The Chairman, Ogoni Council of Paramount Rulers, Ogoni, Rivers State, High Chief Barisi Kpaama, has raised the alarm over the criminal activities of oil thieves in his domain and other parts of Niger Delta region, alleging that some security agents were giving covers to the criminals.
He spoke as the Zonal Director, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Port Harcourt, Cyrus Nkangwung, blamed the rise in oil bunkering in the oil-rich region on the unavailability of petroleum products at the rural communities.
Kpaama and NOSDRA at a roundtable by the National Coalition on Gas Flaring and Oil Spills, NAGGOND, to seek sustainable alternatives to oil theft and the so called illegal refining further noted that corruption among security agencies was also energizing the menace in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “The heads of security agencies in the communities involved in the illegal refining have compromised and are abetting the culprits, therefore, they should be disciplined to serve as a deterrent to the locals.
“If the DPO and JTF Commander are in support of the boys carrying out the theft, who are you to go against them?” He asserted.
Nkangwung said: “Investigations shows that there is no presence of government or access to the products in the rural communities, they do not even have where to get kerosene or diesel from, whereas the illegally refined products are accessible and cheaper.”
“Security agencies should not destroy the illegally refined products alongside the environment. It is a good thing that the government is now building tank farms to store the recovered products rather than burning them and further polluting the environment,” he asserted.