…Accuses top military officers of aiding oil thieves
Port Harcourt — Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, on Monday said it was time for Nigeria to consider the damage caused by activities of crude oil thieves to the economic mainstay of the country and treat them as treasonable offenders.
The governor also disclosed that the fight to stop oil theft has continued to fail because top ranking officers of the military are deeply involved in it.
Governor Wike made the observation when he hosted the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao, on courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday.
The governor noted that it is not only the waste caused the economy that is problem with oil theft, but also the degradation that the environment suffers as a result of that and the negative impact on rural communities in Rivers State.
He said: “You know this bunkering cannot stop; let’s be serious about it, everybody is involved. The military is involved. Police is involved. The Nigeria Civil Defence Corps is involved. If not, there is no way bunkering can continue. It’s a terrible thing.
“I don’t know, whether we should take the issue of bunkering to even be more serious than treason. If you go around and see what has happened to our environment, you’ll have pity on us.”
Governor Wike also wants members of the military taskforce deployed to arrest the illegal oil bunkers to find a better and environmentally friendly way to destroying bunkering sites in the state.
He said when they blow-up and set those sites on fire, they increase soot in the atmosphere that have become another grave environmental concern in Rivers State.
“If there is another civilised way to go about it, so that while you’re doing the right thing, let us not die. You should find another way to reduce this soot. Unfortunately, we have no helper. On the other hand, we continuing praying to God to touch the minds of these bunkers,” he said.
Commenting on the war against insurgency, the Governor noted that greater success can be achieved by deploying more military strategies, which is better than media publicity.
“When you’re wining a war, the people will feel it. When people are secured, you don’t need to go to television on tell them that they’re secured. They’ll know from the environment that there are a lot of changes going on and that is the way Nigerians believe that, yes, we are wining the war against insurgency,” he said.
Governor Wike pointed out that the prevailing peace in Rivers State was achieved because of the existing cooperation between all the heads of security with the state government.
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao, said he was on operational visit to 115 Special Operation Group in Rivers State and decided to pay a courtesy visit to the governor, who has contributed immensely to the functioning of the Airforce base in Port Harcourt.
Air Marshall Amao thanked Governor Wike for the financial support that was given to families of officers that died in the line of duty in the state.