Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has explained that the reason oil theft cannot easily stop is because some security personnel were involved, adding that it was time the Nigerian state considers 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 said the fight to stop oil theft has continued to fail because top ranking military officers were deeply involved.
Wike spoke when he hosted the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, who was on courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri.
Wike said: “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 be a more serious offence 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.
He said: “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 to pray to God to touch the minds of these bunkers.”
On the fight against insurgency, Wike commended the military for the success they have achieved in reducing the level of carnage Boko Haram and bandits have caused in parts of the country.
However, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Amao, in his address, said he was on operational visit to 115 Special Operation Group in Rivers State and decided to pay a courtesy visit to the governor, who has contributed immensely to the functioning of their base in Port Harcourt.
Amao commended the governor for the good work he has continued to do in Rivers State in terms of provision of infrastructure.