A community group in Rivers state, Bille Youth Vanguard, has written a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, concerning illegal bunkering activities allegedly carried out by soldiers.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the group claimed that instead of providing succour from the activities of “oil thieves”, the soldiers have joined in the illegal activities.
“Our community is normal in the daytime but at night it will turn into a marketplace for crude oil, whereby oil is lifted openly like they are buying and selling in Aba market,” the statement read.
“Please, Mr President, send people to Billie without notice at night, you will see trading activity is like that of Ojuelegba that the great Fela sang about.
“You will be shocked that armed men who are supposed to protect the pipeline have changed their job to protector of thieves. They are guiding the vessels of people destroying pipelines and loading crude oil.
“Sometimes, in broad daylight, big vessels come in and out of Bille freely surrounded by escorts. We have heard that security officials are making millions from protecting these criminals and participating in illegal bunkering.”
The group said the head of ‘Operation Delta Safe’, a mandate by the Nigerian army to rid the Niger Delta of all criminal acts of militancy and kidnapping, should be questioned.
“Mr President, we beg for your strong and urgent intervention. We call on the chief of defence staff, chief of army staff, other security agencies and the general public to help us reduce this evil.
“Bille youths have decided to support peace but the head of Operation Delta Safe is putting our youths under pressure to join their stealing.”
The group said the security officers can no longer protect the community, which they say is being destroyed by oil spillage, and urged the federal government to send them a fresh army.