A security expert and retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dr. Uche Chukwuma, has alleged that some security personnel prior to this time have had vested interest in illegal oil bunkering and helped to sustain the operations of those in the business.
Speaking in a telephone interview, Dr. Chukwuma said: “Majority of the security personnel who are today running round the chief executives and going to destroy these illegal bunkering sites, some of them are either direct participants or sponsors or colluders prior to this time”.
This was following the current effort by Rivers State government to stop illegal oil bunkering.
Dr. Chukwuma alleged that the security personnel were either sponsors of illegal oil bunkering or have had their own sites for oil bunkering, adding that “they assist by going to even escort these products from the sites to the diesel buying point prior to this time”.
He said such security personnel who were allegedly involved in the business prior to this time should be monitored in order that they would not go back into it.
The security expert said: “Without their co-operation this thing (oil bunkering) would have stopped long ago. There’s no doubt about it. So, good it is happening but after now what next? What is the monitoring apparatus on ground? ”
He described the current move by the state government as good-intentioned but said there should be follow-up to monitor those who allegedly aided illegal oil bunkerers in the state.
He wondered how products from illegal oil bunkering could get to their destination when there are so many security men along the way and said that there should be monitoring apparatus after the current move by the state government.
Talking about soot from illegal oil bunkering, the retired Assistant Commissioner of Police said: “Illegal bunkering is something that has caused soot and the soot is becoming a danger to people’s lives. It has caused health hazards”.
He said federal government also had role to play in the bid to stop illegal bunkering.
He said after now the state should gear up for “serious security challenges” saying that security personnel should have capacity to deal with any situation that could arise from the ongoing effort to stop illegal oil bunkering.
He said it was true that those engaged in the business do it as means to earn a living and said security personnel should be prepared to tackle any situation that would arise from the current effort by the government to stop illegal bunkering in the state.
Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, is waging war against illegal oil bunkering in Rivers State and directed council chairmen to locate areas where these activities were taking place.