Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor and some top military officers
The Economic Sustenance Group (ESG) has urged leaders in the Niger Delta to support the armed forces in tackling crude oil theft and economic sabotage in the region.
The group made the call in a statement by its President and Secretary, Messrs Okoro Anselem and Baba Usman, on Monday in Abuja.
It noted that the country had continued to suffer enormous economic losses as a result of crude oil theft in the region.
The group said environmental challenges including soot (a deep black powdery or flaky substance consisting largely of amorphous carbon, produced by the incomplete burning of organic matter) in Rivers were the consequences of the activities of crude oil thieves.
It said the people of the region were facing environmental challenges as a result of the nefarious activities of a few persons.
ESG, however, commended the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, for his recent operational visit to troops of the Operation Delta Safe.
It said the visit would further strengthen the troops and send a message that the armed forces were determined to protect the oil and gas installations within the zone.
It also commended the CDS for his warning that any personnel engaging in illegal oil bunkering would be punished.
“Leaders of the Niger-Delta region should as a matter of urgency intensify support and cooperation with the Armed Forces of Nigeria to deal with the nefarious activity that has caused the people serious health challenges.
“We cannot continue to neglect the soot problem in Port Harcourt and environs.
“The recent visit to the region by the Chief of Defence Staff is a pointer that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is determined to decisively deal with the situation,” it said.
Read also: Badaru hails army for anti banditry operation in N/West
According to the group, the country is losing revenue that would have been channeled into economic development.
“Now is the time for us to come together, restore and preserve the environment for the health of our brothers and sisters in oil producing communities,” the group said. (NAN)
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