The Chairman of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Chief Tiwei Orunimighe, yesterday, lamented the death of nine persons from illegal bunkering activities on the waterways and creeks in the State.
Orunimighe, who is also the Chairman of the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area said that though past security operations of the Council Chairmen with the men of the Joint Military Task Force have failed to stem the criminal tide, the rising spread of the illegal operation of the bunkerers have caused poor water condition and provoked outbreak of diseases and deaths in some communities.
In a data provided to newsmen during an interactive session with journalists in Yenagoa, the ALGON chief said that the authorities of the Local Government Councils have become burdened by the financial implication of the fight against illegal bunkering.
He urged the Federal Government to assist the on-going State Government initiative to stem the worrisome rise in illegal bunkering in the State.
According to the data, deaths were recorded in about four communities including Opuama(5),Emede (2),Ereware(1) and Egbematoro(1).
They were suspected to have died from complications and diseases associated with the consumption of the polluted water along the creeks and waterways of the Council Area.
Chief Orunimighe noted that the State Governor, Barrister Seriake Dickson, has seen reasons with the presentation of the council and have set up a committee to assist in the fight against illegal bunkering,
”My council area cannot do it alone. The problem is hydra headed. The business of illegal bunkering in the area is so large; you will see crude oil on the rivers, Local Government does not have the resources. If we tackle it, we may not pay salary.
“In the last six months, we have spent so much in providing logistics to the JTF with no result. A new partnership should be initiated with oil companies, NDDC, and others to stem the tide. We have done our part by providing bore holes to 10 out of the 17 communities in the Southern Ijaw Area.”