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Illegal Bunkering: Oil Thieves Are Not Hidden- Tonye Cole

“You see someone whose lifestyle has changed, you see the houses have changed, you see the cars have changed, you see the money that is spent, so you know. 

By Johnson Atoukudu:

Tonye Cole, the candidate representing the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 governorship election in Rivers State, asserted that the individuals accountable for oil theft in the Niger Delta region are readily identifiable.

During an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Cole expressed his views on the matter. He emphasized the need to involve oil thieves in discussions aimed at putting an end to oil bunkering.

He said, “You have to bring them in. They must be part of the discussion. They are not hidden. Some of them may have grown through the creeks, some of them you see their lifestyles change,”

“You see someone whose lifestyle has changed, you see the houses have changed, you see the cars have changed, you see the money that is spent, so you know. 

“This is a society where when we were growing up if you start showing money and no one knows where it’s coming from, everyone will ostracise you from the society.

“Today it has changed; nobody cares where your money comes from again. So it is not hidden, people know almost immediately within the community that this is what is going on,” Cole said.

In light of former Niger Delta agitator Asari Dokubo’s recent allegation that the military is largely responsible for oil theft in the country, Tonye Cole made a noteworthy comment.

Cole acknowledged that Dokubo’s claim regarding oil theft involving the military is a significant matter that requires attention. While recognizing that the military may be displeased by these allegations, Cole stated that it would be unrealistic to deny the existence of some corrupt individuals within the military who facilitate illegal bunkering activities.

Furthermore, the APC leader emphasized that if Nigeria fails to address the problem of illegal bunkering, a state of emergency within the oil and gas sector might become the only viable solution.

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