Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has blamed oil companies operating in the state for the escalation of oil theft and insecurity in the state.
The governor, who spoke while receiving three Germans in his office in Port Harcourt, also indicted security agencies for illegal oil bunkering.
The Germans were Konrad Adenauer (German Foundation), Andreas Lammel and Dr. Joachim Pfeiffer of the German Federal Parliament, who said they were in Port Harcourt to explore business development opportunities in the oil sector.
Wike disclosed that oil theft cases have worsened because security agents posted to the state have become involved in them. He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to come out strongly to partner with the states to fight oil theft. He said politicisation of security has also contributed to the bad situation.
“When you see oil bunkering, the security agencies are involved. They are fully involved. If the Federal Government comes strongly and partners with the states, you will find out that we will be able to solve some of the problems,” he said.
Wike said the patronage given to violent cult groups in the state by oil majors has also worsened the security situation in the state.
Since the outbreak of militancy in the Niger Delta region over a decade ago, oil companies in the area had been engaging militant groups with strong affiliations to local cult groups for their security.
Apart from the huge royalties, the groups are paid, the groups also help themselves to stolen crude oil, which they market and get returns. A lot of cult clashes in the region had been caused by cult groups fighting over which of them gets patronised by the oil companies.
The governor said the Rivers State Security Council has taken a decision in liaison with the oil majors to stop the patronage of cult groups for such jobs.
“We have told oil majors to patronise official State security agencies and stop patronizing cult groups for surveillance jobs.
“This is because part of the problem is the oil majors continued patronage of cult groups”, he said.
Wike also called for partnership with the Konrad Adenauer (German Foundation) to attract German investors in the area of agriculture to create employment.
The Country Representative of Konrad Adenauer (German Foundation), Dr. Vladimir Kreck said the visit was aimed at advancing economic development.
He said, “We have been providing support for the democratic development of Nigeria since 2001. In Rivers State, we have been providing capacity building for lawmakers and security agencies”.
He said that the foundation invited two German Federal Lawmakers to Nigeria to acquaint themselves on the economic development programmes of the country.
One of the lawmakers, Lammel said the visit was to study the economic development process, oil production, and development in Rivers State.