GOVERNOR Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has alleged that sponsors of illegal oil refining in Nigeria are not in Rivers State but in Abuja.
Fubara made the allegation when a Federal Government delegation on the security of oil and gas assets led by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, visited him at the Government House in Port Harcourt on Saturday.
He also claimed that oil theft sponsors are people who have licences to export, noting that the business will not thrive without the encouragement of those in Abuja.
Fubara, however, did not specify the calibre of people he accused of being sponsors of the crime.
“The truth has to be said. What brings all these wahala is unemployment and poverty. But, who are the big people in this business? They are not people here; they are those people in Abuja who have licences and who do this exportation. It’s not my people here.
“If those people in Abuja are not encouraging it, I don’t think the business will flourish, that’s the truth,” he said.
On the issue of the pipeline surveillance contract, Governor Fubara criticised the Federal Government for contracting the job to “one man.”
He suggested that government should rather engage with communities that understand their terrain within the Niger Delta to achieve better results.
Gov Fubara asserted that Rivers State was one of the first states to launch a war against the illegal refining of crude in the country, making the environment difficult for the cabal to sustain their illegal refining activities.
He stated that his administration has sustained the committee set up by the previous administration to curb illegal oil refining activities in the state.
He argued: “Security of the pipeline should not be given to one man or to one person, who will say, ‘You’re going to assign somebody from Kalabari, to come and control what is going on in Ogba/Egbema.’ It’s not possible.
“You can understand that there is no way it will work. We need to come down and look at it in such a way that it will bring in all these communities. Once we are able to catch them, we make them part of the process. There is no other way about it. It will, on its own, just go down.”
The Federal Government had awarded a multi-billion naira pipeline surveillance contract to Tantita Security Services, led by former militant leader, Government Ekpemepulo, aka Tompolo.
Accompanying the NSA to see Governor Fubara were high-ranking officials, including the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Gwabin Musa, and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Taoreed Lagbaja.
The delegation included Minister of Defence Muhammed Badaru; Minister of State for Defence Bello Matawalle; Minister of State (Oil) for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, and Minister of State (Gas) for Petroleum Resources, Ekperipe Ekpo.
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