The Joint Task Force deployed in the Niger Delta code-named Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) has described as fake news the reports purporting that troops were invading Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State.
It also dismissed as false reports that aggrieved tanker drivers had embarked on protest and barricaded the East-West Road over unknown grievance.
Major Ibrahim Abdullahi, spokesman of the OPDS, who debunked the reports on Tuesday in Yenagoa, described them as hoax, saying they were fabricated by mischief-makers to dent the reputation of the security task force and cause confusion.
He said, “Operation Delta Safe has noticed with dismay that desperate and disgruntled elements within society have vowed to foment trouble by spreading unfounded rumours aimed at misinforming the public and creating panic.
“The string of these rumours began with reports that Conoil facilities/pipeline at Koluama 1 settlement of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area (of Bayelsa State) have been attacked and blown up on January 5 2019. The report turned out to be fake.
“Furthermore, between January 19 and 22, 2019, another fake news started rearing its ugly head again.
“This time, the mischief makers alleged that military gunboats and fighter aircraft were laying siege to Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area in preparation for an attack.
“This was equally confirmed to be fake.
“Again, it was alleged that the tanker drivers’ union, Bayelsa chapter planned to block the East-West Road for unknown reasons on Tuesday January 22, 2019, which was also confirmed to be fake news.”
Abdullahi said the false reports were designed to create panic and an atmosphere of insecurity to lives and property within the Niger Delta region.
He stated that the OPDS did not have issues with the environment it was operating, stressing that, “We have maintained peace, law and order as far as our mandate is concerned.
“We strongly call on these mischief makers, rumour mills and desperadoes to desist from their nefarious activities.
“We equally enjoin the media to verify the authenticity of news stories before going to the press. All the critical oil and gas infrastructure are secured and production is ongoing.”