The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has promised to work with other stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to end illegal oil bunkering and other vices, particularly in the riverside communities of the region.
IPMAN said a situation where more than 30% of crude freight is stolen has affected businesses and led to loss of jobs in the sector.
The National Head of Surveillance, Waterways of the IPMAN, Prince Botu Emmanuel (Olotu) said IPMAN has a mandate to reorient the youths of the Niger Delta, particularly those in the riverine communities, stressing that it is determined to achieve that task.
He made the vow at a ceremony of the Rivers State Operations of the IPMAN waterways surveillance at the weekend at the Abonnema Waterfront, Abonnema town in Akuku Toru local government area of the state.
Olotu said it is not just bent on controlling the water, sea patrol or the anti-bunkering unit, but also determined to ensure that the deviant and misguided youths are redirected and reoriented.
“The misguided youths will be reoriented. We have to reevaluate them, we have to blend them and reorient them into a proper society. We want to groom them and let them know that there is a better life for besides oil and gas and let them know that there is life after bunkering and the agitation they are doing.
“The most important thing is to let them know and prepare them for what is ahead, what the world is doing and where the world is going tomorrow, we want to be able to bring them back to what the world is really is,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the surveillance team, the Senior Special Adviser to the National Head of Surveillance Waterways, Rivers State Operations, Awara Sobiobo Fiala, said, “All the negative things that happen in the sea and creeks is affecting us a lot and the people involved in it are not even aware of it.
“So, we want to try all we can to stop oil bunkering, oil theft and sea piracy because these are things we have to do to develop our economy.
“The activities of these people reduce our economy, for instance, before crude oil can be moved from Nembe to Bonny over 30% of the oil will be stolen on the way, these are the things we want to stop.
“We also believe that this will create employment opportunities for youths in Rivers State but we will need them to cooperate with us to ensure that we are successful in what we are doing and the goal of the group will not be defeated.
“Henceforth, we will not take it lightly with them because we are not going to work alone, we would be working with the security agencies and we are going to make arrangements for gun boats to carry out these operations but we believe that God has the ultimate power to help us achieve all of these,” he concluded.