The governor, who spoke during a courtesy visit on him by the Joint Task Force (JTF) on Protection of Oil & Gas Pipelines, led by the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ade Abolurin, at the Government House, expressed worry over the huge resources the country was losing to such activities.
He said, “we are very worried about the scale, not only of oil theft but the seeming ease with which pipelines are vandalised by all kinds of criminals leading to huge losses.
“What they steal is nothing to compare to the net loss arising from those activities. Many communities and many villages have been ruined, including my village.
“I am told that a lot of the vessels seized in the course of tracking these characters whether at sea or around the riverine areas or in the creek, try to preserve the exhibit for legal purposes. In the cause of these, one thing leads to another.
“Either they are able to manipulate the system and you have interventions from some quarters and you are asked to let the people go or that they succeed in turning round to again recover what is taken from them.
“My argument then and it’s still my argument today is that rather than put a man in prison for ten years, I will rather sink his ship that is worth millions of dollars because at the end of the day, the judicial process can be quite difficult in dealing with this kind of criminals especially when huge sums of money is involved.
“So the exhibit should be completely destroyed as soon as it is taken before they start manipulating their way and try to find a way to get round the system.
“We need to make a statement that we can’t hand over this country to criminals and as we have seen, from security issues in some part of the country, when criminals made so much money from activities like this, they become so rich that they can afford sophisticated weapons with which they now use to overwhelm the formal security system”.