Military incapable of securing oil, gas assets, says Delta dep gov
No amount of military deployment would guarantee the safety of oil facilities in the Niger Delta, according to the deputy governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro.
Making the declaration yesterday in Warri at the end of a two-day conference on securing oil and gas facilities in the state, advocated for a comprehensive scheme where communities are routinely involved in the protection of oil and gas assets in the oil-rich region.
Otuaro, who doubles as chairman of the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities, decried the situation where international oil firms operating in the Niger Delta site their headquarters outside the region, thus denying the states in the region taxes and royalties due to them.
The body was set up to halt the destruction of oil assets in the state by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa late 2015 at the height of the bombing of these installations by the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers.
The deputy governor, who read the communiqué of the conference, urged the Federal Government to dredge the Escravos bar to Warri with a view to increasing economic activities at the seemingly moribund Nigerian Ports Authority in Warri.
He said: “Conference is of the firm belief that no amount of force and deployment of instruments of coercion can fully secure oil and gas facilities as much as host communities would do.
“In this connection, conference is of the belief that oil companies should involve host communities in securing pipelines and other installations in their territories and areas of operation.”
The event drew over 500 participants, including chief executives, top officials of oil and gas companies, top government functionaries, National Assembly members from the region, traditional rulers, community leaders, local council chairmen as well as representatives of the youths, women and security agencies.
Meanwhile, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) has given the Federal Government two weeks to rebuild Toru-Ndoro community in Ekeremor Local Council of Bayelsa State as well as compensate those who suffered losses following an alleged military invasion to effect the arrest of a deceased militant that went by the name, Karowei.
In a statement, the president of the congress, Eric Omare, claimed that over 50 houses were torched.
He promised to mobilise all Ijaw sons and daughters home and abroad as well as human rights lawyers and activists to sue the government and the military if the demand is not met.
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