Lawmakers in Akuru-Tolu Local Government Area, Rivers State have accused Belemaoil of sponsoring militants from neighbouring states to attack assets belonging to Shell in another twist to the ongoing OML 25 crisis.
Nelson Whoknows and Victor Sam said Belemaoil wanted to chase Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, away in order to level the ground for a smooth takeover of the OML.
However, Belemaoil Producing Limited denied the allegation.
The lawmakers who spoke at a peace meeting convened by Governor Nyesom Wike to resolve the dispute between Shell and host communities over OML 25, which led to shutting down of oil production for two years, said they were informed by community members in the two wards that Tein Jack-Rich Jr has hired thugs and militants from neighbouring states to disrupt operations and production of SPDC following the renewal of the company’s licence to operate OML 25.
They said the thugs have taken over OML25 and have resorted to terrorising the sea routes and vandalising pipelines belonging to SPDC and AITEO.
They also said that a meeting was held by some persons in the area where they also agreed to shut down the operations of Newcross Exploration and Production
Reacting to the allegation, the Acting Managing Director of BelemaOil, Mufa Welch, said the company had no hand in the closure of OML 25, stressing that the host communities, however, prefer BelemaOil to take over the oil field.
“With the way we operate, the communities are bent towards us. That OML has been closed for almost two years, we have nothing in the shutdown of the OML 25,” he stated.