Ex-militant leader in Ekeremor Local Government of Bayelsa State, “General” Felix Timilaemi, has vowed that he and his members will set ablaze any oil thief caught in their community.
He said on Monday that he had the backing of the chiefs and the traditional rulers in the council.
The jungle justice option is being proposed just as he had launched a voluntary campaign against illegal oil bunkering, illicit refining of petroleum products and other forms of oil theft prevalent in Ekeremor.
The ex-creek warlord, who commanded a camp known as Amabulu Federated Community during the militancy era in the Niger Delta, claimed that he had already destroyed 30 illegal refineries and 12 boats used by oil thieves in the council.
Timilaemi, who conducted journalists round the destroyed refineries at Ekeremor on Saturday, lamented environmental pollution and health hazards caused by illegal bunkering in the area.
He said, “This is a one-man crusade to completely stop this menace.
“My army of 240 youths patrol the creeks and waterways of the council on a daily basis in search of illegal refineries and boats used by suspected oil thieves.
“When we get them, we set them ablaze. Pipeline vandalism in this area is becoming so serious that I have to take it upon myself to put an end to it.”
He said he and his men had ensured that two points where vandals connected their hoses on a pipeline belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company were clamped down.
He urged the communities to take responsibilities and initiate local measures to end economic sabotage within their domains instead of blaming Shell and other oil companies.
Timilaemi asked the government to partner with him, adding that without involving community members, the war against oil theft would not achieve expected results.
He said his objective was to ensure that Ekeremor, a council notorious for oil theft, was free from economic sabotage.
He said with support from the government and Shell, his group would secure the council and deny oil thieves access to oil installations.
“We are the indigenes of this community and we know our people. We know our boys. We know what to do to tackle them. The best thing we should do is to get the people involved in this war,” he said.
He added, “This is the only place we have. We don’t have any other place to go.
“May I warn persons coming to attack Shell facilities in the area to stay clear. If they refuse, we will destroy their vessels without compromise.”
Advising the youths, he said, “There is no progress in oil theft; instead there are many dangers. I advise every man and woman to desist from oil theft. It won’t help you rather, it will destroy your future.”