Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has said that people who break oil pipelines and steal crude oil should be treated as treasonable offenders.
The governor, who stated this in Port Harcourt on Monday, when he hosted the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Oladayo Amao, 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.
The governor 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 and impact negatively on rural communities in Rivers State in particular.
“You know this bunkering cannot stop. Let’s be serious about it, everybody is involved. The military is involved. Police is 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.”
He said when they blow-up and set those sites on flame, they increase soot in the atmosphere that have become another grave environmental concern in Rivers State.
“If there is another civilised 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 bunkerers.”
Commenting on the war 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.
But the Governor noted that greater success can be achieved by deploying more military strategies, which is better than media publicity.
“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 they are winning the war against insurgency.”
Governor Wike pointed out that the prevailing peace in Rivers State was achieved because of the existing cooperation between all the heads of security agencies with the state government.
The governor also urged the Nigerian Air Force to deploy the two armoured helicopters donated to them by the Rivers State Government to the State, in order to improve surveillance in the fight against criminality.
Amao said he is on operational visit to 115 Special Operation Group in Rivers State and decided to pay a courtesy visit to Governor, who has contributed immensely to the functioning of their base in Port Harcourt.
“We commend you for being able to contain the security situation in the state. Rivers State has been a very peaceful state. That is why I and the service chiefs have to focus on other places with much problems.”
Air Marshall Amao also thanked Governor Wike for the financial support that was given to families of officers that died in the line of duty in the State.
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