By Davies Iheamnachor
Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has explained that the reason oil theft cannot easily stop is that even some security agencies were involved, saying that it is time the Nigerian State consider the damage caused by activities of crude oil thieves to the economic mainstay of the country and treat them as treasonable offenders.
The governor also stated that the fight to stop oil theft has continued to fail because top-ranking officers of the military are deeply involved in it.
Wike spoke when he hosted the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao, on courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, Monday, this is according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri.
Wike noted that it is not only the wastage of the economy that is witnessed, but the degradation that the environment also suffers as a result of that also impacts negatively on rural communities in Rivers State in particular.
He said: “You know this bunkering cannot stop; let’s be serious about it, everybody is involved. The military is involved. Police are involved. The Nigeria Civil Defence Corps is involved. If not, there is no way bunkering can continue. It’s a terrible thing.
“I don’t know, whether we should take the issue of bunkering to even be more serious than treason. If you go around and see what has happened to our environment, you’ll have pity on us.”
The governor advised members of the military task force deployed to arrest the illegal oil bunkers to find a better and environmentally friendly way to destroy bunkering sites in the State.
“If there is another civilized way to go about it, so that while you’re doing the right thing, let us not die. You should find another way to reduce this soot. Unfortunately, we have no helper. On the other hand, we continue praying to God to touch the minds of these bunkers.”
Meanwhile, on the fight against insurgency, Governor Wike commended the military for the success that they have achieved in reducing the level of carnage Boko Haram and bandits have caused in parts of the country.
“Let me also thank you for what you are doing about the insurgency fight in the country. I do believe that strategy is very key in the fight against insurgency. It is not publicity.
“When you’re winning a war, the people will feel it. When people are secured, you don’t need to go to television to tell them that they’re secured. They’ll know from the environment that there are a lot of changes going on and that is the way Nigerians believe that, yes, we are winning the war against insurgency,” he said.
However, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao, in his address, said he is on operational visit to 115 Special Operation Group in Rivers State and decided to pay courtesy visit to Governor, who has contributed immensely to the functioning of their base in Port Harcourt.
Air Marshal Amao commended the governor for the good work he has continued to do in Rivers State in terms of provision of infrastructure.