The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), National Taskforce on illegal oil bunkering activities and the Police have condemned the illegal oil bunkering activities in Rumuekpe Emuoha Local Government Area of Rivers State which led to the explosion that claimed many lives and destroyed five cars and four tricycles.
While on assessment tour to the scene of the unfortunate incident over the weekend, the Rivers State Commandant of NSCDC, Michael Ogar condemned the defiant actions of those engaging in illegal oil bunkering activities in the community.
He maintained that though the command condole with the families of those who lost their lives in the incident, it should serve as a lesson to perpetrators of such heinous act.
Commandant Ogar said several attempts were made to combat illegal oil bunkering in the area during the command antivandal operations when several illegal refineries were destroyed but it is quite unfortunate that they have unrepentantly continued in illegal oil bunkering business.
“Our antivandal Squad repeatedly destroyed a good number of illegal refineries in the area but as you destroy one they prefabricate another. There were times our personnel were repelled during operations but we stood firm and undeterred. This should be a warning signal to all unrepentant vandals and perpetrators of illegal dealings in petroleum products”, Ogar stated.
The State NSCDC Commandant stressed the need for collaborative efforts of security agencies to strengthen the fight against illegal dealings in petroleum products in the area and the entire state.
He also called on the traditional institutions, opinion leaders and stakeholders to put all hands on deck in order to end illegal oil bunkering in the various communities across the State.
Mr. Ogar appealed to the public to feel free to relay credible information to the command to help them discharge their duties promptly.
” While soliciting for actionable intelligence and credible information from the public let me use this opportunity to also call on the multinationals to see the need for collaborations with the security agencies in the provision of advanced technological equipment that would effect signal and raise alarm when oil pipelines are being tampered with.
The spokesperson for the IPMAN National Taskforce, Ms. Aisha Amhed while reacting to the explosion, reiterated call for Nigerians to abstain from the illicit business.
Ms. Ahmed disclosed that apart from the fact that it is an economic sabotage, it is also very harmful to the environment and has led to loss of lives on several occasions.
She regretted the loss of lives in Rumukpe and admonished people in the illicit business to engage themselves in legitimate means of livelihood.
In the same vein, the State Police Command has urged residents to desist from illegal oil bunkering.
SP Grace Iringe Koko Public Relations Officer of the command made the disclosure in a statement on Friday.
The Police image maker confirmed the explosion, adding that preliminary investigation indicates that the victims were scooping crude product, when the site caught fire.
She stated that about 12 persons were believed to have been burnt to death but the identities of the victims are still unknown.
SP Koko also revealed that five vehicles, four tricycles, and one motorcycle were all burnt to ashes.