By Tunde Oso
There’s palpable fear in Delta State as the Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro -led Sector ‘C’ Command of the Surveillance Team of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Delta State battles oil thieves, product adulterators, impostors, who have allegedly established themselves in the oil-rich state.
A statement issued in Ughelli, by Eshanekpe on Wednesday, stated that criminal cartels, who have taken root in the state over time are posing major threats to the works of the Chinedu Okoronkwo’s established surveillance team, a development the ex-militant leader noted is dangerous with potentials to impede the war against oil thieves in the state.
According to Eshanekpe, who doubles as the National President of the National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, NCNDE-A, expressed shock over what he called the stiff resistance by some persons, who parade themselves as IPMAN members and at the same time indulge in product adulteration and stealing, noting that except the Federal Government rises to the occasion by dismantling the cell of the criminal elements in the downstream sector of the oil industry, it may be difficult to win the war against criminalities in the industry.
Concerned by the trend, the National President of IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo at the wake of his Supreme Court victory had established Surveillance and Enforcement Teams across the oil-producing states, including Delta State.
He added that surprisingly, while the enforcement teams are functional in other states, suspected oil thieves won’t allow smooth operations in Delta State as they attack the Akpodoro-led Sector ‘C’ Team severally and oftentimes members of his team.
The Surveillance Team, according to the statement has identified so many flash spots in the state where crude oil are being cooked, siphoned and stolen by dubious elements, who it said, stands in the way of the IPMAN team, urging the FG and security agencies to rally support for the team to succeed.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator noted that the Delta State Police Command, through the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ali, has thrown it weight behind his team as he added that more support is needed to dismantle the notorious gang of impostors who obstruct the activities of the Surveillance and Enforcement Team of IPMAN saying, that until the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration takes stiffer measures by empowering his team, the fight against economic saboteurs may not be won.
Pointedly, Akpodoro noted that the IPMAN operations are in sync with the directives of the presidency, a development he added was enough for all security agencies to support the fight but for vested interests.
He stated further that the hoodlums who obstruct the activities of Sector ‘C’ are backed by powerful criminal elements who have the war chest to give anything in bribe money as he regretted the activities of a handful of security operatives who he said are complicit in the crimes for reasons of cheap money.
Regrettably, Akpodoro noted that efforts by his team to get the Sector 1 Commander of the Operation Delta Safe, ODS in Effurun Delta State to support the fight against crude oil theft is not accorded the needed force adding, that the directives of the Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade-led ODS headquarters in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital are yet to be complied with full.