Oil Theft: Blame Big Players, Not Ijaw Youths, Senator Dickson Insists 

Sylvester Idowu in Warri

Senator Seriake Dickson representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District in Bayelsa State, over the weekend, insisted that those behind incessant oil thefts in the Niger Delta were “big players” living outside the region.
He said the Ijaw youths being labelled oil thieves lack the wherewithal, the capacity and technical know-how on how pipelines operate and how high voltage pipes can be tampered with.

Senator Dickson, former governor of Bayelsa State, made the revelation when he paid a courtesy visit to the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, HRM Oboro-Gbaraun 11, Aketepe, Agadagba and founder of Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL), Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tomopolo at Oporoza, headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom.

He declared: ” It is a fact; it is very known to everybody. The Ijaw people were living in the creeks, living our daily live eking out their livelihood when our waterways have been polluted and our farmlands polluted. We have no means, no capacity to engage in the high-level operations that result in the daily loss of Nigerian crude oil produced from our place.

“Those who have the capacity to compromise and infiltrate the national security system, infiltrate the national petroleum system; those who have the capacity to hire the tankers and shuttle vessels – they are not Ijaws. We don’t have the capacity to do that.
“We don’t even have the experience to get involved in that kind of operations. That’s a high-level operation that needs a lot of resources, coordination, funding and international networking.”

Dickson maintained that if Nigeria is serious, the country has to step up its game at the international arena by pushing for the designation of her stolen crude oil as blood crude as done with blood diamonds arising from conflicts around some states in West Africa.
“Nigeria has to push for that. But those who, on daily basis, under-declare even what is produced; those who have refused to properly monitor and record what’s produced for over 50 to 60 years should take the blame; not the unarmed Ijaw Youths without the capacity, without the technical know-how.”

Dickson insisted that the big players behind the crude oil theft were not in the region but based in Lagos, Abuja and other world capitals.
He said he was in Gbaramatu on a courtesy visit to the Agadagba and to appreciate him, his council of chiefs and those who were supporting the monarch for maintaining order and peace and stability.

His words: “This kingdom is strategic to the Ijaw Nation and the Niger Delta region. Gbaramatu Kingdom is very strategic to the nation. I have seen great development and what they have done here. In the issue of Tantita, I want to thank my younger brother, Tompolo for their contribution towards stopping vandalism of strategic national assets.

“I want to thank him for reducing illegal oil bunkering as it is called and for trying their best in reducing the environmental degradation caused by illegal refining activities and tampering with pipelines”, he added.
Dickson observed that the best thing government and NNPC had done was engaging Tantita and “the man who understands the difficult terrain. He understands the terrain, that’s why he has been able to bring some semblance of normalcy. I want to encourage him to do more”.

He commended Chief Government Ekpemupolo for the wonderful job he has been doing with his security outfit, Tantita Security Services Limited (TSSL) to boost the oil revenue of the country and ensure regeneration of the eco system in the region.
Dickson also commended the paramount ruler of Gbaramatu Kingdom HRM Oboro-Gbaraun 11 Aketepe Agadagba for ensuring peace, not only in the kingdom but the entire Niger Delta.
Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom HRM Oboro-Gbaraun 11 Agadagba, while welcoming Senator Dickson for the visit, described him as a true Ijaw son.

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