A non-governmental organization, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), has strongly advised against destroying and polluting the Niger Delta environment as security operatives arrest, destroy and burn local boats loaded with illicitly refined petroleum products and stolen crude oil in the region.
The national coordinator of CEPEJ, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, made this known in Abuja during a press briefing, noting that burning of stolen crude oil boats caught in the illicit act of bunkering portends grievous dangers to the ozone layer as it destroys the Niger Delta ecosystem.
The national coordinator of CEPEJ further proposed to partner with the federal government to proffer solution that will end crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism, illicit and environmentally destructive local burning of crude oil to produce substandard petroleum products.
He noted that despite militarisation of the Niger Delta to protect and safe guard oil facilities by the federal government in a bid to stop illegal oil bunkering has resulted in futility as government does not have what it takes in checking the menace and urged President Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of petroleum for state Dr. Ibe Kachuku to consider local industry based integration programme as a social welfare scheme aimed at curbing destructive approach to the application of beneficial knowledge.
He noted that Niger Deltans are no longer safe under a depleted ozone layer, polluted water, air and degraded environment as military personnel engage in burning of boats loaded with suspected stolen crude oil has resulted in a terrible mind bugling destructive indices, revealing that it has been estimated that 9 -13 million barrels, 1.5 million tones of oil has been illegally introduced into the Niger Delta ecosystem without remediation
The environmentalist said: “The federal government needed to partner with CEPEJ to adopt an idea that is beneficial to Nigerians at large, including the condition driven by local illegal oil explorers.
The problems bedeviling the Niger Delta environment is partly borne out of oil theft, unauthorized diversion of oil by any means for personal gains, use of vessels to transport illegally obtained crude oil which often result in leakage into water bodies.
It is pertinent for federal government to know that no amount of military personnel and gunboats can save Nigeria from loosing over 800, 000 barrel of crude oil per day to pipeline vandalism to service more than 500 Illegal refineries operating in the region”.