Abuja — A former leader of Niger Delta militants, Felix Timilaemi, has launched a voluntary campaign against oil theft in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
According to him, 30 illegal refineries and 12 boats used by oil thieves in the area have been destroyed.
He disclosed this after conducting journalists round the destroyed refineries at Ekeremor.
The ex-militant commander of a camp known as Amabulu Federated Community (AFC) lamented that illegal oil bunkering in the area was causing environmental pollution, with its attendant health hazards.
He also confirmed that chiefs and the traditional rulers in the area are in support of his crusade to rid the area of the menace.
He explained that 240 youths, under his command, patrol the creeks and waterways daily in search of illegal refineries and boats used by oil thieves.
"When we get them, we set them ablaze. Pipeline vandalism in this area is becoming so serious that I had to take it upon myself to put an end to it".
The ex-militant leader added that two points where vandals connected their hoses on a pipeline belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) had been clamped.
He said communities should take responsibility and initiate local measures to end economic sabotage within their domains, instead of blaming oil companies.
He added that with support from the government and Shell, his group would deny oil thieves access to oil installations.
"We are the indigenes from this community and we know our people. We know our boys. We know how we can tackle oil theft. The best thing we should do is to get the people involved in this campaign."