YENAGOA – The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), a socio-cultural organisation in the Niger Delta, has urged the Chief of Naval Staff to arrest unsustainable levels of oil theft in the region.
The IYC gave the task in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Eric Omare, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yenagoa on Sunday.
The statement said the threat issued by Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jubrin, to chief executives of oil companies on the menace of oil theft was mere rhetorics.
NAN recalls that Jubrin had threatened that he would soon punish officers and name multinational companies who are complicit in the oil theft.
However, the council urged the Naval Chief to take drastic measures to curtail the menace of oil theft which had assumed alarming proportions.
“The IYC is not impressed by the mere threat issued by the Chief of Naval staff rather than taking drastic actions to arrest the ongoing environmental genocide in the Niger Delta called ‘oil theft’.
“The statement by the Chief of Naval Staff is nothing other than the usual rhetoric of government and security agencies to the problem of oil theft.
“We wish to state for the umpteenth time that the people involved in the business of oil scam are top politicians, serving and retired military personnel, oil company executives and their foreign collaborators.
“The Niger-Delta locals are used as artisans.
“The involvement of these high profiled persons in the business of oil theft is the reason why the government and security agencies have not been able to summon the courage and political will to bring oil theft to a stop.
“The resultant effect of this government’s dereliction of duty and security agencies complicity in oil theft is massive despoliation of the Niger-Delta environment,” the IYC statement read in part.
The IYC regretted that the pollution associated with oil theft had polluted the flora and fauna of the Niger-Delta, which the predominantly fishing and farming people depend on resulting to diminished catch for fishermen and low yield to farmers. [eap_ad_1] It explained that the pollution by oil theft was worsened by the crude methods deployed by security agencies which usually spill the oil into the environment in the process of destroying materials used for oil theft.
“Though the security agencies may be celebrating this primitive approach of burning camps and spilling oil as a success in the fight against oil theft.
“In actual fact, it has caused more damage to the Niger-Delta environment than addressing the problem of oil theft,” he said.
The IYC urged the federal government to initiate a community based oil facilities surveillance programme which would ensure that each community takes the responsibility for the protection of oil facilities within its domain.
The group suggested that the surveillance scheme should use the template of the amnesty programme with the involvement of critical stakeholders in the Niger-Delta.
The group maintained that it strongly believes that nobody can protect oil facilities better than the Niger Delta people and communities. (NAN)