Toronto—The Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ingobere, has said the menace of crude oil theft in the Niger Delta may still persist as long as issues of unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation were not tackled by the government.
Ingobere spoke in an exclusive interview with Leadership Newspaper on the sidelines of the Conference of Nigerian Speakers in Toronto, Canada.
The speaker, however, commended the federal government for the steps taken in awarding pipeline surveillance contracts to some persons in the region.
He also urged the government to equally extend same to accommodate other stakeholders.
“I believe that one of the measures to be taken in tackling crude oil theft is for government to continue to interface with stakeholders in the region and with the people whose livelihoods have been destroyed by activities of oil exploration.
“We are representatives of the people and we have first-hand information about the problems they are facing in most communities in the Niger Delta.
“It is a common knowledge that the Niger Delta region has been abandoned despite huge exploration of oil from their backyard.
“The rate of unemployment and poverty among our people is high and that is why they are attacking oil pipelines to steal crude which has become a system that the people are so used to.
“For now, it will be difficult to stop it completely. I will also advice the government to step up action just like they are doing to secure the pipelines again oil vandals.
“It is our prayers also that government should listen to the people and give pipeline security job to accommodate more people.
“Even the bunkering we are talking about today is being perpetrated by top individuals and some security personnel,” he stated.