Expert Wants Stiffer Penalties For Illegal Oil Bunkering

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An environmental sociologist, Dr Steve Wordu, has called for stiffer penalties against illegal bunkering activities in the Niger Delta.
Dr Wordu disclosed this while speaking with The Tide in an interview in Port Harcourt at the weekend. The university don and lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, said illegal bunkering activities which lead to collateral damage on the natural environment have persisted because proper sanction had not been taken against the perpetrators of the act and their sponsors. He pointed out that if nothing is done about the brazen attacks on the environment through gross abuses of its resource base, it would amount to total displacement of the very source of human existence.
Describing the environment as “man first right”, Dr Wordu said the environment deserves protection and called for stiffer sanctions against environmental abuse.
He decried the activities of illegal refining of petroleum products which he said were perpetrated to serve the vested interest of few persons at the expense of the larger society.
“It is unfortunate that despite all the efforts put in to stop illegal bunkering, the illegal trade still flourishes in the Niger Delta region. The consequences are not far-fetched as thousands of people who depend solely on the natural environment for their livelihood have been displaced; poverty is now on the increase in the Niger Delta as a result of the cost of aquatic life and agricultural activities which are the economic nerves of the people”.
Dr Wordu called for public sensitisation and awareness against the dangers of illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism, and urged security operatives and other relevant stakeholders to be proactive in the fight against the ills.
He also called for a review of Nigeria environmental laws to be global compliant to avert further damages of the environment.