Companies, security agencies aiding oil theft in Rivers – LG Chair

Dr. Chidi Lloyd, Chairman of Rivers’ Emohua local government area, has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) and security agencies of facilitating oil theft in the area.

He was speaking in response to last week’s crude oil pipeline explosion, which killed at least 12 people in the Rumuekpe Community of the local government area.

Lloyd described the collaboration between IOC officials and security operatives as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the fight against illegal oil bunkering, also known in the area as Kpofire.

On Friday, he spoke at the scene of a fire outbreak caused by illegal oil bunkering activities in Rumuekpe.

At least 12 people died as a result of the fire, who were allegedly scooping petroleum product from a pipeline along the Ovelle-Nvakaohia section of Rumuekpe community in Emohua Local Government Area.

About five vehicles and three tricycles being used for the transportation of the petroleum products were also completely burnt.

According to Lloyd,”It’s unfortunate that IOCs and security personnel are also involved in this. If they were not involved tell me how those who scoop this products manage to transport them out of here, considering the number of security checkpoints around here.

“There is an army formation very close to the scene of this fire outbreak, would they say that they don’t know that criminals are scooping Petroleum products here?.

“These days security personnel lobby to be posted to places like this so that they collaborate with the perpetuators, everybody want to be posted here to come and collect money.

“If officials of the oil companies are not involved, how do the criminals know when there is pressure in the pipeline?.

“You can see that there’s a very strong cabal who are benefiting from this, not these ones roasting in the fire here. Top officials of the oil companies release information on when there’s pressure in the pipe.”

The Emohua local government Chairman who commiserated with the families of the victims of the fire outbreak, urged relevant organs of the Rumuekpe community to activate the necessary machinery in the community to establish the number of the victims who are indigenes of the community.

He, however, frowned at the resurgence of illegal oil bunkering activities in parts of the local government area after fruitful advocacy and enforcement exercises carried out in the area by his administration.

“The fight against the criminality is in line with the directive of the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike who has been at the forefront in the fight against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in Nigeria.

“Today my people have died as a result of this but when you try to stop them, they say there’s hunger in the land. Then I ask, do you need to dig a hole to cover another hole?”.

“We commiserate with the families of the victims and pray that the souls of those who died in the inferno rest in peace but it’s unfortunate that after all we did to stop this menace; after all the advocacy to make our people understand the danger associated with this activity some still went back to it.

“Remember I put my life on the line because of the fight against this menace; you all know the effort I put to stop this but today I here it is even worse in Ndele and Ibaa.

“In line with the directive of Governor Nyesom Wike the chairmen of the 23 LGAs in Rivers State did everything possible to stop this menace but we were never encouraged by the federal government.

“The federal government need to be sincere, you don’t come here and go straight to communities to do a road show without synergizing with the local government councils who understand the area very well.

“The Minister of Petroleum and the Chief of Army Staff visited some communities, clamped down on a few perpetrators and went back to Abuja without a proper synergy with the state and local governments.

“Today the boys are back and I hear they’re even more technical now. So, Mr Minister and the Army Chief have to come back and do the right thing because there’s a limit to what the local government can do because petroleum is in the exclusive list but with a proper synergy we can end this.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission said it has commenced investigations into the pipeline explosion at Rumuekpe community.

Chief Executive of the commission, Gbenga Komolafe, in a statement said the incident had been reported to the regulatory agency and will provide updates appropriately.

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