Pipeline vandals not terrorists, says Darah
Insists Buhari’s approach will fail
A university teacher, Prof Godini Darah, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari, on his recent threat to deal with oil pipeline vandals in Niger Delta, the same way he’s dealing with the Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast of the country.
Darah, who spoke at the university town of Abraka, Delta State yesterday, said he was yet to figure out the context of the President’s statement.
According to him, whatever the context, the analogy was wrong because Boko Haram terrorists are rebels, insurgents who have caused tremendous damage to Nigeria in the last five years.
Darah, a former Chairman, Editorial Board of The Guardian, explained that the armed forces have not yet fully dealt with the terrorists, because they are still harassing innocent Nigerians, adding that they have no public cause and it was inappropriate to compare them to those who break pipelines.
He said: “People who break pipelines are criminals and do not operate like Boko Haram, but they cause damage to the economy.”
According to him, “If the breaking of oil pipelines has continued unabated, it means that the Federal Government is incompetent in providing security to those crucial infrastructure.”
He cautioned that, “This is not 1984 when Buhari was a military Head of State, or even back to 1977, when he was Minister of Petroleum Resources.”
He explained that modern technology has so advanced that it is possible to protect those pipelines from far away places, without putting human beings on the track.
Darah said the president might have made the statement in anger, during his recent visit to China, noting that so far, his government has failed by not protecting the critical oil infrastructure.
“How do the people in Saudi Arabia, Scotland, America, Qatar and so many other countries protect their own? How come that our own pipelines are so vulnerable to damage?” he asked.
According to him, his suspicion was that those who are involved in oil theft are insiders in the government ministries, which is why they are impossible to catch.
Darah charged: “It is not just in the Niger Delta, as we have had cases at Arepo, Ogun State, Atlas Cove in Lagos and so many other places. Can you operate those things if you have no insider knowledge of the petroleum industry?
He reiterated that if someone were not familiar with a particular terrain, it would be impossible to carry out such nefarious act.
The don urged the president to do more thinking into the origin of the crime, and not just express anger, because that statement is as a result of anger.
He said that the primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and properties, and it is escapism if the oil industry, which is the most vital in Nigeria of today, cannot be protected except through Boko Haram method.
He predicted that the president’s efforts might end up in fiasco, if he decides to use Boko Haram method to approach the issue.
He remarked: “It is not a question of going to pray in Saudi Arabia where he has been severally. There are wonderful facilities there. It is about thinking and not prayers that produce those wonderful infrastructure.”
He argued that pipeline vandalism was a more profound problem than Boko Haram, reminding that the Boko Haram thing has not been eliminated as the nation have been on it for over five years now.
Darah said: “We have not traced the Chibok girls. If that is the method they want to apply to oil bunkerers that do damage to pipelines and oil facilities, it is an obsolete and
inadequate method, because you cannot use Boko Haram method of fighting pipeline vandals who are entrenched in the system”