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Aristocrats, not petty thieves responsible for oil bunkering in N/Delta — Rita Lori Ogbebor

Aristocrats, not petty thieves responsible for oil bunkering in N/Delta — Rita Lori Ogbebor %Post Title

Rights activist, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor, Friday, said those responsible for oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region are highly connected  persons in the society, and not petty thieves.

She noted that neglect by the federal and state governments have made the people resort to all manner of dubious activities to make ends meet.

Lori-Ogbebor who was speaking during a broadcast program, monitored by our correspondent, in Abuja, said that it was high time the Presidency set up a committee to monitor the execution of projects in the oil-rich region to ensure accountability and transparency.

According to her, “things are getting worse because the situation in the country is not being looked at from the roots. We have a problem and the problem has to do with our poverty and our poverty stems from productivity”.

She said, “the only product which we produce is oil and the oil has not been taken very seriously in terms of productivity. The oil is just a product that they think they can go to the ground or go to the creeks and they set their pipes and collect it to go and sell. Nothing concerns them with maintaining the place and looking after the people.

“The people have resorted to self help and this is in two ways: turning their eyes away from what is happening and allowing people to take away the oil without reporting to the authorities, because the people who should do so are the inhabitants of the land.

If  the people were well looked after and they feel they have a stake; they will be the ones to report the stealing that is going on in the Niger Delta.

“But, no, they are not looked after. Even the money that comes from oil does not go to the grassroot. The whole money is syphoned up there.  So, what is their business and when they cannot eat, what do you want them to do? They will go and do bunkering.”

She continued: “I want to say here that the bunkering  in the Niger Delta is not done by the people, not the petty thieves who are hungry. Not the people who take a boat to get some oil and sell it on the streets. But, the real bunkers are the big thieves. They are the ones wrecking our country, the big thieves who bring ships. They are the ones who encourage stealing by the younger ones in the creeks. They are the ones who encourage them to bunker and come and sell to them.

“They are hovering around the seas, selling oil. Is it the small boys who are hungry who are neglected with their children, who have ships to go to the high sea to sell our oil? They are not.

“You’ve not recognized us as serious stakeholders. We are being treated badly because we don’t  have people up there. We are treated as if we are slaves in this country, and so we turn our eyes when the evil is being perpetuated.

Lori-Ogbebor, while lamenting the issues bothering the region, said that the 13 per cent oil derivation for the oil producing states “is only deployed to service the pockets of politicians.”

Her words: “The 13 per cent derivation is a very serious problem. When it was enacted, I knew and I saw trouble coming that we were not going to have an easy way. I mean the downtrodden- the people the 13 per cent is supposed to serve.

“Who is the 13 per cent supposed to serve? Is it the cities or the people in the creeks? People who when they are sitting in their houses, they see the oil going and when you come out of your house and want to plant corn, you cannot because the land is no more good.”

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