Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara has faulted federal government’s decision to cede contracts for security/surveillance of oil pipelines in the hands of an individual or a few persons.
Fubara, who stated this on Saturday while addressing the Joint Presidential Committee on Crude Oil Theft at Government House Port Harcourt, said the development won’t help the fight against oil theft.
The governor said until the federal government clamps down on the powerful Abuja cartel bankrolling oil theft, no amount of efforts would end the economic sabotage associated with the crime.
He said, “Security of pipelines should not be placed in the hands of one man or a few individuals. You can’t say for instance that somebody from Kalabari should be asked to determine and control what is happening in Ogba-Egbema.
“It’s not possible, not workable. Or somebody from Ogba-Egbema should take charge in Ogoni. You can understand there is no way it would work. You need to come down to bring on board all these host communities heads or leaders.
“Those people you are dealing with, you can engage on this other end, but those key leaders and influential power brokers in other major host communities must be engaged. Once you are able to do that, make them part of the process, no two ways about it. The tide of the economic sabotage through oil theft will go down.
“We are one of the first states that was able to break the ranks on illegal bunkering, and we remain committed to partnering with the security agencies.
“And what breeds all of this is unemployment and poverty. The big people in this business aren’t from here (operating environment). They are those in Abuja who have licence to operate.
“If they are not encouraging it, I don’t think it will thrive. We need to work not just on the locals, but also see what we can do to really clamp down on those big ones that sit in Abuja that are a big part of this.”
Fubara decried the neglect of critical infrastructure in Rivers State, citing the deplorable East West Road, yet to receive any attention from the federal government despite its strategic importance to the economic development of the country.
In his remarks, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, who led the federal government delegation, thanked the governor for the audience, noting that beyond the resources in the region, the Niger Delta deserves peace and better living standards, assuring federal commitment to arresting challenges of insecurity in the region.
Also speaking, the Minister of Defence, Mohammed Badaru said the team had the marching order of the President to visit facilities in the Niger Delta and work with the states to promote peace in the region and ensure that national assets are protected.