By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT— Transparency International and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, have alleged that military men are complicit in oil theft in the Niger Delta, adding that they (military) provide cover for the thieves to operate.
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The international non-governmental organisation also said for the menace to be tackled, the military must stop their alleged involvement in oil theft.
TI and CISLAC disclosed this in a six-page discussion paper in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday at a one-day validation meeting and media report launch on military involvement in oil theft in the Niger Delta.
Transparency International noted that six different independent researchers conducted, with interviews and focus group discussions in the Niger Delta between February and July 2018, in Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states.
It also noted that the researchers observed busy scenes at several points where refined oil products were unloaded in Port Harcourt, Abonnema Wharf Jetty, Creek Road jetty, Woji jetty, Marine Base Jetty and Iwofe Jetty within the period.
The report claimed that military involvement in the menace is seen at the tapping points, bush refining during transportation stage.
Speaking, the Programme Manager of CISLAC, Salaudeen Hashim, said Transparency International and CISLAC launched investigation into the alleged involvement of military in the menace, adding that reports of the investigation proved it to be true.
Hashim said: “For over a year, we looked into the serious issue, which is military involvement in oil bunkering and theft. Some of the revelations made by the natives raise serious concern. One is that there is a level of facilitation by the security coverage to those who are involved in oil thief.
“There is an organised criminality on our oil in the region. The concern at this point is how this has created economic sabotage and dented the image of the military and caused its distrust by the people.”
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