Politicians and Civil society groups from Delta and Bayelsa States weekend faulted the military invasion of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region over alleged cases of illegal bunkering and operations of Illegal refineries, asking the federal government to review its military strategy and legalise the operations of local refineries in the region.
The Civil Society groups led by the Ijaw People Development Initiative [IPEDI] said though the activities of the operators of the illegal refineries is disturbing and creating grave environmental hazards along the waters and creeks of the region,the adoption of military strategy against the operators of the illegal refineries is wrong and create new security situation in the region.
The group, in a statement signed by its President, Comrade Austin Ozobo, said in spite of the military action against illegal bunkering along the waters and creeks of the Niger Delta, there have been rapid increase of illegal oil bunkering and illegal refineries in the Niger-Delta region.
According to the group," Instead of the persistent invasion of communities because of the activities of the illegal operators of local refineries, the federal government should legalise the operation of local refineries and set a standard of operation.
The recognition of the refinery will create more job for the teaming jobless youths, and to ensure a sense of belonging among indigenes of oil producing communities, and as well as increasing the availability of petrol product, and at the same time reduce exorbitant price of petrol products in the country".
"The oil bunkering, and local refineries operation should be licensed by the federal government, and it will be done in such a way that the bunkerers and the local refineries operators will pay tax to their state governments.
This will provide job for many Nigerians so as to avoid disengaging the already self employed youths in the region, when thousands of jobless youths out there are causing insecurity problems which they are unable to engage".