While the crises in communities in Emohua have been festering, security agencies have been excusing themselves from the crises.
The Nigeria Police Force said since most of the crises were related to illegal oil bunkering, it was the duty of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) that should be contacted.
Mrs. Grace Iringe-Koko, the Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, told National Point that none of the command’s men or officers was involved in the situation in Emohua.
“For now in Rivers State, we don’t have any police officer that is indulging in such activities there,” she said. Asked if the police did not consider the crises in the communities serious enough public order issue to intervene, the PPRO said, “That is not police duty. You know, it’s the civil defence (NSCDC) that normally handles that. It’s not the duty of the police.”
The Nigerian Army whose officers were accused of abetting the crises by colleting huge bribes from illegal crude oil bunkering operatives, denied having any knowledge of sharp practices by its officers and men assigned to communities in the area.
The Director of Army Public Relations of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Lt. Col. Ikedichi Iweha, said the division had not received any report of its men abetting or aiding any illegal activities in the concerned Emohua communities. He said anyone that has any evidence should feel free to come to the Division’s headquarters to report, promising that such reports would be treated with confidentiality.
Iweha said, “Our soldiers are professional soldiers. They are deployed strictly for security issues. However, if any member of any community involved in giving our soldiers any form of gratification, please we would like to have such evidence… There are sanctions that in place to correct such abnormalities. So, if they have any evidence they can feel free, come in and share with us.”
The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), whose primary duty is to check illegal refineries and pipeline vandalism however said it has been making appeals to community leaders to prevail on their people to stop illegal bunkering.
“We have been to Rumuekpe area several times to destroy lots of illegal bunkering sites. What we discovered is that when you destroy at a point in time, they will go back again and they will gather intense and the whole thing is reformed again.
“We can only appeal to our traditional rulers; we can only appeal to our civil society organizations and the youths to see illegal oil bunkering as a crime against the community itself because illegal dealings in petroleum products do not start in a day. It starts with vandalizing the oil pipelines, extracting the crude and burning and so on and so forth. It leads to environmental degradation, air pollution and even pollutes our aquatic system as a whole,” Ayodele said.