Ben Dunno, Warri
The management of Opeans Nigeria Limited, a safety training operator at Opete in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, has attributed the going investigations of its operations by operatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to a frivolous petition by a rival company based on desperation for monopoly.
Specifically, it mentioned the Managing Director of Lym Consults Nigeria Limited, Mr. Larry Otu, as the mastermind of its ongoing travails, following a running battle both have had since the company’s business interest in Warri area had grown, in leaps and bounds, insisting that Otu had resorted to peddling falsehood to pull it down.
But in swift reaction to the allegation, Mr. Larry Otu, dismissed the claim by Opeans management, insisting that the action of the operatives of EFCC in sealing off its premises was justified as the company had been defrauding Nigerian through issuance of forged international safety certifications
However, Executive Director of Opeans Nigeria Limited (ONL), Dr. Ben Nwoye, who addressed newsmen in Warri, noted that contrary to speculations that the company had been closed down, the training centre had remained open for business.
Nwoye admitted some staff of the company were arrested by the EFCC Zonal office in Benin over a petition alleging that the company was issuing International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) certificates without approval.
He described the allegation against the company as frivolous and lacking any iota of truth, explaining that the company’s staff arrested by operatives of the anti-graft agency had been released.
He also stated that the company was fully authorised and certified for operations by DPR and other safety-regulatory agencies. He added that the company had never been involved in any form of fraudulent practices since its existence.
He, however, accused the Managing Director of Lym Consults Nigeria Limited of writing the petition against his company with intent to monopolise safety training in Warri.
According to him, “the report that Opean Training Centre was sealed is falsehood. I wanted you to come down here to see for yourself. The offshore training centre is not sealed. One of your duties is for you as journalists to seek for the truth and inform the public with the truth.
“Even though I am the chairman of APC in Enugu State, I’m also a Niger Deltan both for reason of birth and by reason of blood. I was worried when I heard that my centre was raided by operatives of EFCC. I got to EFCC without invitation. I was relieved when I saw the petition that was pinned together by a young businessman, Mr Larry Otu.
“Larry Otu is the Chief Executive of Lym Consults, another offshore training firm in Warri. It didn’t come to me as a surprise as the same petition had already gone to DPR. I have been investigated by DPR on the same allegation and they found no reason to shut down the centre.
“The offshore centre is under the regulation of NNPC and under the direct supervision of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). They regulate training centres. Those of you who attended the inauguration of this centre saw that the DPR Director was represented”.
Responding to the allegations, Otu, applauded the operatives of EFCC for the sealing off of Opeans Nigeria Limited’s premises over alleged forged international safety certification, a criminal offence he said had been investigated and confirmed.
He insisted that Opeans Safety Centres had been defrauding Nigerians with fake issuance of International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) certification, following the disclaimer by the umbrella body in the United States.
Making this revelation in a statement made available to newsmen in Warri, , Otu noted that investigations conducted in US from the headquarters of IADC had proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the Opeans Nigeria Limited had been operating such training programmes in Nigeria illegally.
According to the statement, “on the issue of IADC certification forgery by Ben Nwoye and his company, Opeans Nigeria Limited, I personally wrote via email to IADC headquarters in Houston, Texas to verify if Opeans Nigeria Limited is truly IADC-approved to deliver Basis Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET), Helicopter Underwater Escape Training (HUET), Survival at Sea (SAS).
“We were all shocked when the IADC Vice President Accreditation Operations, Mark Denkowski, replied that Opeans Nigeria Limited was not an IADC-accredited training provider.
“It has also been further established in our investigations that IADC does not even offer the BOSIET and HUET programme as claimed by Opeans Nigeria Limited and other training centres operating in the country.
“That, the use of the IADC logo on training certificate by Opeans Nigeria Limited is an abuse of the IADC and its logo.
“So, let the world ask Ben Nwoye and his company, Opeans Nigeria Limited, from where they obtained the IADC accreditation that they have been using to defraud millions of naira from innocent oil and gas workers.
“On the issue of EFCC investigating Opeans Nigeria Limited over the IADC certificate forgery, that, he and other training provider, or the DPR who now know that Ben Nwoye and Opeans Nigeria Limited are issuing forged and fraudulent IADC certificates and defrauding millions of naira from oil and gas workers could have petitioned the EFCC.
“We all know the position of President Buhari and the current leadership of the EFCC on corruption – that issues bothering on corruption and fraud are not handled with kids’ gloves.
“That, if Ben Nwoye and Opeans Nigeria Limited truly have IADC accreditation to offer BOSIET, HUET and SAS trainings, which they have being doing for years, they should not be crying on the pages of newspapers or social media. But, they should simply display their ‘IADC accreditation’ for all to see.”
Otu stated that, “Lym Consults Nigeria Limited, operates the only OPITO approved/Certified Training Organization in Warri, Delta State.
“The company cannot, therefore, join issues with a company like Opeans Nigeria Limited, which the entire Nigerian oil and gas industry have come to realize that it issues fake, forged and fraudulent International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC) certificates.”
He further clarified that OPITO is the global oil and gas standard for training and skills. And that, Lym Consults Nigeria Limited is the only offshore safety training centre in Delta State that has obtained such global certification.