By Sumaila Ogbaje
Our Habitat, an Environment Protection Coalition, has thrown its weight behind the Armed Forces of Nigeria over the destruction of illegal oil bunkering vessels in the Niger Delta.
The coalition in a statement by the Convener, Davidson Wariboko, on Tuesday, also faulted the call for the sack of the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor by a human rights lawyer.
Wariboko said that investigations by the coalition had revealed that some of those condemning the burning of the vessel were collaborators of oil thieves in the region.
According to him, the CDS had defended the destruction of the vessel, saying there was nothing sinister about the swift destruction of an oil bunkering vessel by security operatives.
Irabor has explained that there were various approaches, various solutions to a problem and at any time based on certain factors, certain considerations, available to those that are at the frontline, actions were taken based on the directive which are contained in the rules of engagement.
He quoted Irabor as saying, the burning of the vessel, it is because the thief was caught in the act and the procedure, if you are caught in the act, is that everything you are using to undertake that criminal activity should be destroyed and that was done.
What investigation do you need that you find somebody who decided to deplore several pumping machines and has several hoses that are deployed to a dug out pit where crude oil is stored over a period?
It was caught in the act. So, the instrument of operation was what was destroyed. I think it is straightforward. Whether that is the best is a different matter entirely but did they act in line with the rules of engagement? Yes, they did.
The coalition leader said that the armed forces had shown strong determination and courage to tackle oil bunkering more than ever in recent times.
He said that oil thieves had caused terrible environmental damage to oil producing areas, adding that decisive actions against them was justified.
According to him, they are causing the country a huge economic losses and at the same time causing environmental degradation in oil producing areas.
Calling for the sack of the CDS show the oil thieves are fighting back.
They are hiding behind the law to condemn the destruction of the vessel, while at the same time causing serious environment degradation in the cause of their criminal activities.
Since assumption of office as the CDS, Gen. Irabor has met stakeholders in the oil sector, security, traditional rulers and others in a bid to tackle the stealing of our common wealth.
At no time in the history of Nigeria like now, has the leadership of the Armed Forces shown determination and courage to face the economic saboteurs headlong. It seems they are now fighting back, he said.
The coalition urged residents of the oil producing areas and other stakeholders to cooperate with the military to tackle the criminals and make their environment better. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola
Source: NAN News