24 July 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Youths in Bolo Community, Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State, have called on the Federal Government to provide them scholarship and employment after stopping them from indulging in oil theft and illegal refinery business.
They also called for the establishment of cottage industries in the area to stem the tide of idleness by youths who have been stopped from artisanal refinery business.
According to them, they cannot fish in the rivers anymore because the waters have been highly-polluted by crude oil.
Speaking to newsmen who were recently on a tour to creeks decimated by the Nigerian Navy in the area, the Crown Prince of Bolo Community, Mr. Tamunotonye Abolo, said the youths were engaged in illegal refinery operations and illegal bunkering because of unemployment.
Abolo said the community was happy that illegal bunkering activities have been stopped in the area but that the youths have been left idle with no job to make a living from.
According to him, “We are happy that the government has stopped us from bunkering, but life has become difficult now as we do not have any other jobs to earn a living from.
“We need government to give us scholarships, jobs and also build us industries so that we will not be idle.
“We cannot fish again on the rivers because the waters are stinkingly polluted with crude oil.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Pathfinder, in Port Harcourt reports that the fight against oil theft and illegal bunkering has been a success especially with the use of swamp buggy to decimate illegal refinery sites.
Executive Officer, NNS Pathfinder, Navy Captain Victor Choji, who described illegal refinery business as central to other contingent crimes and criminal activities, urged youths to channel their energy and ingenuity to legitimate businesses.
Choji, who was reacting to the claims by the Ogu/Bolo youths, explained that there was no excuse for crime, emphasising that the Navy would not rest on its oars in ensuring that crimes and criminalities were tackled.
“If they (repentant illegal refiners) can be self-employed with illegitimate business, they can also be able to keep themselves employed with legitimate business,” he said.