Just so there is no confusion, let me state unequivocally from the outset that I am totally against vandalism in all its ramifications. I am even more against oil and gas pipeline and power facilities vandalization. Yet, I am of the measured opinion that the declaration of the Joint Taskforce (JTF), Operation PULO SHIELD (OPS) that it would henceforth hold community Leaders in the oil-rich region responsible for acts of vandalism is not only ill-advised, but tactless and extremely insulting and denigrating towards the law abiding people.
It would be recalled that sayelba.com reported on Sunday that the JTF warned through its Commander, Maj.-Gen. Alani Okunlola, that community leaders in the Niger Delta would henceforth be held responsible for any attack on the country’s oil and gas facilities in their domains.
Read More at www.sayelba.com/jtf-community-leaders-will-be-held-liable-for-attacks-on-oil-gas-facilities/ © Sayelba Times
While we support the JTF’s drive to stop Pipeline vandalism which has negative externalities on the environment of the Region, any move to create an artificial collective responsibility around this would only lead to needless crisis in the Niger Delta at a time when the Nigerian state cannot afford further crisis to compound its war on terror in the North-East and the Biafran agitations in the South-East.
Rather than attempt to intimidate Community leaders in the region, Maj.-Gen. Okunlola and his men should be forging productive partnerships with these people who are the ones suffering the true brunt of vandalism. The JTF must realise that the Niger Delta people are not an hostile opponent. Therefore, they should not make one out of them in their fight against criminality in the region.
OPS should emulate the JTF in the North-East fighting Boko Haram without holding the community leaders over there responsible for the atrocities of the terrorists hiding under Islam to organise an orgy of blood.