April 21, 2014 (NAN) Mr Felix Timilaemi, an ex-militant leader, says he has launched a voluntary campaign against oil theft in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Timilaemi, who commanded a camp known as Amabulu Federated Community (AFC), said he had already destroyed 30 illegal refineries and 12 boats used by oil thieves in the area Timilaemi, who conducted newsmen round the destroyed refineries at Ekeremor yesterday, lamented that illegal oil bunkering in the area was causing environmental pollution, with its attendant health hazards.
He said he had the support of the chiefs the traditional rulers in his crusade to rid the area of the menace “This is a one-man crusade to completely stop this menace”, he said The ex-militant explained that 240 youths, under his command, patrol the creeks and waterways of 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”, he said.
Timilaemi said he ensured that two points where vandals connected their hoses on a pipeline belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), were clamped.
He said communities should take responsibilities and initiate local measures to end economic sabotage within their domains, instead of blaming oil companies.
He said 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”, he said.
Timilaemi stated that his passion for the environment compelled him to embark on the campaign.
“This is the only place we have. We don’t have any other place to go”, he said.(NAN)