7:27 AM May 22, 2022

Oil bunkering: Security agencies’ involvement frustrates govt efforts – Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said the Nigeria’s economy will remain vulnerable and weak if illegal bunkering and artisanal refining of crude oil continues unabated, alleging that security agencies are involved in the act of criminality.

Wike made the observation at the commissioning and presentation of 14 ballistic gunboats, donated by the Rivers State Government, to the Nigerian Navy, Army, Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, at NNS Pathfinder, Naval Base, Rumuolumeni in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, on Friday.

The governor said the seeming frustration in the fight against illegal refining  of crude oil was caused by security personnel who were deeply  involved in the illegal activity or providing cover for the criminals.

Wike’s assertation was contained in a statement signed by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, and made available to newsmen.

“Most of the problem we have with illegal oil bunkering is that security agencies are fully involved in this illegal oil bunkering.

“That’s the truth. Civil Defence is involved. Army is involved. Police is involved. Navy is involved. Let us tell ourselves the simple truth,” Wike stated.

He explained that the Oil and Gas sector was the mainstay of the nation’s economy and Nigerians owe it as a duty to ensure that the country’s economy is salvaged.

“All of us owe it a duty to see how we can salvage this country. 80 per cent of the revenue of this country comes from oil and if we cannot reduce or stop this illegal oil bunkering, this country is in for problem. And so, we must all work together to help this country,” he added.

He said his administration has remained committed to the fight against illegal bunkering and achieved tremendous results leading to reduced soot and oil theft.

Governor Wike said, instead of the Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation commending the Rivers State Government for the feat, which has made oil production level go up, he should rather discharge requisite corporate social responsibility due Rivers State similar to what NNPC is doing elsewhere.

The governor dismissed notions in some quarters that governors put their state’s security vote  in personal pockets.

According to him, provision of  gunboats, other equipment and logistics to the security agencies to strengthen their capacity to fight crime and  criminality are evidence of how the security vote is being deployed.

He charged the security agencies to confine the use of the gunboats to Rivers State for which they were provided to tackle the menace of sea piracy and illegal bunkering activities.

Commissioning the 14 ballistic  gunboats, the Chief of Naval Staff , Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, said maritime terrorism, oil theft and piracy are major challenges that the Navy has continued to confront concertedly.

Gambo, who said Nigeria has exited the International Maritime Bureau global list of countries prone to piracy, thanked the governor for the donation.

He said Governor Wike’s initiative in the war against artisanal refining activities has given more impetus to the security agencies to brace up to the fight.

The CNS said there was need to emulate Wike, who has mustered the political will to wage war against operators of illegal refineries, with the support of  Local Government chairmen who have identified and destroyed bunkering sites and arrested some perpetrators.

On his part, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral I.A. Dewu, lauded the governor for the donation, which he noted will complement the Navy’s efforts to eradicate illegal oil bunkering and refining in the state and the entire Niger Delta.

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