By Jimitota Onoyume
BONNY—THE Amanyanabo of Bonny in Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State, HRM Edward Asimini Willaim Dappa-Pepple III (Perekule XI) of Bonny, has bemoaned the travails of his people in the hands of pirates, militants and oil thieves on the waterways.
The monarch, who spoke through one of his chiefs, Lt Col Owen Amin Manilla-Pepple (retd) when the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir, visited his palace, said criminals were on the loose in the area.
He complained that crude oil spill caused by oil thieves was destroying aquatic life and environment in the area. The monarch pleaded with the FOC to take urgent steps to rescue the area from the grip of oil thieves and pirates, who have become a nightmare to the people.
Begs Navy chief for assistance
The monarch said: “Bonny is an island. We have challenges of piracy, militancy along the waterways from Port Harcourt to Bonny. We ask that you kindly look into the problem of insecurity facing us.” He said more surveillance of oil facilities by the Navy, Army and increased security patrol of the waterways would help resolve the problem.
His words: “We do not have anything to complain about your officers and men here. The commanding officers here do not last; the frequent movements of commanders here retard certain achievements, these short durations do not help matters.”
We ‘re prepared—FOC
The FOC, Rear Admiral Abdulkadir, thanked the monarch and chiefs for their frank talk, assuring that efforts were on to secure the waterways in the region against criminal elements.
He said the Navy had acquired two ships to enhance security in the eastern naval command. Abdulkadir solicited cooperation of the people in the fight against oil theft and other related security issues. The FOC said that security was a shared responsibility and required the input of all stakeholders, adding “we will collaborate very well with you.”
Parades 4 suspected
Earlier, the FOC had paraded four suspected oil thieves arrested onboard a merchant tanker, MT Ever Rest, few metres away from the Port Harcourt Refinery. Rear Admiral Abdulkadir said the ship was arrested because its hoses were rigged at the time his men saw it, an act he said indicated that it had positioned for illegal act.
He said those arrested onboard the vessel did not have any formal qualification to be workers in such a ship, adding that the ship could convey 3000 metric tonnes of crude.
…reads riot act to men
The FOC said he would not spare any of his men caught aiding illegal bunkering operations. He said: “We take cognizance of the fact that in every environment, there is likelihood of bad elements. “If we find any of our personnel directly assisting illegal activities or not doing what he should do, we are going to treat that person as an offender. He or she will be dealt with and there will be no hiding place for such a person.”