Commander, Joint Military Task Force Operation in the Niger Delta, Operation Pulo Shield, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, has solicited the support of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, in the fight against oil bunkering and its related crimes.
The JTF has its headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
Atewe made the appeal during his courtesy calls on the governors of the two states, according to a statement by the outfit’s Media Coordinator, Lt.Col. Mustapha Anka, on Monday.
The commander, who was received in Akwa Ibom by Governor Godswill Akpabio, said he was in the state to seek a synergy and cooperation between the state and the JTF in the fight against illegal oil bunkering and oil theft.
Atewe said, “Your Excellency, I am here to seek your cooperation and support for the JTF’s zero tolerance to all forms of illegalities, especially in the areas of oil theft and illegal oil bunkering in the Niger Delta region.
“The result of these acts of sabotage by the enemies of this country’s economy, which depends mostly on oil for her survival, is a jeopardy. It also causes health hazards to the inhabitants of the area.
The environmental degradation as a result of the rupturing of oil pipeline also damages the ecological environment of our country thereby exposing our people to various ailments.”
In Cross River, Atewe was received by Governor Liyel Imoke, who assured him of his support and assistance in the fight against illegal oil bunkering in the region.
Imoke frowned on the prosecuting process of illegal oil bunkerers which according to him is “faulty and slow.”
He called for a stiffer punishment that would deter others from engaging in the act of oil theft and illegal bunkering activities.
The commander also visited troops of the JTF deployed in Ikang and Creek Town of Cross River where pirates and kidnappers had allegedly laid siege to commit atrocities.