Several people were said to have sustained injuries and properties destroyed over the weekend as the Federal Task Force against pipeline vandalism from Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) clashed with armed youths of Okarki community, when the team went on inspection of some illegal oil bunkering sites in the area.
Okaki is a boundary community between Rivers and Bayelsa states, and most of the pipelines from oil multinationals pass through the community.
According to the branch chairman of IPMAN in Bayelsa State, Victor Agbutufie, the task force team were in the community to identify and inspect the sites, when some youths who allegedly engaged in illegal oil bunkering business attacked them and destroyed their property including cars and injured several people in the team.
He said the hoodlums also threatened to cause more havoc to IPMAN officials in the state if their activities are frustrated by any security agent.
He said: “We were in the community for inspection and identify of major bunkering sites when the thugs attacked us, during which some members of the Federal Task Force sustained various degrees of injury, and were forced to leave the community.
“Even though Okarki is in Rivers State, the Federal Task Force on Pipeline Vandalism, Bayelsa State Command, is not restricted to the state alone, but has the responsibility of protecting oil and gas related activities in the area because of its closeness to Yenagoa and the common understanding between the leadership of IPMAN in Rivers and Bayelsa States.
“We got wind of information that they are serious illegal activities of pipeline vandals in that area, so we went to inspect; we saw storage facilities, and other products and we took pictures that would have hot them angry before they attacked us. 35percent oil shortage from the state is from that community because there’s major operation going on there.”
The police is yet to comment.