By Osa Okhomina, Yenagoa
Tempers flared between angry residents of Biseni community in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State and some armed soldiers yesterday over the decision of some youths and women to block the passage of five loaded oil tankers suspected to be conveying stolen crude oil from SPDC and Agip pipelines in the area.
According to a leader of the community, Chief Justus Bekesu, the suspicious movement of heavy duty oil tankers into the community started last week and as concerned citizens they decided to block the trucks and challenged them on the content.
He said; “On April 25, we saw tankers coming out of Biseni forest where both SPDC and Agip drill crude oil. Suspecting foul play, our youths stopped them and asked what was in the tankers.
“They claimed it was water mixed with chemicals and that due to its toxic nature and in order not to cause damage to the environment, they were taking it to a safe place for proper disposal. But our youths insisted on confirming it.
“To our greatest surprise, when they checked, the first tanker was conveying water while the rest were filled with crude oil. And when the soldiers were confronted with the facts, they claimed they didn’t know that the other tankers were carrying fuel. After much argument, they left, only for us to wake up this morning to see over 30 armed soldiers in our community.
“That was when our youths and women came out and blocked the road preventing the tankers from leaving. It was so terrible that schools were even shutdown to safeguard our children from any eventuality. At the end they failed and have left but we still fear attack from the military and whoever sent them.”
The head of the Niger Delta Resource Centre of the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Morris Alagoa, who also confirmed the incident, said, “Information reaching me from Biseni just now indicates that some men in military uniform with guns arrived to release trucks loaded with crude oil which were detained by community folks. And, there is tension, serious tension.”