Mr Tontiemote Yeiyei , the project Officer of Ondewari Health Education and Environmental Project (OHEEP), has advised youths to stop the indiscriminate disposal of crude in Bayelsa.
Yeiyei said in Yenagoa that some youths, under the guise of the Bayelsa Volunteers Scheme (BVS), had begun destruction of local refineries in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
He noted that the operations of the volunteers was being carried out with out due consideration to its implication on the environment, thereby leaving some communities covered with thick smokes.
He said that the polluted air caused by indiscriminate burning of local refineries, had exposed residents in such communities to health hazards.
If this is the only way to go about disposing the crude, then our environment, which the government hopes to protect by clamping down on local refineries,is worse off.
“These boys are behaving as outlaws and are not answerable to any known agency of government.
“They just set the refinery camps ablaze without considering the safety of the people and the environmental implications.
“I believe that there is need for orderliness and control. Government should consider the option of meaningfully engaging the operators of the refineries, through dialogue,” he said.
He said the use of force by the volunteers, had sparked off violent clashes between them and some aggrieved refinery operators.
NAN investigations showed that officials of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency and Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, were not involved in the operations of the volunteers, headed by a Chief Superintendent of Police.
When contacted for reactions, Mr Alex Akhigbe, Spokesman for Bayelsa Police Command, told NAN that the Bayelsa Volunteers, comprising 1, 100 youths had yet to commence operations.
“The Bayelsa Volunteers scheme is yet to take off, and I can assure you that there is going to be control.
“It is being coordinated by a Chief Superintendent of Police but the details of the line of command and responsibility, is being worked out.
“What is happening at Southern Ijaw is as a result of a task force set up by the local government chairman,” Akhigbe said. NAN