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Armed youths of Okarki, a boundary community between Rivers and Bayelsa State, have reportedly attacked operatives of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Federal Task Force on Pipeline Vandalism, Bayelsa State Command, during an inspection on Illegal bunkering sites in the area.
The attack, which occurred over the weekend, recorded various degrees of injuries on the officials and their properties destroyed.
The hoodlums allegedly sponsored and supported by the chiefs and major stakeholders of the community also threatened to cause more havoc if their activities were frustrated by any security agency.
Africa Today News, New York gathered that Okarki community is known for illegal bunkering and other criminal activities.
According to IPMAN state branch chairman, Comrade Victor Agbutufie, ‘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.’
Agbutufie, who spoke to newsmen frowned at the development, and explained that his men could not confront the assailants because of the mandate given to them not to engage in violence.
He further explained that, even though Okarki is in Rivers State, the Federal Task Force on Pipeline Vandalism, Bayelsa State Command, are not restricted within 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.
He also solicited for cooperation with the security agencies in the state to put a stop to all bunkering activities in Okarki community.
‘We got wind of information that they were serious illegal activities of pipeline vandals in that area which were supported by the chiefs, and other major stakeholders from the 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. 35 per cent oil shortage from the state if from that community because there’s major operation going on there.’