By Gladys Nweke
A University don has called every relevant stakeholder in the petroleum sector to carry out public sensitisation and awareness campaign against the dangers of pipeline vandalism, illegal bunkering, and refining of petroleum products.
The environmental sociologist, Dr. Steve Wordu, who made the call urged security operatives and other relevant stakeholders to be proactive in the fight against the ills of the society.
Dr Wordu who is a lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, 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.
He pointed out that if nothing is done about the brazen attacks on the environment through human abuse of its resources, it will amount to the total displacement of the very source of human existence.
According to him, it is unfortunate that despite all the efforts put in place to stop illegal bunkering, the illicit 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 livelihood have been displaced.
Poverty is now on the increase in the Niger Delta as a result of the loss of aquatic lives and agricultural activities which are the economic nerves of the people.
Describing the environment as man’s first right, the university don also said the environment deserves protection and called for stiffer sanctions against environmental abuse.