As victims of recent fire explosions in Rivers State, caused by illegally refined crude oil popularly known as “kpofire” continue to count their losses, some residents have blamed youths involvement in illegal bunkering on hunger and unemployment in the state.
According to them, there was untold hardship in the oil rich Rivers State, which they blamed on what they described as the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards her citizenry.
But Chris Badubulachi, a youth leader in the Obio/Akpor local government area of the state believes that hunger and unemployment were not an excuse and should not be the reason for anyone to involve in illicit activities such as ‘Kpofire’ while Mr. Dike Elijah Jerry of Omudioga community in Emohua local government area posits otherwise.
According to Dike, “Illegal bunkering, refining exists today especially in Rivers State as a result of the absence of human capital development. When you fail to plan, it means you have already planned to fail.
“The above illustration is the case in the oil rich state called Rivers State. The fact that there is hunger in the land can’t be overemphasized. In a bid to avert the ugly situation, those interested resulted to illegal refining, the untold hardship rising from the lackadaisical attitude of the government towards her citizenry.”
He added that “to put an end to it, the government and well to do individuals must consider the following: creating employment opportunities, industrialization, there should be establishment of industries that will enhance employment. Skill acquisition programmes, skills in different capacities will curb the menace. Enlightenment campaign on the effect of illegal bunkering. Government should provide enabling environment for investors.”
Speaking with TNN in an interview, Chris berated the assertion, saying “anybody who is criminal minded is criminal minded there is nothing you can do about that, we are all in this same Rivers State, this same Nigeria, why didn’t we all carry guns, I am insisting that there is no excuse for crime, not hunger, not unemployment.
“I agree things are very difficult, it keeps getting from worse to worst but kpofire business is not helping us, people die in the process, businesses worth millions of naira destroyed, properties, people’s building razed to ashes, common, what then is the gain?
“See how frustrating it has been for those affected by this disastrous fire outbreak, where will they even start from? Those poor, struggling family men and women, young boys that their business place, their goods, properties were totally destroyed during the explosions, the one in Omuadni community in Elele Alimini, it is really pathetic, and I believe strongly that we can achieve anything but not by causing harm to people.”
To Rivers youth, the youth leader appealed for total abstinence from illegal bunkery, and all forms of criminality, while to the government he said, “our governor have done well in the area of infrastructural development, flyovers here and there, it is time to engage the youths gainfully, we need employment.”