The Nigeria Union of Petroleum & Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have accused members of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) of complicity in oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
The president of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, alleged that some members of the JTF connive with oil thieves.
"The truth is that security agents are involved in oil bunkering and vandalisation of pipelines. My concern here is that those of them who are burning trucks are involved in the bunkering activities. Security agents, the Army, Navy, police, Airforce are all involved, because the Joint Task Force is made up of all of them," he said.
Speaking in the same vein, chairmen of the Rivers State chapter of the TUC, Chika Onuegbu said, "We want to say that NUPENG is right about the fact that many members of the JTF in the Niger Delta are in alliance with some of the criminal gangs in the region that are involved in oil bunkering and pipeline vandalisation. The truth is that until the JTF purges itself of these criminally minded officers, no reasonable progress will be made in the fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalization."
Reacting to the allegation, the acting spokesman of the JTF Operation Pulo Shield, Captains Sunny Samuel, challenged NUPENG and TUC to come forward with evidence on JTF personnel who are involved in the act.
"Some of those making the accusation engage in oil bunkering, and their businesses are being affected by the JTF operation. Our fight against oil theft is yielding results. We challenge those making this unfounded accusation to mention names of those involved," he said.