No More Oil Bunkering in Rivers State - Egberipapa, Alhaji Asari, IYC and Other Ex-Warlords..

Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich, Alhaji Asari and chiefs of Rivers Ijaw Illegal Oil bunkering, a long problem that has emanated from Niger-Delta...

Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich, Alhaji Asari and chiefs of Rivers Ijaw

Illegal Oil bunkering, a long problem that has emanated from Niger-Delta, is increasing at a very fast speed. The illegal activity find its way into the region as a result of inadequate support for the host communities in terms of finance, social amenities, environmental protection, oil facilities maintenance or inclusion of the host communities in oil operations. Approximately, 250, 000 barrels a day are siphoned off pipelines crisscrossing the region.

Communities within the Riverine area of the state are known for fishing. It is the main occupation of the Ijaw man. However, today, the pride and the source of income that was once, reverenced by the people and tourists is nothing to pride about since the whole river has been overtaken by oil spills as a result of illegal refinery activities and oil bunkering. The mangrove forest that was once the habitat of the Oyster (Ngbe), Periwinkle (Isam), Mudskipper (Isila), and other edible fishes and sea foods are fast becoming an unsuitable place for its habitant. As a result, fisher men and women had been deprived of funding the needs of their families.

In an effort to curb pipeline vandalism, on Saturday 18th March, 2018, a representative of Aiteo met with ex-militants, youth leaders at the country home of Hon. Amb. Sobomabo Jackrich, a.k.a, Egberipapa to agree on how pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and illegal oil refining, popularly known as Kpom-Fire will be stopped in the area. Isokun in Degema Local Government Area of the state was flooded with able boys, girls, men and women numbering over 1600. From the compound of Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich to the Mainroad, splits of cars and gathering of people was recorded by our reporters. Cars travelling to and fro Degema, Abonnema, Buguma and Port Harcourt witnessed, serious hold up as a result of the overwhelming numbers of attendees. Our camera lens caught crowd of participants, sitting outside the venue of the meeting because of the congestion of people inside the venue while the meeting was in progress.  The meeting was attended by known and unknown faces in the Niger Delta struggle, among the participants are; Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Prince Sobrasua Odum (IYC Kalabari clan), Gen. Francis Tariah (Ocean bird), Awoala George, Gen. Daddybinto, Gen. Orinaemi Heart (Okoloba Ikpangi), Gen. Sobomabo Alalibo, Gen. Afro Victor (Gen. Iyallo), Sunjiye (Gen Rex), Prince Wisdom Amachree (Gen. Adekunle), Gen. Vuva (The Creek Lion), Gen. Jingiri, Tamunokuro Prince (Gen Boy Kaka), Gen. Usmila, Adaiyi Lawson (Gen Okobro), Gen. Abaji, Gen. Maka Robinson, Gen. Yankee, Gen. Westye Wokoma, Gen. Igonikon, Daddyboy (Gen Blaze), Gen Norman (Eweleye), Gen. Isoboye Ekineye, Gen. Daddy (Boy Bailer), Gen Lolo, Gen. Prince of the Water, Cooler Heart, Alafaa Briggs (Gen. Dontel), Gen. Ipalibo Jackson, Dakorubo Ibama (Gen. Inspector), Gen. Tonye Tobon, Gen. Dede, Gen. Iminabo and host of others.

Some of the youth leaders across the region were fully represented at the meeting. Hon. Kenneth Opusingi, leader from Kula in Akuku Toru Local Government Area was reportedly represented by Victor Sam, a.k.a Flenjo. Gen. Bio while the coordinator of Bile was also represented by Samuel Bowe.

The meeting was convened by Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich, a.k.a, Egberipapa, former leader in the Niger Delta struggle, a major stakeholder in the Aiteo NTCL, Rivers State, a well known philanthropist, leader and pioneer to several socio-political organizations across the Niger Delta. His purpose of holding the crucial meeting was as a result of the peaceful dialog between him, some other leaders and Aiteo in Ghana to address issue on surveillance contract and environmental pollution in the creek, river and land within the communities that host Aiteo. The affected areas include; Kula, Boroo, Bille, Krakrama, Ke, Cawthorne Channel, New Kalabar River, Buguma, Bakana, Abonnema, Adamakiri, Bonny, etc...
 
Tamunokuro Iyalla, Aieto Representative
The representative of Aiteo, Tamunokuro Iyalla, said: “The reason why I am here is to pass the good news to you all about the promise made by management of the company to compensate you, if you will quit carrying out illegal refinery and illegal bunkering activities within the region. Aiteo have observed that, giving one man surveillance contract will not solve the issue of pipeline vandalism.”

“Every Community that is affected by our pipeline shall have a representative in the surveillance service. Aiteo management will visit each of the communities affected by our operation. Aiteo will visit the Amayanabo of Kalabari, and all others community leaders. They will discuss with CDC, the youth wing and provide support where necessary in terms of social amenities and capacity building”.

“Aiteo will not fail to settle all Bunkering persons or owners of kpom-fire, if they withdraw from the menace. Aiteo will settle everyone involved accordingly. The company will pay youths that were once involved in such activities with monthly allowance to ensure that they are able to take care of their lives and families after they have stopped illegal oil bunkering and illegal refineries. Aiteo will settle those who have been involved in arm struggle that are currently incapacitated because of disabilities with monthly allowances to ensure that they are able to take care of their immediate needs. Let it be that we join hand to fight this economic and environmental sabotage in our communities. “Every moment from now, Aiteo will visit every community in the area.”... Tamunokuro indicated.

The representative of Aiteo also made it clear that the coordinator of Cawthorne Channel is at this moment is no other but Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich.

According to him; “Any person or group of persons that is coordinating activity in Cawthorne Channel is under the subject of Egberipapa. Aiteo has conferred the authority on Hon. Sobomabo to lead the surveillance activities there and that is the reason behind his convening of this meeting historic meeting. I am sent here to validate the knowledge of Aiteo on the authority conferred to Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich on this effect”.

“Coordinative authority has been conferred unto other leaders in different places like Bonny, Krakrama, Kula and lots more, other Communities that are yet to provide representative will do so by producing capable hands, that will lead Aiteo to meet with the Chiefs, Elders and Youths of their Community. Nobody will be left out.”... Tamunokuro Added.
 
Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich, a.k.a Egberipapa
Speaking to the mammoth crowd, Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich assured the people that, the move to stop illegal bunkering within the region is for the interest of everybody and more especially for the betterment of our people in future. He said; “Majority of us will benefit from this move, if we have understanding. This meeting is very crucial and important as it carries excellent and reasonable information that will benefit us and help restore the true nature of our environment to resuscitate the aquatic and wild life within our area.”

Egberipapa further said that the surveillance contract is not for one man or for only one man to benefit but it purpose is to ensure plural benefit to everybody within the area. He also pointed out the reason why oil smuggling and Kpom-Fire activities should be neutralised. He said; “We all know that our parents use to feed from the rivers through fishing, fetching of sea foods, like Periwinkle (Isam), Oyster (Ngbe), Ngolo, Odoko and several other aquatic edible foods. Now, compare today to 10 years ago, you will find out that there are more than 300% differences. Even if you are an expert in fishing or gathering of sea food, you will attempt more than two weeks, before you may be able to catch a single fish or a handful of sea food. In fact, some of the sea food and fish we use to enjoy in our childhood are going extinct”.

 “The crude is destroying more than what we are harvesting out of the land and sea. In those days, fishermen are wealthy men who built houses and are proudly married. But now, a fisherman that is able to build house is likely employing diabolical means because it is impossible to raise cash in our region as a result of these terrible oil spills. So therefore we must work to bring back the natural state of our environment.”

“This order of quitting oil smuggling and unlicensed oil refining is for everybody and anyone who fails will face the consequences.”... Hon. Jackrich added.

 Hon. Sobomabo envisaged that if illegal oil bunkering and illegal oil refinery activities within the Niger Delta region is not stopped now, the oil facilities installed will not be useful even, when resource control is fully actualised by the people.

Hear him; “Though, most of us were once involved in illegal refinery and illegal bunkering activities because of our anger for the way and manner at which the region was marginalised, in terms of how resources accrued within the region are been distributed by the country. However, we have realised that such retaliation will only amount to endangering our communities and the lives of our people. This is the time to correct our mistakes and protect our territory for the interest of people of this generation and generations unborn.”

“How does it sound? A Niger Delta son tried all he can to acquire the facilities and we, Niger Delta Children are destroying it. For me, I am ready to set myself as example towards providing remedy for our mistakes.”  

“Of course, you all know that, I am not passionate with illegal bunkering and illegal refineries even before now and that had been the reason why I quitted the operation of one of the largest illegal oil facility I built long ago, at the time, only few number of persons were involved in illegal Bunkering and illegal oil refinery across the Niger Delta. In fact, my facility was the largest in Rivers State. So therefore, you should know that it has never been because I lack the financial or physical capacity to setup as many as possible but for the sake of ensuring that our land is safe, I towed the land. Therefore, I will authoritatively work with any authority to ensure that illegal Bunkering and illegal refinery activities within our region are erased.”... Hon. Jackrich voiced.

Hon. Sobomabo also indicated that he with the CEO of Aiteo alongside other leaders to avert moves that would have been detrimental to the people and communities within the region. Their advocacy was this move to ensure that illegal oil activities is stopped in the area and the operators of such facilities and the people within the area be compensated to remedy their lost..

In his word; “We brought the idea to Aiteo that the collective move to stop illegal Bunkering will work if all involved are compensated accordingly. On that note, the chairman of Aiteo said, we should meet with the people involved and come up with modalities that will tackle the issue at hand.”

“You should be aware that Aiteo may not have 5,000,000 or 10, 000,000 naira to give each person as it may have been made erroneously in statements or examples here but he will reasonably settle people in a way that they can setup other legitimate means to survive.”... Hon. Sobomabo noted.

Egberipapa further stated that the reason behind possession of illegal fire arms and the operation by sea pirates within the region is because of illegal oil activities. According to him; “This illegal bunkering and illegal oil refining are the reason why guns and sea piracy have rampaged our communities and water ways. I knew, none of us can refute that claim. For example, Mr. A is transporting illegal product to a specific destination and Mr. A is approached by Mr. B who is a very small boy but a sea pirate with gun, Mr. A next move will be, to acquire fire-arms so that he can no longer be intimidated by Mr. B or any other criminal again. But remember, By virtue of possession of gun, Mr. A himself is a criminal because the military will not spear him, if he is caught with the fire-arm.

Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich advised everyone to quilt illegal oil refining and bunkering within the area, stating that few days after the meeting, forces will be employed to assure a total sanity in the river, mangrove, and the delta, for the benefit of every individual within the region. He drummed in this tone; “You and I, and more especially everyone involved in illegal oil bunkering and illegal refining must stop immediately because, if you are caught, delay judgement will not be the option but a swift and adequate judgement that will make defaulters regret bitterly will be the only available remedy”.

“Don’t be used as a bad example because, anyone caught will be used as deterrent for other to follow, so we must all adhere to this instruction.”

“It is a common sense and simple truth that if illegal Oil bunkering and illegal oil refining is stopped, sea piracy will stop, if we stop illegal oil activities, our rivers will regain the aquatic lives, and if we stop illegal oil bunkering and illegal oil refining, our air will be purified.” Hon. Amb. Sobomabo advised.

Amb. Jackrich further instructed the marmot crowd to embrace this privilege irrespective of their earning in illegal oil bunkering and illegal oil refining, noting that, alternative means to stop the activities are put in place but they are not friendly at all to our people and those are part of the reasons why we all must invested our energy, time and effort to ensure this modality is considered immediately.

Hon. Jackrich noted that the move to stop illegal oil activities will enable our boys to shun violence, kidnapping, robbery and other related social vices.

Also, Hon. Sobomabo reminded the crowd of the bill that was recently signed into law by Gov. Nyesome Wike which content promised, death sentenced on kidnappers and cultist in Rivers State. Egberipapa advised the youths of the region, to shun all activities or behaviour that will invite the law enforcement agencies to go after them for failing to obey the laws of the land.

Egberipapa further encourage the people to unite and work together to ensure that the environment of the state is sanitised for proper living and fishing.
 
Gen. Vuva, a.k.a Creek Lion
Supporting the need for a the call for a total quit to illegal oil activities, Gen. Vuva, a.k.a, Creek Lion also support the request for quitting illegal oil refinery activities by saying; “It will be very bad for us to destroy our own with our hands.”

“The CEO of Aiteo made it clear to us that, he has not offered the contract for surveillance to anybody prior to the day of our meeting with him. He assured us that, we all are his brothers and sister so therefore, he will carry every person along. I believed, Aiteo been an Ijaw man will not use forceful means that will be detrimental to his people but he will undertake means that will be beneficiary to all sundry.”

“Aiteo approach to tackling issue in the region is definitely different. Aiteo methodology is the type that will remedy the environmental degradation of our communities unlike SPDC and some other companies that are owned by strangers whose method are ‘The strongest man is he who gains my attention’. Therefore, all illegal oil activities within the region should stop within the area”
 
Gen. Orinaemi Heart (Okoloba Ikpangi)
Also supporting the move to end illegal oil activities, Gen. Orinaemi Heart (Okoloba Ikpangi) stated that the move is a welcomed development and remains a source of joy to the people of the region. He further assured, that the step taken by Aiteo is a footprint for all other companies to follow. According to him; “Other companies that are operating in the region but are not considering the people of the are will soon do so.”.. Orinaemi

Orinaemi further advised all illegal refinery operators to agree with this demand. He said, everybody should work hard to ensure 100% success in this call to action towards sanitizing the region.
 
Gen. Obase also advised the people to happily embrace the move. He said, irrespective of how large or small the compensation from Aiteo will be, everyone should try all effort to circulate it in a way that everyone will be beneficiaries, including fishermen. He encouraged all to work towards reviving the aquatic life of the river.
 
Prince Sobrasua Odum (IYC, Kalabari clan)


On his part, the IYC, Kalabari clan president, Prince Sobrasua Odum also encouraged all youths within the region to embrace the development.
 
Prince Wisdom Amachree, a.k.a Gen. Adekunle
Commending the move, Prince Wisdom Amachree, a.k.a Gen. Adekunle condemned Bunkering activities and termed it as unfruitful business. He noted that his community or he has never benefited from the illegal oil activities, instead, Women and Men in the land are starving of hunger due to the environmental pollution within the area that has caused scarcity of fish and sea food within the area.

Prince Wisdom also noted that illegal oil activities have eliminated many lives within the region. He lamented on how his brother, Sonny Okorosa was recently murdered by gun-men as a result of illegal oil business. He endorsed the move to stop oil illegal oil activities within the region.
 
Awoala George
Awoala George in his speech also encouraged the people of the region to embrace the move. Noting that disobedient or refusal to this decision will only amount to a regrettable consequence.
 
Gen. Sobomabo Alalibo
Reacting to the move, Gen. Sobomabo Alalibo also encouraged the people to embrace every good step that will attract peace, unity and development within the region. He further, advised stakeholders and companies to provide equal opportunities and equal recognitions to host communities of every oil-well or facilities.

The general from Ke community pointed out that if communities within the region are considered equally and adequately, the youths would have found no option to involve in social vices for survival. He said, this move will be beneficial to the people of the region.

Flenjo, representative of Hon. Kenneth Opusingi on his part attest to the fact that the move is courageous and therefore, he encouraged others to embrace it.

Several other ex-warlords, elders and women also appreciated, supported and endorse the move lead by Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich and others to end environmental degradation within the area.

Alhaji Asari Dokubo, a popular name in the Niger Delta struggle, former president of IYC, political figure in Ijaw ethnic group also participated in the meeting. Though his arrival was very late as a result of circumstance beyond his control, the freedom fighter also supported the move to end the illegal refineries.

According to him, “Bunkering activities has made our rivers unproductive, no more fish or sea foods. The region is fast becoming inhabitable by human as a result of the unprofessional way by which the so called Kpom-fire is carried out within the region”.
 “We should all prepare to support the move to ending oil bunkering. I am not making this statement because of this pipeline contract. Ever since, I have against oil bunkering, I have never engaged myself into bunkering. If anyone asked me for advice, I would have counselled such person to stay off, bunkering. We have not been doing it well, if not the oil will not have excessively affected our environment. This white cloth I am putting on, if you take it to places like, Buguma for like 30 minutes, in a twinkle of an eye, you will notice that the cloth has turned black”.
“I advise we all to resist from fighting each other, we should all ensure that we work together in a way that it will benefit each other. Nobody is stronger than anybody, we are all strong men and we should work peacefully to see that each one of us is a stakeholder provided the person is ready to work with the others”
 “Let us stop Oil Bunkering, especially Kpom-Fire, because if we don’t stop this danger, it will end up killing us. We must stop Kpom-fire. For example, put a white tissue into your nostril, you will observe a very dangerous black substance. It doesn’t matter who coordinate the contract but what matters is that the coordinator should be fair to everybody. We must avoid the battle of supremacy in our land. If we delay this process, we will be in total regret because; every moment wasted will only divert our benefit to others.”
“I sincerely thanked all, who engaged their finance to ensure that they travel all the way to Ghana to negotiate with Aiteo on this matter in a way and manner that it is about benefiting us all. I sincere thanked all of you who have deemed it necessary to embrace this occasion.”... Alhaji Asari noted.
In his closing remark, Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich reiterated the need for a total withdrawal from any kind of illegal refinery or illegal oil transportation activities, irrespective of the modus operandi employed by the perpetrators. He said, it is best option to accept this offer and avoid crackdown that will amount to a total regret.

Hon. Sobomabo Jackrich employed the ‘Yes’ or ‘Nah’ approach of vetting a majority vote. He allowed those in favour of the move to respond by saying Yes while those against should indicate by saying “Nah” but the marmot crowed responded ‘Yes’ without a single vote of ‘Nah’ from the people. The ‘Yes’ had it and the offer accepted.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are not those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Don.ng.
Assumptions made within the article are not reflective of the position of www.don.ng

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