The Bayelsa Government has called on youths to support the fight against oil bunkering, illegal refining and other unwholesome activities that impact negatively on oil production and revenues accruing to the state.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the call at a meeting with youth leaders from Ogbia Local Government Area, in Government House, Yenagoa, on Friday.
Ewhrudjakpo lamented the dwindling federal allocations to the state in recent times.
The deputy governor, who decried the sharp drop in Bayelsa’s oil production, said several oil wells are operating at zero output level.
He blamed the development on the activities of oil thieves, illegal refining of crude and unnecessary stoppage of the operations of oil companies.
He said that the present administration would not support the oil companies to shortchange their host communities, saying there is the need for the people to channel their grievances to the government for amicable settlement.
According to him, apart from the 13 per cent oil derivation, all the other parameters used by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) for revenue sharing do not favour Bayelsa.
He, therefore, charged the youths to stand against any activity that would reduce the quantum of crude oil being produced in the state.
Ewhrudjakpo stressed that it was unjustifiable to complain against environmental degradation caused by oil companies, when people from the Niger Delta are also contributing to it through illegal refining of crude oil.
The deputy governor urged all stakeholders, including community leaders, to work closely with security agencies to stop the menace.
He maintained that illegal oil refining does not only endanger the health of the people but also destroys the environment of both the present and future generations.
His words: “Our air is beginning to get polluted. We must all put our hands on deck to check this illegal refining of crude oil.
“As I speak with you, our revenues are dropping rapidly. About 40 per cent of our oil wells in the state are reporting zero production and you know what that means.
“We need to stop this, and it demands our collective efforts.
“Our youths should not at the slightest provocation go and block oil flow stations and manifolds, because it is what they produce from those flow stations that accumulate to become 13 per cent derivation.
“Every other indicator for sharing revenue is skewed against Bayelsa So, we cannot afford to use our own hands to injure ourselves and be complaining at the same time,” he said.
The state Commissioner of Police, Benjamin Okolo, a representative of Sector 2 Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Maj. Daniel Nienge, and other service commanders in the state, called for credible, realtime intelligence for the security operatives to work with.
The Chairman of the Ijaw Youth Council, Central Zone, Mr Clever Inodu, and the National President of the Ogbia Brotherhood Youth Council, Mr Napuru Basuo, thanked government for redefining the role of youths in the fight against insecurity.
Basuo, however, pointed out that cultism was on the rise due to political patronage and appealed to government to refrain from giving political appointments to known cultists and criminals. (NAN)