By Segun James
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has asked the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Usman Jubrin, to spare the nation the ‚Äúrhetorics and cover up‚Äù in his threat to expose oil companies and security operatives involved in oil theft, daring him to name those culpable.
The IYC wondered why companies involved in economic sabotage against the nation and supposed highly placed Nigerians involved in the unwholesome act cannot be exposed by the naval chief, saying the threat was a mere smokescreen to give the impression that the navy is effective.
The group in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, insisted that the declaration by the Chief of Naval Staff is nothing but the usual rhetoric of government and security agencies to confuse Nigerians on the problem of oil theft.
‚ÄúWe wish to state for the umpteenth time that the people involved in the business of oil scam are top politicians, serving and retired military personnel, oil company executives and their foreign collaborators, while the Niger-Delta locals are used as artisans. The involvement of these high profile persons in the business of oil theft is the reason the government and security agencies have not been able to summon the courage and political will to bring oil theft to a stop.
‚ÄúThe resultant effect of this government‚Äôs dereliction of duty and security agencies complicity in oil theft is massive despoliation of the Niger-Delta environment. Today, the flora and fauna of the Niger-Delta and the people‚Äôs source of living are gone as a result of decades of oil pollution and recently partly due to the activities of oil thieves and the crude modus operandi of security agencies who usually spill the oil into the environment in the process of destroying materials used for oil theft, when they choose to take action
‚ÄúThough the security agencies may be celebrating this pedestrian approach of burning camps and spilling oil as a success in the fight against oil theft, in actual sense, it has caused more damage to the Niger-Delta environment than the problem it is trying to address.
‚ÄúTherefore, the IYC again calls for the urgent constitution of the federal government reviewed community-based oil facilities surveillance programme which would ensure that each community takes responsibility for the protection of oil facilities in their community, with the involvement of critical stakeholders in the Niger-Delta as was done with the amnesty programme. The IYC strongly believes that nobody can protect oil facilities better than the Niger Delta people and their communities,‚Äù the statement said.
The IYC stressed that though the meeting of the naval chief with chief executive officers of multinational oil companies on how to tackle the menace of oil theft in the Niger-Delta is welcomed, the council is not impressed by the mere threat issued by the Chief of Naval Staff, stressing that he should rather take drastic steps by arresting those known to be involved in oil theft.