Abuja, Nigeria | – Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has assured oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region of the country that the government is taking necessary actions to protect strategic assets in the region from vandals and militants.
The president gave the assurance in Abuja, the country’s capital city on Friday at a meeting with the Global Director (Upstream) of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Andrew Brown.
Buhari said he had directed the Chief of Naval Staff to strengthen the military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the region to deal with the resurgence of militancy and the sabotage of oil installations.
The Nigerian President told his guest that the operations of the JTF were also being enhanced with increased support and cooperation from the United States and European Union in the areas of training, intelligence, equipment and logistics.
The president urged aggrieved persons, militants and communities in the Niger Delta to drop their confrontational stance and partner with relevant agencies in ensuring speedy development of the region. Buhari praised the resilience of Shell in Nigeria in spite the operational challenges of the environment.
He urged the company to do its best to end gas-flaring in the Niger Delta and produce more gas for electricity generation to support manufacturing and job creation in the country.
Earlier, Brown appealed for an urgent solution to rising crime and militancy in the Niger Delta. The Shell executive also dispelled speculations that the company was pulling out of Nigeria.
He said on the contrary, Shell was currently in discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on new joint oil and gas projects.
A new militant group has launched a violent campaign of vandalizing pipelines and blowing up critical oil facilities in parts of the oil-rich region. The group has claimed responsibility for the destruction of oil facilities in Warri, Delta State South-South Nigeria.
These include a Royal Dutch Shell production facility, a Chevron Valve Platform in Abiteye, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) crude and gas lines in the state.