Yenagoa – A former Minister of State for Energy and monarch of the Nembe Kingdom in Bayelsa State, Edmund Daukoru, has labeled crude oil thieves and pipeline vandals in Niger Delta as unpatriotic elements, saying they are killing the economy of the country.
Daukoru spoke during the inauguration of the elected national executives of the Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM), who were returned unopposed in Yenagoa at the weekend.
He, however, said that some of the operators of illegal bunkering arrested as suspects were working for people with huge financial muscles, stressing that the boys usually get the least of proceeds from such acts of economic sabotage.
Daukoru, a former Secretary-General, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), said, “Crude oil thieves are not patriots, they are killing the economy.
“It is not the boys (only), but those that have fat bank accounts and foreign accounts that are doing such illegal bunkering.
The boys are suspects; they are getting the least of it (the proceeds) because it is big people that are involved in such acts of sabotaging the nation.”
The traditional ruler urged the new leadership of HOSTCOM, led by the national president, Benjamin Tamaraneri, to work hard and consolidate on the progress so far made by the organization and ensure they take public hearings on oil and gas-related issues seriously.
Also speaking, the chairman of Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, Bubaraye Dakolo, said the three percent allocated to host communities in the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was too meager.
Dakolo, who is the monarch of Ekpetiama Kingdom, insisted that host communities were expecting nothing less than 10 or 20 percent, urging the new HOSTCOM leaders to carry all stakeholders along in the scheme of things and work with serious people.
He also pointed out that proceeds from the oil and gas resources of the Niger Delta people were being used to develop other parts of Nigeria and the world, stressing that oil companies should not treat communities with disdain.
In his remarks, the state governor, Douye Diri, charged multinationals in the oil and gas sector, to transform flared gas into other sources of energy rather than focusing on remediation and compensation to affected communities after polluting the ecosystem.
Diri, who was represented by the Commissioner for Mineral Resources, Mr. Ebieri Jones, stressed the need for oil firms to adhere to the templates of international best practices.
The national president of HOSTCOM, Benjamin Tamaraneri, said that the group would, among others, continually mount pressure on the Federal Government and the nine states of the Niger Delta to set up oil-producing areas development commission to manage some percentage of the 13 percent derivation to minimize agitations.
Other national executives of HOSTCOM inaugurated were the deputy president, Ibinabobo Watson; secretary, Dr. Joshua Okie; assistant secretary, Princess Enyekit Itan; legal adviser, Prof. Ogugua Ikpeze; director of strategic planning, Mr. George Isele; and the youth leader, Emma Eyakagbe.