Apr. 22, 2014
by Arodiegwu Eziukwu, PremiumTimes
The former militant said he has already destroyed 30 illegal refineries.
A former leader of the Amabulu Federated Community, AFC, a militant group, Felix Timilaemi, has launched a voluntary campaign against oil theft prevalent in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
He said he has already destroyed 30 illegal refineries and 12 boats used by oil thieves in the Local Government Area.
Mr. Timilaemi, who conducted journalists round the destroyed refineries at Ekeremor on Monday, lamented the environmental pollution and health hazards caused by illegal bunkering in the area.
He said he had the support of the chiefs and the traditional rulers in the council.
“This is a one-man crusade to completely stop this menace”, he said.
He said that 240 youths under his command patrol the creeks and waterways of the council on a daily basis in search of illegal refineries and boats used by suspected oil thieves.
“When we get them (refineries and boats), we set them ablaze. Pipeline vandalism in this area is becoming so serious that I have to take it upon myself to put an end to it”, he said.
He said communities should take responsibilities and initiate local measures to end economic sabotage within their domains instead of blaming oil companies.
Mr. Timilaemi asked the government to partner with him adding that without involving community members, the war against oil theft would not achieve desired results.
He said his objective is to ensure that Ekeremor, a council notorious for oil theft, is free from economic sabotage.
He said with support from the government and Shell, his group would secure the council and deny oil thieves access to oil installations.
“We are the indigenes from this community and we know our people. We know our boys. We know how we can tackle oil theft. The best thing we should do is to get the people involved in this war”, he said.
He stated that his passion for the environment amongst other reasons compelled him to embark on the campaign.
“This is the only place we have. We don’t have any other place to go”, he said.
He warned persons coming to attack oil facilities in the area to stay clear and vowed to destroy their vessel without compromise.
“There is no progress in oil theft instead there are many dangers. I advise every man and woman to desist from oil theft. It won’t help you. It will damage your future”, Mr. Timilaemi said.