular oil company in the area from further mobilising youth from Olugbobiri for unproductive activities.

“More than that, the military high command is called upon to urgently investigate the actions of its officers and men and the propriety of civilians co-habiting in the same houseboat with military personnel,” he added.